Why didn’t I think of this before?

Filed in Blog by on November 5, 2010 12 Comments
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This week I learned something new from a can of tuna!

This week I learned something new from a can of tuna!

I can’t believe I haven’t thought about this before.

The other day Little Miss Green picked up a prepared salad in the Co-Op. It came in an unsightly unmarked plastic pot with a film lid and when I looked at the ingredients it was basically tuna, sweetcorn, red pepper and pasta in some kind of dressing.

It cost over £2.50 for one teeny tiny serving.

I’m afraid I turned it down on the spot on the grounds of extortionate price and rubbish packaging.

but I did promise I would make my own version at home.

I used macaroni, so the pasta took less than 10 minutes to cook. In that time I drained the tuna, chopped up the pepper, added the sweetcorn and tossed it all in mayonnaise. Once the pasta was cooked I drained it and added some of the prepared tuna. Little Miss Green thought it was delicious, asked for two servings and asked me why I didn’t make pasta more often.

Now here’s the deal.

My can of tuna and all its friends made a huge amount of tuna mayo. So then I figured I had at least two more meals worth which could be used as a sandwich filling, served with jacket potato, served as part of a salad, mixed into cold rice or cous cous or even topped with mashed potato and baked in the oven for a variation on fish pie.

It seems I could create all these meals for the price of one ready prepared ‘convenience meal’ AND even better, I don’t have any packaging to dispose of!

You’re never too old to learn something new, right!?

What about you; have you had a lightbulb moment this week about anything? It doesn’t have to do with waste or cooking, I’m just interested to know what you’ve learned this week!


About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (12)

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  1. Yum – I love pasta salads, but seems I’m really the only one in our house…

    This week, I learned how to recycle my baking disasters!

    I learnt I’m no good with gluten free flour. Cheese scones and banana muffins turned out quite wrong. The solution? Breadcrumb everything 😉 So now I’ve got a cheesy savoury crumb and a sweet banana crumb to add to our baked dishes!

  2. Antonio Pachowko says:

    i have nothing to add but found this article which may be of interest to readers

    “Food sector ‘on track’ to meet zero waste goal”

    Figures have shown that the Food and Drink manufacturing Industry recycle or recover over 90% of its waste last year. The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) says that the industry is on course to achieve a zero food and packaging waste by 201. This meant that only 43000 tonnes (or 9%) where landfilled, which represent an improvement of 16.5% of waste sent to landfill in 2006 and 12.5% in 2008.

    The FDF has shown that in 2009 more than 340000 tonnes of food waste was prevented from entering the waste stream, mainly (98%) by converting it to animal feed. The report published by the FDF shows that the many waste sent to landfill was mixed food and packaging, although only 1.7% of the total waste was food sent to landfill.

    More can be found here


    On a different note Defra published its annual report on municipal waste produced in England. It is found that the houshold waste recycling rate is 39.7%, narrowly missing the waste Strategy target of 40% by the end of 2010. This is up from 37.6% recycling figure produced in 2008-2009. The overall municipal recycling rate i.e (household, civic amenities, some commercial) is 38.7% up from 36.7% last year.

    Staffordshire Moorlands retain its title of best recyclers in England by achieving a 61.84% household waste recycling and composting rate for 2009/10. On the other end of the scale the worst performing council is Ashford Borough Council, who only recycled 15.29% in 2009/2010.

    Other findings includes a drop of 1.3 million tonnes in the mass of municipal waste that was landfilled, from 13.8 million tonnes in 2008/2009 to 12.5 million tonnes in 2009/2010. This corresponds to a drop of 50.3% of waste landfilled in 2008/2009 to 46.9% in 2009/2010.

    Energy from waste continues its upward march from 3.3 million tonnes (12% of waste) being burnt in 2008/2009 to over 3.6 million tonnes (14% of waste) in 2009/2010. The total amount of municipal waste produced was under 27 million tonnes.

  3. although mr Antonio makes my math muscles hurt a bit, i must agree that the numbers are indeed encouraging…aiming for zero.
    as for tuna lessons, miss green could use the liquid which was drained from fish and pasta to help make strong bones and teeth–not to mention nerves as well…how about soup stock for the next broth base? add an onion a carrot , a pinch of rosemary, boil awhile and serve with some crusty croutons and a sprinkle of gruyere..
    bon appetit zeroing on wastelessness.

  4. Catherine says:

    Have followed you now for months feeling totally inadequate but trying hard.This morning I was looking for an empty plastic spray bottle I know is around and at the same time empyting the kitchen bin only to see an old spray disinfectant bottle going to waste so there was my solution and a bit of recycling.

  5. Ben says:

    This week I noticed that my landfill rubbish is still slowly shrinking each week, but also that my recycle bin contains increasingly less too. I hadn’t been purposefully trying to reduce that too, if anything I assumed I’d put more in it as I bought more recyclable packaging to replaced non-recyclable packaging, but after initially increasing it’s now much less than before.

  6. Mrs Green says:

    @Julie Gibbons: I loved the post you wrote about breadcrumbing your mistakes, Julie – very inspirational!
    @Antonio Pachowko: Thanks for the latest, Antonio – I was looking out for the latest Defra report, but not found it yet. I’ll go and seek out the full report and read the lets recycle article too 🙂
    @nadine sellers: Thanks Nadine; do you know what? I tip the water down the sink when draining fish – it never occurred to me to make stock from it. And as LMG is such a fish lover I’m throwing away something valuable. Thanks for the insight; I will flex my culinary muscles and see what I can come up with. Fish flavoured soups do not appeal to me at all, but I think LMG might love them. Brilliant – thanks! 😀
    @Catherine: Hi Catherine; I love it when these solutions present themselves to us! What great reuse and I’m so sad to read you have been feeling ‘totally inadequate’ – is there anything we can do to help you change that feeling to something more positive?
    @Ben: Excellent – well done you! We found a similar thing; our recycling did increase initially, but some of it (notably tins and glass) is reducing due to a change in purchasing habits and the fact we are generally wasting less stuff. Inspiring to see, isn’t it?

  7. John Ashwell says:

    A three minute film, with 8 excellent ways to use a plastic bottle!

  8. Condo Blues says:

    One of my favorite local restaurants makes french fries that are to die for. I had a bunch of potatoes I had to use. I looked up how to cut the potatoes into wedges toss them in peanut oil & season salt like my favorite restaurant and baked them in the oven. Instant french fries just like my favorite restaurant! Duh, why didn’t I think of this sooner?

  9. Mrs Green says:

    @John Ashwell: thanks John – will go and take a peek after catching up with comments and posts 🙂
    @Condo Blues: what a great success! Love that idea 🙂

  10. ever heard of “bouillabaise” the provence soup made with mostly fish heads? well, mine is simpler–hide fishy taste of tuna broth under tomato sauce and garlic, fresh or powdered, add pasta or rice, serve with croutons and grated cheese, a sprig of fresh parsley, this is a fast and easy supper..
    also i use the liquid from canned tuna or salmon over my salads, add home-made croutons and a grated boiled egg — a dash of olive oil or rice vinegar, stir well, it is akin to shrimp salad in essence.

  11. Jane says:

    Roast chicken carcase>chicken stock in the slow cooker>soup was one of mine. I kept on allowing it to boil dry in the big saucepan. This way I can quickly strip the remains of the meat off the carcase after the meal and put the carcase and boiling water in the slow cooker and set it going. I can then relax and even fall asleep with no worries about burning the precious stock! Soup is very easy to make and so much nicer with fresh stock. If I am going to eat meat I want to feel happy that it had as happy a life it could have first and that I have not wasted any of it.

  12. Mrs Green says:

    @nadine sellers: Hmm yes I’ve heard of it but it’s never appealed to me. I like the sound of your salad; thanks!

    @Jane: I have to admit; on the times I’ve made my own stock, the soup has been 100 times better; it really is worth it…

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