Posts tagged "food waste"

How can I use up buffet sandwiches?

We’ve had a “clever idea” email from Jos, telling us about their personal battle against food waste at work:

This sounds so cheap but I regularly “steal” the last of the sandwiches after meetings at work because they’d go in the bin if I didn’t take them. I eat some fresh, freeze others to eat later and grill the cheese ones. I rarely make my own sarnies these days!

Ah yes, free lunches. I used to organise academic conferences & courses as part of my job and the scavenger in me loved the leftover buffet. The best I managed was a very fancy meeting which included both sushi & steak (in too-big-to-be-easy-finger-food pieces, so very little was eaten). Later on in my buffet foraging career though, the catering people started getting more aggressive about health & safety and we weren’t allowed to take anything unless we could promise it would be eaten immediately — and that is something to consider when taking sandwiches or whatever: they’ve already been out of a fridge for several hours so some fillings may already be getting a bit past it. Consume at your own risk.

Assuming they’re still good though, I like Jos’ idea of grilling some of them and certain flavours may lend themselves to being made into an interesting bread and butter pudding (perhaps not egg mayo but we used to get wacky fillings like cream cheese & strawberry, which would be quirky but not insane in a pudding).

Anyone else a buffet womble? Do you eat them fresh or revamp them?

How can I reuse or recycle a chicken carcass after making stock?

We’ve started getting a meat box delivery from Swillington Farm – a local organic farm. All the meat is organic, the animals have been treated well during their lives and the food miles are very low — in fact for the chicken we had over the weekend, the only food miles were the ones delivering it here to us (about 15miles, and they deliver to other people in the area during the same trip) – but it is considerably more expensive than buying from a cheap meat from a supermarket. We’re careful about food waste anyway when it’s expensive, we’re doubly careful about making use out of every single bit of it!

So the main meat portions have been eaten or frozen to be eaten later this month, the giblets & skin cooked into a pate for the cats, and the carcass has been picked over for meat then slow cooked into a stock. But is there anything I can do with the bones after the stock?

I know some people with sealed composting systems/bokashi bins add bones to that. As we have an open (or at least not full sealed) bin and live near woodland, I’d worry about foxes (especially as our live and considerably more meaty chickens are nearby). But to get the bones into the garden, I know some people make their own bonemeal fertiliser from old chicken/other animal bones — has anyone done that? If so, any advice or things to avoid?

I’ve also heard about people using chicken carcasses for catching fish or crayfish – but I think the idea is that they’re raw and a bit stinky; these picked-clean cooked bones might not be enticing enough. Again, anyone know?

Any other suggestions?

How can I use up too sweet ginger wine?

I spotted this question on the Money Saving Expert forums earlier today:

I bought some ginger wine from sainsburys to try but it is far too sweet. I don’t want to waste it, but I can’t stand to drink it. Any ideas what else I can do with it?

Other forum posters suggested using a splash of it in brandy and hot water to make a winter cocktail, or with ice in lemonade for a summery one. Another suggestion is to use it to make a ginger-y trifle.

Any other ideas?

How can I reuse or recycle out of date packet soup?

Karen left a question on the Suggest an Item page:

Hi! I found out of date instant soup packets. Any ideas?

I presume by “out of date” Karen means its beyond the “best before” date – and if so, chances are, that soup is just fine and will be just fine for a good while after the marked date. (The UK government has announced they’re going to get rid of “best before” dates to reduce food waste – let people make their own judgements about whether stuff is fine to eat/drink or not, however long it is since it was produced. “Use by” dates on fresh food will remain but “best before” and “display until” [a stock rotation guide for shops] are disappearing. Anyway, back to Karen’s soup…)

If the soup is still good despite being “out of date”, then as well as being used as just soup, it could be used in place of stock in certain recipes – the flavour of the soup will obviously dictate where it can/should be used but it’s quite commonly used in casseroles and Google tells me that some people use (presumably beef-y, onion or mushroom) mixes to add flavour to meat when making hamburgers or tacos etc.

I know a lot of people reading this will prefer to make soups from scratch at home but does anyone have any other ideas for things Karen could do with the soup?

Five fantastic things to do with overripe fruit

“Overripe” is a bit of a euphemism – I mean fruit that’s past its raw eating prime. Fruit that’s going off a bit, frankly. I don’t mean mouldy or otherwise rank fruit, just fruit that’s just not as fresh as it once was.

Bake fruity breads, cakes and muffins

I’m pretty sure everyone knows that overripe bananas make THE BEST banana bread, right? When they’re brown and soft, they are easier to mush, sweeter and more banana-y. There are thousands of banana bread recipes out there from the simple to the … well, not complex but slightly less simple.

Other verging-on-too-soft fruit can used for baking too – orange muffins, summer berries including strawberries can be used for an oat-topped “crisp” pudding, and of course apples can be crumbled, pie-d or stewed.

Freeze citrus fruit juice

Citrus fruits don’t follow the same sliding scale of ripeness as other fruit – they’re either good or they’re bad, no real inbetween.

If you’ve had some oranges, lemons or limes in your fruit bowl for a while and don’t think they’ll last much longer – act now! Squeeze the juice out of them and freeze it in ice cube trays for use in future cooking.

Or if that’s too much, cut them into wedges or slices and freeze them separated out on a cookie sheet (once they’re frozen, you can put them in a bag or box – but freezing them separately prevents them from sticking together so much). They can them be used in drinks – working as both fruit and ice cubes.
Continue Reading →