Kindling restaurant chef and co-founder Holly Taylor has some great tips to help us maximise our food shop and I thought it would be timely to share these with you considering the huge hike in household bills and the cost of living right now and you know I love anything food related! Over to Holly……
Household food waste accounts for 60% of all food waste. Over 30% of all food produced
globally ends up in the bin. In the UK we are by far the worst offenders in Europe, throwing
away 9.5 million tonnes of food each year. This is an enormous problem because as food
degrades in landfill sites it releases methane gas which contributes to global warming.
Being careful with how much you buy, keeping an eye on use by dates, and getting savvy
with the freezer are all great ways to start minimising how much food ends up in the bin. And
with a bit of creativity and know–how you can start using more of what you buy and getting
value for money too.
At Kindling restaurant in Brighton, we design our whole menu around using amazing local
produce and minimising food waste. Here we share some tips and tricks to help you do the
same at home and save some money along the way.
Get creative with your green trim.
A large proportion of green vegetables is often thrown away simply because we don’t think
its edible or don’t know what to do with it. The green part of a leek still tastes amazing, it
simply needs to be well washed and cooked for a bit longer than the paler part. The outer
leaves of cauliflower are gorgeous roasted in the oven for 5 minutes at 220C with a little oil
and salt, but they’re equally good shredded in a stir fry or added into a cauliflower cheese.
Broccoli stalk is delicious sliced and pickled in a salad.
In the restaurant all our green trim is saved, thinly sliced, and then turned in a beautifully
vivid green soup which we offer to our evening diners as an amuse bouche. The finely
chopped greens are sauteed in butter, then cooked out in milk before being blended into a
silky-smooth soup that’s chilled over ice. Everything from the outer leaves of cabbage to the
trim from broccoli can feature in the soup. It simply depends what’s on the menu at the time.
Keep the peel
The peel from onions, garlic and shallots can be used to make an amazingly fragrant oil for
dressing and cooking with. Simply save all your trimmings in a bag in the freezer until you
have enough to fill a large saucepan. To make the oil, cover all the peelings with a neutral
tasting oil such as rapeseed oil and heat over a very low heat for 2-3 hours. Allow to cool,
then strain and decant into bottles. This oil is lovely for cooking with or as a base for a salad
dressing, or a dip for bread.
Keep fresh spices and citrus in the freezer
Some of the most commonly thrown away food items are wrinkled chillis, pieces of mouldy
things in the freezer, you can grate them straight from frozen. This means you can easily
portion half a chilli, the zest of half a lime or 1 tablespoon of ginger without the rest going to
waste. Once you have what you need simply return the item to the freezer ready to use again
Have a go at preserving and fermenting
If you end up with too much of something there are a lot of different ways you can preserve it
for use later in the year.
Gluts of fruit and vegetables can be turned into jams and chutneys or pickled. These make
excellent presents or additions to a Christmas hamper.
Cabbages and root vegetables like carrots and beetroot can be turned into kraut. Thinly slice
or grate the vegetables, carefully weigh how much you have and sprinkle in 3% table salt by
weight. Set the veg aside for an hour then massage it with the salt until it creates enough
liquid to fully cover itself when put in a jar. Pack the vegetables and liquid into a Kilner jar
ensuring they are fully submerged, then seal and leave in a cool dark place to ferment for
anything from a week to six weeks. It’s a good idea to open the jar once a week and have a
taste to see how the flavour is developing. Once it’s reached a taste that you’re happy with,
transfer it to the fridge.
Softer fruits and vegetables can be fermented in a brine (salt dissolved in water). Sweeter
fruits such as apples and plums should be fermented in a jar in a 5% salt solution. Less sweet
fruits like rhubarb, and most vegetables can be fermented in a 3% brine. Simply place the
prepared food in the jar, fully submerge in brine and seal the lid. Leave at room temperature
for a week to 10 days then transfer to the fridge. As fruits and vegetables ferment, acids
develop and gas is produced. For this reason, it’s a good idea to ‘burp’ your jars every few
days while they are actively fermenting to avoid explosions!
Once fermented, fruits and vegetables will keep for months in the fridge provided they stay in
the fermentation liquid. On a dark winter’s day, it’s nice to have a splash of colour from some
fermented rhubarb or the zing of a preserved plum to remind you summer is not far away.
If all else fails, make a cake
Over ripe fruit and vegetables that have gone a bit soft like carrots and courgettes are perfect
for baking. Many other fruits and vegetables can also be pureed or grated and added into
sweet loaves, cakes, muffins and cookies. Think banana bread, courgette and lime loaf cake,
apple sauce muffins and carrot cake cookies!
Don’t forget the garden
Some items of food waste can make excellent additions to your garden or allotment. Crushed
eggshells make an excellent slug and snail deterrent around young plants, or they can be dug
into the soil to add vital nutrients for seedlings. Coffee grounds can be added to soil to create
a nitrogen rich environment loved by plants such as onions and salad leaves. And of course,
anything you really can’t find an edible use for can be used to start a compost heap. Unlike in
a landfill site, food decomposing in a compost heap doesn’t produce greenhouse gases so it’s
a much better choice than putting food in the bin. At Kindling restaurant, any veg trim we can’t use is
nothing is wasted.
If you would like to find out more about Kindling restaurant or to plan a visit, here are all the links you need: