Journal etc.: Make the most of your Xmas Leftovers

Journal etc.: Make the most of your Xmas Leftovers

By Chloë Stewart

Journal etc.: Make the most of your Xmas Leftovers

[pictured in BBC Radio London Studio: Angela Clutton and Chloë Stewart back with Gaby Roslin front]

After an exciting, short and sweet appearance on BBC Radio London with Gaby Roslin [listen here] in support of Angela Clutton's new Borough Market cookbook The Knowledge, I was full of xmassy recipe inspiration for reducing food waste at home this xmas.

To recap. the mind blowing food waste stats we discussed: on a daily basis, UK households throw away...

24 million slices of bread
Over 4 million potatoes
Over 3 million glasses of milk

Reference: Out Of Date [by WRAP]

Why does this happen?

Food waste happens at every stage of the supply chain, with most happening on a farm level - which, to be clear, is often nothing to do with those growing, and everything to do with those buying, the climate, politics, socio-economic reasons. But, post farm-gate, in areas such as the US, UK and Europe, 70% of food waste occurs in the home. [ref].

1. Confusion around date labels such as Use By, Best Before etc.. 
2. Incorrectly storing food and lack of freezing.
3. Lack of time to plan a shop/meal leads to impulse and over buying.

Reference: FAO

What does this mean for the environment, why does this matter?

Food waste accounts for 8% of human caused greenhouse gas emissions [ref]
1/4 of the world's fresh water supply is used to produce food waste. [ref]
An area the size of China is used to grow food that is never eaten. [ref]

Food waste is responsible for 8% of human generated greenhouse gas emissions. That's more than the aviation industry. Eliminating this from our food supply chains is one of the most impactful things we can do, to reduce the effects of greenhouse gases like CO2 and Methane.

"Reducing Food Waste as a Leading Solution to Climate Change" -- Project Drawdown via ReFed 

To be clear, food waste is everyone's responsibility, from individuals to businesses and governments. Let's not berate ourselves when we stumble. Let's encourage each other when we feel inspired. And most importantly, let's just do something about it.

In thinking about your leftovers, your odds and ends, I challenge you to replace the word 'waste' with 'ingredient'. Because that's what they are. The byproduct of one recipe is an 'ingredient' for the next. Now, let's get upcycled-menu planning.

Making the most of your leftovers, for Xmas:

Recipe inspiration from Angela Clutton's Borough Market cookbook, The Knowledge

Cocktail hour: fruit infused liquors, The Knowledge p197 for inspiration
Starters & canapes: used tea leaf cured gravadlax, The Knowledge p30 for inspiration
The main event: frozen 'stock pot' of peels for flavour-packed gravies [without using whole veggies - save them for the baking tray], stale-ing bread for stuffings. 
Show-stopping pudding: breadcrumb puddings, The Knowledge p297 for inspiration

TOP TIP: when you're finished with your oven, turn it off and quickly pop your tray of sliced bread in, shutting the door quickly so the heat stays trapped, drying out your bread for the perfect bread crumbs.

Making the most of your Xmas leftovers:

Morning after brunch: juice pulp pancakes, bread/pastry/panetone pudding.
Bestover lunch: fold leftovers into quiches, pies, hot salads and sandwiches.
Light dinner: bulk out your stocks Italian bread soups like Pappa al Pomodoro/Ribollita, risottos
Sweet treat: liquor-infused fruit upside down cake ex.The Knowledge p194 for inspiration

TOP TIP: make a new boxing day tradition out of making a giant stock with your xmas day roast bones, parmesan cheese rinds, herb stalks, onion peels etc. to use in your bestover recipes.  

General food waste reducing tips

Compote: surplus fruit [10% sugar, 50% water, 150*C oven for 1.5-2 hrs]. It's perfect for breakfast on porridge, or dessert with some rice pudding and toasted granola [hint hint] The Knowledge p230 for inspiration
Ferment: surplus raw vegetables like carrots, brussels, cabbage, cauliflower & beetroot leaves, into this 'unorthodox kimchi' and then serve on all your festive season cheeseboard.
Batch cook: and freeze half. Sounds obvious, but felt worth reminding.  Means you're not left with half ingredients, making small portions. Use everything up. 
Freeze: everything, from broths, to bread, to milk. Make sure to slice bread/chop veg and freeze on a baking tray before bagging.
Look, smell, taste: fruit/veg/bread/dairy before tossing, Best Before dates are misleading. 

ICYMI: Food writer and presenter, Angela Clutton, and Chloë Stewart from the sustainable snack company nibs etc. speak to Gaby Roslin about smart ways to reduce food waste and save money this winter.