Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Waste Watchers

Some nice ladies from Zero Waste Scotland came to our workplace the other day to raise awareness of, er, zero waste. In particular food waste.

They had a wee survey to fill out which I did and one of the ladies look it over and looked a bit crestfallen. There isn’t really anything else you can do is there? You’re doing it all already!

It seems common sense thrifty behaviour is much sought after. I don’t understand why so many people throw away so much food.

I’m pretty good at snaffling any leftovers. The last batch of soup I made was too much so the remainder went in the freezer. I avoid BOGOFs - one of the many reasons to hate supermarkets. And we have a compost bin. I paid £5 for it and walked through the middle of Inverness on a Friday night wearing it to get it home so I‘m jolly well going to use it!
The conversation with the ZWS posse quickly turned into a discussion about favourite vegetables and recipes. A debate raged about kale versus spinach. I think I prefer kale. We recently picked some from the allotment and Wife-features did a really tasty thing involving garlic and onions. The missus also lifted some baby beetroots - they’re earmarked for roasting. Mmm, mmm!

Down at the electric allotments it’s gone very quiet. Most veg has been harvested and some people have started to cover over their soil to stop any weeds arriving before the spring. I’ll probably get down there soon to turn over the ground a wee bit and cover over. We plan to do a lot more with the plot next year - this year was our first go and what with having a sudden handover of the site in April and priority Toddler duties we did the basics - dug and weeded the ground, built a fence, got a shed, threw in some tatties and onions and enjoyed a chinwag with the neighbours as well as some lovely moments of peace and quiet.

Back to food waste and Wife-features recently had an audit of the kitchen cupboards, discovering about seven different varieties of vinegar. Some were past their best so had to be disposed of. But I do think we’re getting better at not overbuying and trying to use what we’ve got before we pile new stuff into the cupboards and fridge. I always remember my gran’s “press” - the scullery cupboard next to the back door. The bottom shelf was packed about two feet deep with tins - everything from butter beans to peaches. The next shelf was packets of dried things like semolina and chicken noodle soup. The top shelf was sweet things like sugar, golden syrup and cake mixtures. You can tell she lived through the war and rationing. If for any reason we’d been confined we could have lived and eaten well for several months.

You rarely see canned goods in shopping baskets these days - it tends to be fresh and I suppose more likely to be forgotten at the back of the fridge so it goes off. We should probably try to get through as much as we can to create some space in our cupboards for the inevitable Christmas indulgence. Toddler can look forward to sardine and sweetcorn sandwiches for lunch tomorrow! Glace cherries drizzled with seven kinds of balsamic vinegar for afters anyone?

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