Our friends at Vibrant Vegan Co. feel passionately about fighting food waste, and it goes without saying that we feel exactly the same way! For those of you who don't know VVCo. bring delicious frozen vegan meals to people’s doors and they care deeply about the environment - their insulation is even made from upcycled denim jeans and all their packaging is returnable to them to be re-used. Truly a brand after our own hearts!
So, we're handing the baton over to them today to talk all things food waste. Read on for their tips AND a sneaky fridge-clearing recipe thrown in too... Can't go wrong! Over to you VVCo.
A recent Evening Standard article discussed how fears of climate change are gripping Britain, with over 85% of the population worrying about how our planet is changing!
It can feel overwhelming. Can we really make a difference from sitting at our desks? Yes, absolutely! Taking even the smallest steps can make a big difference.
For example, the reusable coffee cup industry has grown over 350% since 2017. Just by using your reusable cup, twice a week - you can help to reduce hundreds of coffee cups from reaching the landfill every year.
....See - small change, big difference!
So you've already got your Keepcup handy, what about food wastage?
Food waste is a tricky one. You've done a food shop, but now you're working late in the office all week or your social calendar has peaked and everything you'd planned to eat has now gone out of date. Disaster!
Don't worry - help is on hand!
Below we've written our top 5 tips for minimising food wastage - even when you're busy & life is manic!
So you've bought a loaf of bread at the weekend and it's almost certainly going to go stale, before you throw it out a few days later. Bread is actually the most wasted food in the UK, with 240 million slices thrown away every year. Jeez, that's a load of loaves. When in fact bread and the freezer are perfect partners - simply slice and store in the freezer for as long as required (6 months is usually the max). When you fancy a slice, remove and pop into the toaster. Hey presto, delicious toast!
So long as you can anticipate that you're not going to be able to eat something before the best before date or it goes stale, the freezer will always be there to lend a hand!
Brown bananas? Peel them & pop into a bag/container and into the freezer. Use whenever you fancy a fruit smoothie or banana nice cream for a creamy delight!
Peppers, carrots, courgettes all starting to turn soft? Chop 'em into pieces and put in the freezer. When you fancy some roasted veggies, simply place on a baking tray with some olive oil. salt and black pepper and cook for 30-40 minutes until golden and crispy!
Forgot the put your bread in the freezer and now it's stale? D'oh! Whip out your food processor or blender and put the stale bread in, making delish crispy breadcrumbs. Store in a glass jar, use whenever you need a crispy topping, we love using them on our Lasagne & Mac & Cheeze. The other option is pop your bread rolls in the oven for 5/10 minutes and it will be good as new!
2) Ignore the best before date.
In this day & age, caution is the name of the game. Supermarkets have to err on the side of caution, to the point where shelf life has dramatically reduced over the last few years. Equalling a huge rise in food waste. Ok so we're not advocating you eat perishable foods after the use by date. But pretty much every other product out there, especially those with a best before date - have bags of life left in them when they are said to expire.
Say you’ve got a whole bunch of bananas that are on the turn – we’ve got just the recipe for you.
Our Vegan Fridge-Clear Muffins
2 medium brown/black bananas
½ carrot grated
½ courgette grated
1 lemon – zest & juice
75ml vegetable oil
100g brown or coconut sugar
225g plain flour
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp dried ginger
25g dark chocolate
#1 In a mixing bowl, add all ingredients and mix well to combine
#2 Pour into a lined muffin tin, top each with a few walnut pieces and bake in a preheated oven @190c for 25 minutes, or until browned and a fork comes out clean.
3) Take it back to the basics.
The third most wasted food product in the UK is - ta da - the humble potato. In fact nearly 6 million of potatoes are wasted every year. We all know the feeling, a big bag is sitting in your cupboard and has started growing sprouts. What to do? It's widely believed that when potatoes have sprouted, you can't eat them! Well we're here to tell you that's rubbish. Just cut off the sprouts and use the potatoes as normal. To preserve your spuds as much as possible, store them in a non-plastic container such as a paper bag or cardboard box, away from direct sunlight. And when you're ready to tuck into them, how about slicing them up and making a delish veg gratin. Or mashing up with a glug of olive oil, salt and pepper. Yummo!
4) Don't just water your plants, water your veg.
Do this by keeping the stems of your broccoli, asparagus, celery, beets and cauli slightly watered, it will help extend their shelf life by up to a week!
5) Storage is key!
Just like us humans, fruit & veg all have different preferences. Some like it cold & dark, others like it warmer. Knowing how to store your food can greatly increase their shelf life and even the taste!
Food that enjoy room temperature include potatoes (exact storage into in tip #3) tomatoes, garlic, cucumbers, onions, squashes & bananas. They don't enjoy the chill of the fridge or direct sunlight!
Mushrooms like being in a cool, dark cupboard - ideally in the paper bags that they come in
Avocados, berries, apples, courgettes, peppers, aubergines, broccoli, cauliflower and pak choi - all enjoy being in the fridge. Chilled!
If you need to ripen any fruit or veg, stick it near to an ethylene producer. Ethylene is a gas given off by some fruit & veg during the ripening process - the most common culprit are bananas. Others include: avocados, tomatoes, peaches, pears and onions.
If your fruit & veg is already ripe, make sure you separate from these ethylene producers to ensure maximum shelf life or they'll go mushy!
And there you have it folks. Our top tips for reducing food waste.
Start small & remember that every little helps.
For more info about Vibrant Vegan Co, our delicious food, eco packaging and how we give back - visit our website: www.vibrantvegan.co.uk
Receive 30% off for your first order using promo code: UPCIRCLE
Peace & love, VVCo.