A couple of days ago there was a discussion on Sky News about food waste in the UK. This is a problem that I am extremely passionate about and something that can be changed so easily. Every day tons of edible food is thrown away in supermarkets and from households while many people struggle to scrape together even a meal a day. Not only that, a huge amount of resources is required to produce fruit and vegetables, rear livestock as well as processing, transporting and packaging food stuffs. It is truly such a waste.
I am make a big effort not to waste perfectly edible food. One of the main ways I do this is to plan my weekly meals and do one big shop. Although I sometimes forget things, I generally go to the grocery store once a week with a list of ingredients for my planned meals.
A list helps keep you on track so you don’t get tempted to buy a whole lot of stuff you don’t actually need. Before I plan my meals, I check my cupboards and fridge to see what I already have to make sure that it is incorporated into my weekly meals. I also try ensure that my ingredients for different meals overlap, so if I can going to buy a bunch of spinach I will try use it in more than one meal to ensure there is no wastage. I know it sounds like a lot of effort, but its it saves time, money and waste.
One of the other ways I reduce my food waste is to use up a whole lot of my left over fruit and veg to make something that can be frozen for another day. I have made plenty of different varieties of veggie soup from any left over vegetable floating around my fridge that are frozen for lunch or dinner some time in the future. One of the best and yummiest recipe using fruit that is on the edge is Banana Bread. Just recently I bought a whole bunch of bananas for breakfast, forgot to freeze them (freezing bananas once they are peeled is such an ingenious idea by the way) and within two days they were basically black. Luckily I have this fantastically, delicious banana bread recipe. I usually make it as muffins as they are easy to freeze, then pop into the microwave for breakfast or tea. The original recipe uses a lot more sugar (around 1 cup) but I use less than 1/2 cup. The bananas are super sweet so not much more sugar is required.
Banana Bread Muffins
Adapted from A Lovely Little Kitchen
Makes 21 muffins/1 loaf
1/2 cup butter, cubed and soft
1/4-1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)
4 tablespoons plain yoghurt
3/4 cup cake flour
3/4 whole wheat flour (you can just add 1 1/2 cups of cake flour if you don’t want to use whole wheat)
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
Optional: 1 cup sliced almonds/1/2 cup cocoa nibs (I use Superfood’s cocoa nibs, but chocolate chips will work fine)
- Preheat oven to 180 C
- Cream the butter and sugar together then add the eggs one at a time, mixing well
- Add vanilla extract, mashed banana and yogurt, mixing well after each ingredient.
- Combine the flours, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl
- Gradually add flour to the wet ingredients, mixing until just incorporated
- Add and mix in the nuts and/cocoa nibs
- Pour batter into well-greased loaf or muffin tin and bake for 30-35 minutes (loaf) and 20 minutes (muffins) or until a skewer in the middle comes out clean
NOTE: Both the muffins and the loaf freeze well. Either let them defrost and serve at room temperature or toast/warm up in the microwave and serve with butter.