On a cold and wet January night around 45 people arrived at the St. Magnus Centre, Kirkwall, Orkney to hear a presentation on behalf of Love Food Hate Waste Scotland in conjunction with Orkney Zerowaste and the Orkney Islands Council department, Recycle for Orkney.
The presentation which lasted for approximately 40 minutes was given by Kim Young of Love Food Hate Waste who introduced us to best practice in reduction of food waste.
Every year Scotland is responsible for the throwing away of 600,000 tonnes of food which equates to £1 billion worth of food wastage, this breaks down to the average household being responsible for £460 a year or £38 a month. Where some of it is things like vegetable peelings and bones most of it is food which we have sadly not got around to eating so it ends up in the bin.
Ways in which we can reduce our food wastage varies but with a little creativity and forward planning reduce it we can. From the very point of deciding to go to the shops to purchase food it is recommended that you should always check your cupboards to list what you actually need, avoid going shopping when hungry as this encourages you to purchase too much and learn to save leftovers and either label and freeze or with a little creativity turn you leftovers into a second day meal. Apart from the obvious benefit of not throwing your food away, for a society where time always seems minimal it should cut down on your preparation time for your second night leftovers. It was certainly always common practice when I was young to use the Sunday roast in a curry on a Monday which I hope my own children shall have learned from me. Here is a recipe from our own recipe page for leftover Haggis and Tatties, and topical with it being Burns Day today. Haggis Patties
Most foods freeze and even small individual portions come in handy for nights when meals need to be staggered or some of the family are not home.
There is often a confusion too between best before dates and use by dates. Use by dates do mean using on that day as it normally involves perishable goods, ie meat, poultry and dairy which may indeed be harmful to your health, however as long as it is by the use by date there is nothing wrong with freezing your item or cooking it and keeping it in the fridge then for another couple of days.
Best before dates are I believe meant to confuse and tend to lead to unnecessary foods being thrown away. This date purely means the date at which the manufacturer recommends his product is at its best, the best example of this for me is fruit and vegetables that come pre-packed. If you go to a greengrocers the vegetables tend to be loose so where is the the best before date then, well there isn’t one so it therefore comes down to common sense, if your tatties haven’t sprouted roots then cook and eat them and if they have, well why not stick them in the ground or a container/bucket of earth and grow your own.
Jane Venables was also there on behalf of the Orkney Islands Council department Recycle for Orkney, encouraging you along with other things to Make Your Metal Matter: You can recycle your metal in your green bin, this includes cans, both drinks cans and food cans eg soft drinks/beer cans, pet food cans, canned tomatoes, empty aerosols including hairsprays and deodorants to name but a few.
Mary Rutter from Orkney Zerowaste treated us to a short food demonstration encouraging us to think out of the box at all times of the year, however for this we were concentrating on Haggis as there is often a glut of leftover and reduced Haggis in the shops after our Burns Supper celebrations. Mary showed us how to make Bajees to which you can add whatever ingredients you have handy in this case haggis. You can view a short video of the cooking demonstration here.
Orkney Zerowaste is a Scottish based Charity working with our community to help reduce wastage with tips on recycling. They have a zero waste yard in Stromness which aims to be a one stop drop of point helping with recycling solutions wherever they can. You can often find Mary out and about at the various bazaars and car boot sales with her zero waste food, food which has passed their best before date but which is perfectly good to eat still. Last night for example they had brought along Colmans English Mustard, packet soups and relishes which they encourage those attending to take home and try.
A thoroughly enjoyable and informative evening was had by everyone who attended, thank you to all involved with the organisation of this event.
A short interview with those mentioned above followed the evening with a link to the video here.