The lost art of kitchen management

As it’s Food Waste Action Week this week (1st – 7th March), we’ve put together some top tips on how to avoid food waste in your kitchen:

Households account for over half of the 88 million tonnes of food wasted every year in Europe, far more than any other part of the food system. For that to change, we don’t just need to challenge wasteful attitudes, but also rediscover the lost art of kitchen management.

There are many new technologies and innovations on the horizon that can help reduce waste (AI, extended shelf lives etc.), but a simpler answer lies in the recent past. Frugal, thrifty, and creative cooking, as well as careful planning and management, were essential skills to have during times when food was harder to come by (such as during WWI and WWII).

Fortunately, food is more plentiful and accessible than ever in Europe, but we now face new challenges: what is easy to come by is easier to waste. Therefore, in order to reduce our impact on the environment, it is time we re-learnt the art of running an efficient, organised low-food-waste home.

Here are a few tips I found that work for me, starting with the most preferred and impactful options and working down to what should be last resorts – a bit like a home kitchen version of the food waste hierarchy.

1 – Get organised

foodwaste_getorganised

When it comes to reducing food waste, by far the best option is always prevention, to avoid buying things that are unlikely to get eaten. Far too many of us organise our kitchens like the armageddon is coming, with an overflowing fridge and overstuffed cupboards. While there is no harm in having a healthy stock of some long-lasting goods, this should really be the exception.

Another problem many of us have is that we are aspirational shoppers, or, even worse, we shop when hungry! The result is that we buy things we like the idea of cooking or eating, rather than what we are certain will get used.

Planning ahead is the best way to avoid this. Before heading to the shops, write a meal plan for the week and then turn this into a shopping list. Make sure you check your cupboards, fridge and freezer as well, to avoid doubling up on things.

If the idea of a carefully planned, big weekly shop is not your thing, then small regular trips to the shop are also effective, where you only buy ingredients for what you are going to cook and eat that night.

2 – Proper storage

Good storage of food is an art in itself (or a science actually). Too many of us use the fridge as a long-term store of food, filling it with items that are easily forgotten and lost at the back, slowly spoiling, or they may not even need to be there in the first place. There is a lot of information about food storage out there. If you can freeze something instead, then do it, as it will keep far longer.

It’s also a good idea to practise the art of FIFO. This is not as mysterious as it might sound. First In: First Out. This is the mantra adhered to by good restaurants, and there is no reason we shouldn’t adopt it at home too. When unpacking your groceries, enact some stock rotation, moving older products to the front of the fridge/freezer/pantry, and new products to the back. This reduces the likelihood of items sitting hidden for weeks and months, slowly perishing out of sight. So give FIFO a go.

3 – Batch cooking

Lots of people like to save time by cooking big batches of food at the weekend and freezing portions to use throughout the week. This uses ingredients when they are freshest and tastiest and also means you are much less likely to waste food.

4 – Head to tail – root to fruit

foodwaste_2Many chefs are now touting the benefits of cooking using the entity of an animal, fruit or vegetable. This includes making delicious stock from kitchen scraps. Why not collect your carrot tops, onion scraps, garlic skins and other veg odds and ends in a bowl in the freezer, ready to turn into a delicious stock once full. Stocks not only make use of kitchen scraps, but also turn the plainest meal into something delicious. If you want to try something a bit different, then keep plenty of glass jars handy too, to turn ‘waste food’ into scrumptious pickles, preserves, or fermented treats.

5 – Trust your senses

foodwaste3It’s good to be mindful of use-by-dates, but don’t follow them religiously. Trust your senses – does it still look good, taste fine and smell ok? If so, then reach for the saucepan and not the trash. If there is a bit of spoilage on food, then you can always just cut around it rather than throwing it all out.

6 – Emergency ‘use it up’ recipes

Milk, bread and bagged salads are the most commonly wasted food, so they deserve special attention when managing your kitchen. Try not to buy them in bulk and have a few recipes ready for using up extras, like making breadcrumbs, croutons or cottage cheese. Here are some more ideas for using up leftover bread and milk.

7 – Dodge the trash

foodwaste4Even after careful planning, shopping, storing, preserving, pickling and stock boiling, you are likely to have some food left over. Make sure you have plenty of airtight packaging ready to store leftovers in the fridge or freezer, to be eaten at a later date or incorporated into another meal. Anything that is inedible should be composted. If you’re really adventurous, there are even people reusing some inedible food waste in beauty products.

So there you have it, a few tip to improve your kitchen management skills. Remember, it’s better to prevent waste than deal with it afterwards, so get your meal planners out and start taking stock of your kitchen and its waste. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a bit of fun along the way though– carrot jam anyone?

 

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Newsletter February 2021

Our new monthly newsletter is here!   Read all about the Incredible Edible Ludlow Seed Swap, Ludlow 21’s new Bird of the Month feature, Fairtrade Fortnight, and more.

Download a pdf version:  newsletter_feb21

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Help to support the CEE Bill in Shropshire

Can we really wait THREE DECADES until we fix this?! The UK government is currently aiming for net zero climate emissions by 2050.

The Climate and Ecological Emergency (CEE) Bill is a Private Members’ Bill introduced into Parliament in September 2020.   It has been written by scientists, lawyers and climate campaigners and is gathering support from a broad range of business leaders, charities and individuals.

The CEE bill currently has cross-party support from almost 100 MPs… but none from Shropshire!
Please email your Shropshire councillor asking them to support the CEE bill motion at the debate at Shropshire Council on 25 February. Your email will also be sent to your Shropshire MP asking them to support the bill. Follow the link to take action:
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Fairtrade Fortnight is just around the corner

fairtrade fortnight

Fairtrade Fortnight is just around the corner. This year it is more important than ever that you join the growing movement to make trade fair.

Farmers and workers in the Global South are already among the world’s poorest people, and the Coronavirus pandemic has put them even more at risk. We need to work together to protect their livelihoods during this period and beyond.

You have the power to drive long term change, not only with your shopping choices but with your support in spreading the message.

From 22nd February to 7th March, the Ludlow Fairtrade Town Group will be promoting Fairtrade and ethical sourcing throughout the town. We need you to join us!

Find out more and get involved by emailing ludlowfairtrade@gmail.com or phoning Jenny Hume, Chair of Ludlow Fairtrade Town Group on 01584 831654.

You can learn more about Fairtrade in Ludlow by visiting the Ludlow Fairtrade Town Group website: https://ludowfairtrade.com.

Did you know…you can make a difference right now, simply by shopping in the right place? Traidcraft sell a range of ethically sourced food, drinks, gifts, homewares. Every purchase helps to transform the lives of small-scale artisans, farmers and their communities across the developing world. Visit the online shop at www.traidcraftshop.co.uk

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Traidcraft Popup Shop 12th December

traidcraft

Traidcraft Christmas Pop Up Shop
on Saturday 12th December 10am-4pm
at Ludlow Mascall Centre

Click here for details

 

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Ludlow 21 AGM 2020

This year’s AGM will take place via Zoom on Monday 10th August at 7.30pm.  Please email secretary@ludlow21.org.uk if you would like to attend and have not yet received an invitation.

Papers for the meeting are available to download here:

Agenda

Minutes of AGM 2019

Reports from Chair and Friends and Family Groups

Draft Accounts 2019-20

Nomination form for election to the Board

 

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New Ludlow 21 Newsletter June 2020

Download the Newsletter in pdf form here

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Food Conference Saturday 29th February

Places still available – book now!  Click here to view the full Conference Programme

EMAIL INSERT LARGE Fairtrade Conference (1)-page-0https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/ludlow-fairtrade

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Extinction Rebellion Climate Action Saturday 5th October

XR Ludlow and Leominster invite you to join them in an action at 11 am in Castle Square to mark the start of 2 weeks of action in London from 7th October.

XR L&L rebels will be travelling to London on Sunday 6th to make sure our voices are heard. Show them your support by bringing your voice on Saturday 5th.

Plan – to read the Declaration of Rebellion in Castle Square, with drums & banners.

Time – meet 10.50am for an 11am start

Place – meet at the cannon outside the castle in Castle Square

Bring – smile, big voice (umbrella!!), picnic lunch ( – see below), placard – if you can

Finish – expected to end by midday – then go to Millennium Green for coffee/ picnic lunch if weather is good

If you haven’t got a placard, now is the time to make one! For ideas, search on Student Strike or April XR London Action.

We like:
There’s no planet B
Cut down on clothes, cows & cars
Stop denying, the earth is dying

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The Future of Food: Good Food Doesn’t Have to Cost the Earth!

As part of the international Food for Change campaign Slow Food Ludlow Marches invites you to a special talk by Shane Holland, Executive Chair of Slow Food in the UK at Ludlow Methodist Church, Broad Street – 7pm on Wednesday 16th October.

All welcome to this free event.

The Future of Food: Good Food Doesn’t Have to Cost the Earth!

With the global population forecast to approach 10 billion by 2050 and the planet in the grip of a climate emergency, how can we feed ourselves in a sustainable way? Newspapers scream that plant milk is better for the environment than animal milk, yet is this always true? Are faux-meat burgers better for our health?  Shane Holland will answer these questions in his interactive lecture, touching on subjects as diverse as the Arab Spring, pollinators, gut health, the US Dust Bowl and why speaking English as a second language can give you diabetes. His solutions are compelling, simple and timeless: food should be good, clean and fair.

Shane Holland is the Executive Chairman of Slow Food in the UK.  He speaks extensively on sustainable food issues and is a regular talking head on BBC radio discussing issues as diverse as vegan v meat-based eating, sustainable farming and whether insects will be our protein source of the future. He has given evidence to Parliament, guest lectures at a number of universities and speaks about food issues at the Climate Coalition. He was named by TED as an “Architect of Tomorrow” and, in addition to Slow Food, he chairs Eat Club, an organisation that teaches food skills to young people, and is past Chair of Plan Zheroes, the platform that connects good surplus fresh food with charities and people in need.

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