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How to reduce food waste

Paul Collins, executive chef and food ambassador at Yeo Valley Organic, shares his top 5 tips for reducing food waste
Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod
How to reduce food waste

From saving the last knob of butter or spoon of yogurt to using up a hard piece of cheese for a delicious recipe, here are some of the secrets to zero-waste cooking.</span I hope these top tips will provide some inspiration to help you minimise food wastage – on Stop Food Waste Day (28 April 2021) and beyond!

Love your leftovers

At Yeo Valley Organic we love all food – especially leftovers!  A great way to enjoy your leftovers is by being creative and turning them into another delicious dish.

In our café we like to make crostini from our leftover sourdough and freeze them sliced, ready to be used during the busiest days.

If we have any whole loaves of bread left over, we sell it to the staff at a reduced rate and if there is still any left, we turn it into breadcrumbs ready for future recipes!

Boil your bones

All the beef we use in the Yeo Valley Organic café and canteen is from our own farms, and we try to use every last bit of meat – including the bones! 

We make a bone broth or a stock which you can turn into whatever recipe you like. We like to make gravy with it – it takes two days but it’s well worth the wait!

You can also reduce food waste when preparing fish by using the bones for a fish stock, or using any leftover trim for fishcakes, fish pie or croquettes.

Keep all cuttings

There’s a huge amount of waste in every kitchen from food preparation, but we love to see what trimmings and cuttings can be used in other recipes – you might be surprised about what you can repurpose!

We save all the trimmings from our root vegetables, such as onions or carrots, for our stock pot, which minimises the need to put in extra veg.

Any leftover veg from roast dinners can also be used for bubble and squeak for lunch the following day, and we make surplus veggies or other food items into soups, chutneys or purées.

We can do this at the height of their season to maximise flavour and extend the season – it’s especially good with broad beans, tomatoes, or wild garlic, which is in season now!

Storage is key

When saving and reusing leftovers, where we store our food can have a huge impact on its freshness and versatility.

Bread and eggs can have a much longer life if they’re stored in the fridge, but some vegetables such as tomatoes are much better kept out in the air so they can ripen and be enjoyed at their best.

The freezer is the star of a leftover-lover’s kitchen though, and we treat the freezer like it’s our best friend because when it comes to keeping wastage to a minimum, it is!

Think before you buy

At Yeo Valley Organic we love dairy but hate food waste, so always try our best to only buy what we need in the first place.

With organic farming, we put nature first every day, but it’s easy to do this when shopping too. 

Making small changes to your everyday habits can help to make a huge difference – it really can be as small as just thinking more about the environment to help you shop more consciously. 

In our café and canteen, we like to put nature first by buying food supplies daily, from local and trusted suppliers.

Going to shops and suppliers that are close to you is key to knowing where food comes from and learning to respect and look after it. Doing this also means you’ll only order what is needed without having excess leftovers.

Another way we can put nature first is to try to buy seasonally, so we try and source from suppliers that grow, rear or make everything we use in our café and canteen.

Buying local is extremely important to us and can not only stop food waste but save food miles too.

By making small changes to our daily habits, such as reducing food waste, buying organic more often or encouraging garden wildlife, including insects and birds, we can collectively make a positive impact on the natural environment.

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