squashed pumpkins in a field

Don’t let your food waste go to waste

Wow! What a response! We couldn’t believe how many of our readers got in touch recently when we ‘peeled back the onion’ on food waste and exposed a whole heap of climate change issues. But it’s clear now, we need to be talking about this. More attention is needed on this subject if we’re going to make a difference. This week, we want to show you how to reduce your food waste as well as other people’s, from apps for food waste to nifty food upcycling recipes. Eat the information in this blog like the ends of your bread loaf and you’ll be reducing your impact in no time! Don’t forget to then share it with others so they can learn about food waste reduction and climate change.

Methods for minimising food waste in your home 

Creating food waste seems inevitable, however, there are things we can do to reduce it. The most important: getting organised. When it comes to the weekly food shop, don’t just guess what you may need, write a list. Take a look in your fridge, freezer and cupboards and know what you have. Then plan out your meals, knowing the ingredients you’ll need. Compare the two lists and wherever there are gaps – purchase those items. It means perishables like meat, fruit, and veg are significantly reduced in your food waste. Plus, you’ll save a lot of money! 

Of course, you can stock up on items like biscuits and crisps. Although try to find them in packaging that you can recycle. These food items aren’t as common in food waste bins, but they still play a part. Don’t buy a 24-variety multipack of crisps if you know that the ready salted are going to go stale and end up in the food waste bin. 

One issue that most people find with food waste, especially when cooking for others, is leftovers. Especially for people who always leave some food on their plate – sadly, there’s not much you can do about that. But we’ve noticed one trick. Plate up smaller portions. That way, people can always grab some more if they want, but they avoid leaving food waste on the plate that you can’t freeze for a later date. 

This brings us nicely into our final tip for minimising food waste in your home. Harness the power of the freezer. Do the sausages go out of date tomorrow? Freeze them, make a casserole later, and freeze anything leftover. Our biggest gripe here at Greenredeem is seeing food waste in the bin that could have easily been frozen but instead was left to rot. That’s why our freezer is our biggest weapon for fighting food waste, just make sure you don’t forget what you’ve frozen. 

Tips and recipes for upcycling food waste 

There will be some food items that you look at and simply don’t know what to do with. Things like potato peelings, apple cores, carrot peelings and leaves. But there are ways to upcycle these food items so that they can be eaten rather than wasted. 

You can find some of our recipes here, but we want to highlight our pumpkin food upcycling recipes this week – especially with Halloween around the corner! 

Pumpkin soup 

This is a great one for using those innards after a fun afternoon of pumpkin carving. Simmer a couple of chopped onions in a pan with some olive oil, when they soften add your pumpkin chunks. When everything starts to soften and the pumpkin is golden, add in vegetable stock and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then when everything is soft, simmer for a few more minutes before adding double cream. Mix it all together then give it a final blitz before serving up on a cold wintery day. 

Pumpkin seeds 

Yep! You can even upcycle the pumpkin seeds. Instead of buying a pack from the supermarket. Roast yours in an oven for a few minutes to dry them out, then throw them in a mixture of flavourful spices (our favourite is curry powder and salt), toss them in some coconut oil and then bake for another 10-15 minutes. The perfect snack or you can top your winter salads with them! 

Pumpkin Hummus 

This one is a personal favourite of ours, we’ve been using this recipe for years. Simply because we love how it can be paired with other upcycled food items such as cauliflower and broccoli stalks. There’s nothing better than a hummus dip and this one is perfect for winter. 

Roast your pumpkin guts for 45 minutes in a tray with a coat of olive oil and garlic. Then tip the mixture into a food processor, with a squeeze of lemon juice, hint of tahini paste, and chickpeas. Blend until smooth and then add a little salt if needed. Usually, we use a 400g tin of chickpeas, which means roughly 500g of pumpkin. Enjoy! 

Apps for food waste outside your home 

Of course, many Greenredeem members will be doing what they can to reduce their food waste at home already. We know our member base is filled with people actively tackling climate change. So, perhaps the time has come to look outside your home and see where else you can help. 

We’ve noticed many apps for food waste popping up, some gaining big audiences. Too Good To Go and Olio are two of the most popular and seem to have a lot to offer no matter where you live. These apps for food waste are in connection with local cafes, shops, and pubs in a bid to reduce food waste. When an item is coming to the end of its shelf life, it is sold at a heavily reduced price or even given away for free.  

People are saving hundreds on their food shops by using apps for food waste. You save money and reduce food waste – do you need any more convincing? Just search nearby businesses in your area, reserve your bag on the app, and collect it when you’re ready. 

Discarding your food waste safely 

After you’ve exhausted all these ways to reduce your food waste, you’ll be left with only a few items to discard. Typically, tea bags or loose leaf tea. The first option to take might be to pop your food waste in a recycling caddy but have you thought about creating a home compost? 

You can create a compost pile in the smallest of areas (even indoors), or if you have a big garden why not invest in a composting tumbler. Not all composting piles need to be smelly, and some require very little effort. It all depends on what type of compost heap works for you. 

Remember: If you don’t have a garden, you can sell any compost you make in the local area. How about that, making money from your food waste with minimal effort to compost it? Now we’re cooking! 

Ultimately, if composting isn’t for you, there’s nothing wrong with using your food waste caddy if you have a food waste recycling collection. Most of the time your food waste will be used for anaerobic digestion and the methane produced will be used to help heat homes in the local area.

Phew! That was a lot to get through! But now you’re one of the most equipped people in our nation to tackle food waste. Whether it’s inside or outside of your home, any of the steps you take will make a big difference. With food waste creating 8-10% of global emissions, every action is essential. What will you do first? Be sure to share any other food upcycling recipes or tips and tricks in the comments below to help others reduce their food waste.

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