Love food, hate waste? Using up those leftovers

Hope everyone had a good Christmas. One of my new year resolutions last year was to reduce the amount of food waste in our kitchen. We’ve done pretty well (most of the time) but we can always do even better so it will be back on the list for 2020 too!

Did you know that in East Sussex, 35% of the food we buy is wasted and makes up about a fifth of the average dustbin? There are some good tips here from ESCC about how to avoid wasting food.

Christmas is a particularly difficult time. It’s traditional to have an excess of food and drink and treat your family when you are all home. When you are expecting visitors it’s natural to want to have food in to share with them, and it’s tempting to overstock food in a panic when the shops are going to be closed!

It’s a good idea to use your freezer if you have one, to store leftover food. We have been using up our turkey sandwiches and excess party food in January!

Make sure your fridge is at the right temperature, and only throw food away if obviously spoiled or past a “Use by” date . “Best Before” dates are for guidance only and food is likely to still be ok to eat.

Basics like bread can also be frozen to be used when needed, or can be grated into breadcrumbs for adding to meals. Vegetables can also be cooked and frozen (perhaps in curry or cheese sauce for an easy supper when back at work)

There are lots of mouthwatering recipes on the LoveFoodHateWaste website, do check it out if you are lacking inspiration for cooking your leftovers.

Food Banks

If you are planning a diet for the new year, then maybe unopened snacks and festive foods could be donated to your local foodbank along with any tinned supplies you stocked up with just in case.

There has been a huge increase in demand to food banks in the last few years. The Trussel Trust have seen a 23% increase in the number of food parcels provided in 2019 compared to 2018.

Local food banks such as Seahaven Storehouse have many families in need of basic support, and grateful for a few treats over Christmas. They had many generous donations before Christmas, such as these collected by customers of local estate agent Roland Gorringe, but there will no doubt be many more families in January in need, as the Christmas bills start to come in, so donations are always welcome.

There are also foodbanks in Landport and  Newhaven and Peacehaven. Most supermarkets have collection boxes for your local foodbanks, that you can leave non perishable foods in.

Local partnerships

There are lots of initiatives locally to reduce food waste and redistribute excess food – read more in our article about Brighton and Hove food partnership

Gleaning Network

Preventing food waste on a larger scale, are the Gleaning Network. They help fill the gap, where farmers and other landowners have crops ready to pick that cannot be economically harvested and sold.

The network have hundreds of “Gleaning” days across England engaging 2000 volunteers and rescuing a whopping 520 tonnes of fresh fruit and veg that would otherwise been wasted . A lot of the events have been outside our local area but now the network are excited to launch their new Gleaning toolkit which can be used for more local gleaning!

This toolkit was developed with local community groups so that individuals and groups can set up their own Gleaning activity. Feedback will still continue to run the network, supporting Gleaning groups and providing advice and knowledge, but will no longer be the hub in which volunteers access opportunities to attend Gleaning days.

Sussex and Kent hubs will continue to run Gleaning days (but will no longer be the only gleaners in the region!)

Perhaps this year we will have our own Greenhavens gleaning group, do let us know if this is something you are getting involved in locally. Or if you have any ideas on how to reduce food waste, do let us know!