Friday, 27 June 2008

Eco tips for summer kitchen

Most folk are unaware that this week has been Food Waste Awareness Week. Britain’s throw-away food habit produces £10 billion of food waste each year or enough grub at dinnertime to feed 19 million people.

A key reason for the waste is a lack of leftover know-how. Inspired exotic buys such as Thai spices, pak choi and mangoes often end up in the bin rather than on the dinner table and too many home cooks are slaves to sell-by-dates.

In her new book, How Green are my Wellies? (Eden Project, £14.99), The Times’ Eco Worrier Anna Shepard shares a few tips for frugal but delicious seasonal fare.

Save the woody bottom bits of asparagus stalks to drop into a stock for summer soups thickened with leftover mashed potato; whiz tough broad beans in a blender with garlic and a splash of olive oil to make a dip, or boil them and mash with rosemary, garlic and oil. Blend prolific garden rocket with pine nuts, parmesan and oil to make pesto sauce.

Remember that fresh fish fillets hold up well for three days in the fridge, and use spices and handfuls of herbs to pep up surplus ingredients. Finally, make jams and pickles from summer’s abundance of vegetables and berries and freeze any excess for later in the year.

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