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Blended family

Clever ways to use what lurks in the fridge 

By Sarah Heeringa

Food waste is made up of all the bits of our food that we toss away. Some of it is what you might call ‘scraps’ – potato peelings, coffee grounds and the like. Put these in the compost rather than the rubbish bin, and your garden will thank you for it. The remainder is food that we mean to eat but somehow don’t. It’s the food that gets dished up at dinner-time but not eaten and the things that get left to molder away in the back of the fridge, quietly growing little furry hats.

New Zealanders dump around 3.2 million tonnes of waste into landfills each year, according to a Statistics New Zealand survey. This includes around 23 percent organic waste – and a big part of this is household food waste.

It all adds up to a scary amount of food getting binned, which considering how much time and effort we spend working, shopping and cooking in order to put meals on the table, seems more than slightly bonkers.

I’m not Scottish, but I could be considering my love of porridge and my aversion for wasting money – and food. And my blender is an awesome tool for helping me in my mission to use up as much of the food as comes into my kitchen. The Vitamix is easy to use; the jug is lightweight with an easy-grip handle, and a handy tamper lets you push food into the blades and stir the ingredients without having to turn it off.  Which is all the better for a speedy blend of any extra ingredients that might come to light lurking mid meal making. 

The other night we had ‘leftover lasagna’ made with a small amount of mince, and all manner of vegetables (and maybe even some leftover beans and chicken) blended together and added into the rich herby and tomatoey sauce. Not only was it a hearty meal for a chilly midweek winter night, it also cleared the fridge of leftovers that might otherwise have been forgotten.

Apple peelings that might make stewed fruit unpleasantly lumpy are whizzed up and added in. Likewise leftover veggies can, in a jiffy, be turned into liquid stock and used when making a big pot of risotto. Served with a handful of fresh garden rocket, plenty of parmesan and a glass of well deserved wine, risotto is simply the best comfort meal.

It’s equally comforting for lunch the next day.

-Sarah Heeringa  

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