Monday, 27 October 2008

Waste-watching with the WI

It's never occurred to me to join the WI (I'm not much of a joiner, to be honest) but they certainly seem to be putting the 'Jam and Jerusalem' image firmly behind them these days. First there was 'Calendar Girls', now it seems they're in the vanguard of efforts to cut down on the nation's food waste.

According to a report in the Independent on Sunday yesterday they've pioneered 10 'Love Food' local groups across the country, with the help of the Love Food, Hate Waste campaign and have been swopping tips and inspiring each other to help cut their food bills. One mother of four has cut her monthly bill by 50% from £800 to £400 (though £800 does seem a fair amount to be spending on food in the first place).

You can find accounts of how the groups were set up and some great recipe and storage tips on the WI website and a Love Food Champions Workbook here.

There's an interesting list too of the fruit and veg we waste most often which are, apparently, apples, potatoes, bananas, oranges and tomatoes. I'd agree about potatoes which very rapidly go green these days and bananas are hard to retrieve once they go really mushy but I don't tend to find the others too problematic. What about you?


EnglishRose said...

Really mushy leftover bananas can always be turned into banana bread - my grandmother's recipe notes say "the mushier, the better"!

Fiona Beckett said...

hmmmm - not sure about them being REALLY mushy, englishrose. Something happens to the taste once they get beyond a certain point and the banana bread tends to go rather dense and soggy. But I'm probably not as good a baker as your gran ;-)

Greenlady said...

Hmm. Maybe its because I'm an old fashioned girl but I have never seen the WI as either trendy or untrendy - they have always promoted good old thrifty home cooking, I think it's more a sign of the times that we have forgotten so many basics and need re educating. I used to use the MoneySavingExperts forums quite a lot, especially the food ones, it was so sad how so many people had never even roasted a chicken and were really scared of doing it.

800 quid does seem like a ludicrous amount of money to spend on a family of 5-6 for food alone so I am jolly glad that lady saw the light and cut down !

If I have any problems with the mentioned fruit/veg, it is inevitably because I have purchased them from a supermarket -for some reason their produce goes off with amazing rapidity once I get it home ( and yes I do store stuff correctly ! )

Fiona Beckett said...

I think it's because they chill them to death (the supermarkets, not the WI . . .) greenlady. So once they are stored in anything approaching normal temperatures they shrivel.

minimomes1 said...

Okay, I'm joining in a bit late. You can put extremely ripe bananas in freezer bags and bring them out when you want / need to make banana bread / muffins. They are rather messy to work with when thawed (the skins will have turned black in the freezer and they will be a bit slimy), but they taste great in the recipe.

This was passed on by my neighbour when we moved to Texas from Berkshire.

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