There's an excellent article in the Observer today by Alex Renton, highlighting how much food we still waste. He highlights salad vegetables as a particular culprit: Britain imports twice as much salad as it actually eats. The rest gets thrown away.
Supermarkets are to blame, we're to blame but it's not easy. The media is full of mixed messages. Eat more fruit and veg scream the health campaigners, get two for the price of one say the supermarkets. We want to be healthy and to save money so we do then we find we can't use it up in time (and the health police are on our backs if we go over the use-by date)
I waste a great deal less food than I used to but I still throw food away. The odd blackened banana I meant to make into a smoothie or a batch of muffins. Some forgotten cheese that has found its way to the back of the fridge. Some leftover vegetables or gravy I couldn't bring myself to throw away at the time and which 3 days on are beginning to look a bit dubious. Salad - oh yes, salad and herbs that have deteriorated to a soggy mush and are unrescuable. Nothing to be proud of at all.
While we can afford to replace the food we so wantonly waste there's no real incentive to be more careful but as anyone who is on a really tight budget will know throwing away food is simply throwing away money. A freezer certainly helps but more than anything I think it's a question of organisation and time management. Keeping the fridge and cupboards tidy so you actually know what you have. Setting aside a few minutes every day to plan what to do with anything that's in its last throes - and turning it into something tasty. Neither tidiness or time management are my strongest suit but I'm going to redouble my efforts.
What about you? Do you find you waste much these days? Have you managed to cut back on the amount you throw away? What are the things you tend to chuck most often - is it salad? Do post your thoughts and your tips.
PS on a lighter note the beginning of the article reveals that Michel Roux uses thickly cut potato peelings to make chips for his staff. Good tip - I definitely like the sound of that . . .