In recent news we’ve heard the government’s plan to scrap ‘sell by’ dates in a bid to cut £12 billion worth of food being unnecessarily binned every year. According to Wrap (Waste & Resource Action Programme), 5.3 tonnes of edible food is annually being thrown away, costing the average family £680 a year. So what should we do with our glut of fruit and veg?
We all know September is a busy month for harvesting, so if you’ve had bumper crops this year and are at a loose end with what to do with it all, why not follow these useful tips?
1. Freeze - one of the simplest and easiest ways of managing a glut of fruit and veg is simply storing them in your freezer at home. Beans, peas, herbs, blackcurrants and blackberries all freeze well.
Tip: Group small quantities of each fruit and veg into separate freezer bags, so you only defrost what you need.
2. Create some ready-made home cooked meals - there are always days when you don’t feel like cooking, so making and freezing some ready-made home cooked meals can be a great idea. Use your soft veg. such as courgettes and tomatoes as ingredients for a chilli con carne, spaghetti bolognaise, soup and stew. Tomatoes can also be used to create pasta sauces and ratatouille.
Tip: We also found these delicious Top 8 Vegetable Glut Recipes, which we think you’ll love.
3. Make pickles, jams and chutneys - this is a great way of using excess fruit and herbs. Herb jellies are easy to make; simply use a jelly such as crabapple as a base and simply add herbs like rosemary. To create fruit jams follow this easy recipe.
4. Flavoured vinegars - again, this is a great way to use up excess fruit. All you need to do is empty a bottle of either white wine vinegar or cider vinegar into a bowl, add your fruit (e.g. raspberries or blackberries), leave to stand for five days and pour back into the bottle, straining the fruit.
5. Pickling - you can pickle almost anything, including vegetables and fruits. So why not get your creative juices flowing and experiment with different combinations of vinegars and spices?
If you don’t want to preserve your fruits and prefer to eat them later, you can store harder fruits like apples and pears. When storing apples and pears, simply place them on a tray and store them in a cool dark space.
• Never store bruised or blemished fruit.
• To keep fruit at its best, it is a good idea to wrap each fruit in tissue paper or newspaper and ensure that there is no contact between each fruit.
• The storage area should be well ventilated.
• Check regularly, removing bad apples as quickly as possible.
Tip: Softer fruits are best kept in the freezer.
Get the community involved with the joys of growing your own, and show them just how wonderful and tasty home-grown food can be by hosting a vegetable and fruit sale.