On 4th March, the important Food Waste Bill will be read for the second time by MP Kerry McCarthy, and in celebration of the re-reading and to remind you all that it is happening very soon, in the midst of the US Presidential Primaries, the tragic way the Jungle is being dismantled and beyond; here are a few ideas, below, of how to make the most of the food you buy and eat!
There are recipes for 4 delish seasonal veggies that you may struggle to know what to do with, plus storage and preserve-making tips!
Perhaps some of these tips will help reduce the amount of food that doesn’t quite make it into your stomach, even if only through the especially delicious recipes featured, that hail from some of our friends and those we admire!
Before you read on to indulge your stomach in the last stages of winter, please do write to your MP to make sure they attend the Food Waste Bill reading, if you haven’t already, and remind them again if you haven’t done so for a while.
Find out who your MP is here: www.ukpolitical.info/Finder.htm
What is the Food Waste Bill? Find out more information about the Food Waste Bill here!
In just two minutes: send this letter to your MP via www.writetothem.com.
In just one extra minute (go on!): to further show your support, sign the STOP THE ROT petition here: www.change.org/p/stop-the-rot-end-supply-chain-food-waste.
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Seasonal veggies in the depths of winter look a little grimmer than you might like; where the bright reds of the summery tomatoes and their fellow friends the peppers are replaced with ever-reliable greens and those good ol’ rudimentary root veg, stalks and growths flailing in all directions, muted colours, warted skin and all… but they come from warm, cosy dark abodes under layers and layers of mother earth, providing them with so much depth of flavour… and they are here and ready to be cooked up and warm you up from inside out long after those flighty summer vegetables gave up on us at the first sign of an earlier dusk.
Give root vegetables a chance! Shop seasonal this week; love your leeks, show compassion to celeriac and be generous to those Jerusalem artichokes – and you might just make a few new culinary buds.
Eat local & seasonal, from your local farmer if you can, for produce that should last for longer and be relatively cheap even if organic! Field to fork will be a much shorter distance, and so this food should last longer too. Here’s a seasonal veg calendar for some ideas of some of what is readily available:-
Mid-February/Early March: in Oxford you can buy:- Garlic, Potatoes, Greens from Kale to Spinach to Rocket, Cabbages, Leeks & other Root Veg, Forced Rhubarb
Can’t find affordable organic veg? We are getting close to the Hunger Gap where local fresh produce becomes harder to come by, and that might be why…
…In this case, try buy seasonal produce from where you can afford it, shop local if you can rather than big chains, and, look out for wild nettles, a great spinach substitute both nutritionally and flavour-wise that nature makes available for free! Just take some gloves and some scissors out with you, cut off the top few leaves only, and don’t forget to give them a good wash!
Fancy something different? Here are 4 lesser known wintry veg to get your teeth stuck into…
Jerusalem Artichokes: Jerusalem artichokes: these knobbly creatures poke out from underground, resembling anything from moles to mice to manatees; they can be cooked in all the ways you might cook potatoes. With a good pinch of indian spices, especially turmeric, fennel seeds and ginger, you don’t have to deal with the murmuring complaints of stomachs that may otherwise come from a Jerusalem artichoke feast.
Store: Cool,dry place, or keep them in the veg drawer of your fridge, wrapped in a paper towel to absorb extra moisture. They should keep for 2 weeks like this. Just before use: scrub with a washing up brush/veg brush & your favourite dance music (they may need a good ol’ scrubbing)
What to do with it: http://www.tomsfeast.com/2011/11/roasted-jerusalem-artichokes-with-parsnips-desiree-potatoes-and-rosemary/
How to preserve any excess: http://agardenerstable.com/2014/02/24/taking-the-wind-out-of-jerusalem-artichokes/
Purple Sprouting Broccoli: When winter seems only to hold white and green and the occasional orange of squash or more common varieties of carrots- purple sprouting broccoli provides a splash of different colour to your plate.
Store: In the fridge, will keep for a few days.
What to do with it:- https://theflexitarian.co.uk/2015/03/10-delicious-recipes-purple-sprouting-broccoli/ How to preserve any excess: If you need to freeze, blanch first, i.e. boil or steam for a few mins. Treat P.S.B as broccoli & check out this guide for more tips on how long to blanch veg for prior to freezing. http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/freeze/blanching.html
The wartiest of them all, but such a winter warmer, and yet delicious raw finely cut too!
Store: In a fridge in a plastic bag (unsealed)
What to do with it?: Celeriac can make a veg-filled fried treat or a no-fuss veggie Sunday Roast heaven amongst other delicious dishes!
– local recipe:- sourced by our friends at Cultivate Oxford, dreamt up by the wonderful local chef Jack Greenall from Smoke and Thyme http://cultivateoxford.org/2016/crispy-leek-and-celeriac-fritters –
– don’t have a grate amount of time? Someone lost the sharp knife that could get through those dense root veg? You need THIS recipe for a dream, no fuss celeriac roast http://www.riverford.co.uk/recipes/view/recipe/whole-roasted-celeriac No Chopping Needed!
How to preserve any excess:
-24 hour Celeriac Pickle: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/dec/31/ceviche-celeriac-and-beetroot-pickle-recipe-kylee-newton-cook-residency
Lastly, looking for a local, seasonal fruit for a dessert? Of course citrus are in season in the Med, but no need to look any further than our very own England for that vegetable/fruit/vegetable cross-over*, the rare and remarkable:-
Forced Rhubarb: [*It’s technically a veg]
Store: Wrap it in plastic or keep it in the packaging it came in, and store in the fridge. Don’t wash it till you want to use it!
What to do with it?:
– Rhubarb bread pudding: nice way to use up bread too: use regular breadcrumbs if sourdough is a luxury you don’t often have, don’t have time to make, or which is gobbled up as soon as it does make an appearance!
– make Rhubarb Vodka! http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-rhubodka-rhubarb-vodka-121087
How to preserve any excess: Freeze then use straight from frozen. If you want it for baking cakes etc. then pre-chop into the size you’ll want, freeze initially on a baking tray then transfer to a bag once frozen; and use straight from frozen for gooey rhubarb pieces in your puds!
Give your winter cooking repertoire a spring-inspired shake-up, try out some of the recipes and let us know what you think!
And, most importantly for reducing food waste, don’t forget to tell your MP to go support the Food Waste Bill! And sign this petition –>
Gluts of Love,
Abundance Oxford & co.