The Waste Nothing challenge has had a major setback this week as the Loafer returned to University. What was simply a matter of smothering anything that needed finishing up in Reggae Reggae sauce and leaving it within arms’ reach of the sofa, has now become a full on planning and logistical trial.
Beginning with shopping at Sainsbury’s:
Clearly to give us the longest amount of time to eat everything, I need to get the longest sell-by dates. Although I often glance at these I have been amazed at the variation in dates on the same packages of food now I have started to look more closely. Nearly all the fruit and veg I bought was available in sell by dates which varied by several days within the same display, up to a week on some things like satsumas. The same with milk and bread (actually found out of date bread on the shelves). Yoghurts and cheese had even bigger variations. This may sound pernickety but I also picked up their free magazine on how to save money and make food go further. Which makes me wonder if the money wouldn’t be better spent on training their staff in better stock rotation.
The most bizarre find though was the sticker on their loose red peppers. Those long bendy ones which taste better and last longer, well so I thought. Trying to find a sell by date I noticed the sticker which said. ‘Eat within two to three days of purchase’. It’s a pepper! Why would you need to eat it within three days – and anyway, how do they know when you are going to purchase it? With their stock rotation system it could have been on the shelf for a week or a day.
I did find a most fantastic pear though! A box of them, all very lumpy and ugly, much more interesting than their very sensible neighbours.
So last night I made Pear Tatin with some left over puff pastry from a turkey pie I made earlier in the week (yes, it was Christmas turkey but panic not, it had been in the freezer!). This necessitated buying more Crème Fraiche though – as basically the pastry and the pear was just an excuse for me to eat spoonfuls of the stuff.
Talking of cream: On Sunday we finally finished off the Christmas double cream in some creamed spinach – a very impressive 20 days past it’s use by date and still perfectly good.
Talking of Christmas leftovers: The Ref and I decided not to buy any wine or beer in January, this was meant to make it a month of abstinence, but I decided in the spirit of the challenge that using up Christmas drinks does not count – and it is quite surprising how good homemade cherry brandy is after a dry week.
The other thing we have leftover from Christmas is a jar of candy canes. Not even the kids like these, don’t really know why I bought them except they look cute. So next year I won’t! For anyone with the same problem I found this.
Although I will probably just give them to the Ref to take to work and leave in the staff room – this is a place of last resort, similar to throwing the crusts to the chickens.
Talking of crusts:
At breakfast this morning I discovered why, despite begging, pleading and deep reasoning I still cannot get Little E to eat her crusts.
‘It’s because if you leave them Mum, you can spell LOL on your plate.’
Some battles are just lost.