Top apps and websites to help you reduce waste and grab a bargain or freebie (UK): PART 1: Food Waste

variety of fruits
Photo by Oleg Magni on Pexels.com

Welcome to part one in a series of posts linking useful apps and websites to help you reduce waste and save money.    This first post focusses on food waste.

According to the WRAP campaign Love Food Hate Waste , food wasted in the UK is equivalent to throwing 1 in 5 bags of shopping away!  As well as meal planning to help you only buy what you need, there is a range of apps and websites to help you find ways to use up leftovers, pass on unwanted food to someone else to use, or to get hold of food that might otherwise go to waste.  These are just some of them – please let me know in the comments if you have used these or any others.  And if you find the list useful, please share – you can find sharing buttons at the end of the post.

Food waste:

1) Use it up:

Not sure what to do with those leftover potatoes, or that half an aubergine hiding at the back of the fridge?  The internet is your friend, with plenty of places to find inspiration.

Many local authorities have website campaigns dedicated to reducing food waste.  Here in West Sussex you can find tips as part of the #fightagainstfoodwaste campaign, while Norfolk has Plan Eat Save.  Look out for one in your area.

Fight Against Food Waste

Plan Eat Save

Supermarkets also offer recipe ideas such as Tesco Real Food

And I have already mentioned Love Food Hate Waste which has loads of useful advice.

Plus there are websites and apps to help you search by ingredient such as   BBC FoodBBC Good Food which I use a lot, or Supercook

2) Give it away or get it for free ( or cheap):

Olio

Use Olio to give away surplus food to your neighbours or find unwanted food for free.  This app operates across the UK  and is simple to use,  although it depends on having other active users nearby – that will only improve as more people get to know about it.  I’ve used it a few times over the last year, both to giveaway and to claim food.  And it’s all for free.  Whilst the app started out just for food, you can now use it to offer other items for free too.

Karma

Karma is an app for finding spare food from businesses at the end of the day – you reserve it on the app and go along to pick it up.  You usually pay half the usual price for the food.  Primairly operating in London at present.

Too Good to Go

Too Good to Go is another place to find food that restaurants, cafes, bakeries etc might throw away at the end of the day.  Operating in a variety of big towns and cities across the UK.

The Community Fridge Network

Take a look at the Community Fridge Network website to find a community fridge near you (tip : scroll down the page) or to learn how to set one up. You can also search using #communityfridge.   This works in a fairly similar way to Olio in that you offer or collect unwanted food – but this time you drop it off at a defined location for others to help themselves.  Retailers also donate surplus food to the project. Contact the local organiser for more info on how your local one operates.

3) Other food waste initiatives

Fareshare and Foodcloud     both connect supermarkets that have surplus food to charities that can use the food where it is most needed.

The Real Junk Food Project distributes food in a variety of ways – through food boxes, cafes, schools, community groups and more.  Operating in various locations, and indeed across the world.

As well as these there are likely to be a range of other local initiatives going on in your area once you start looking for them.  I’d love to hear about any you have used/ any others you know about.

I’m sharing this post as part of the Going Green Linky  .  Do visit the linky to have a look at other green posts.

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Looking for new ways to eat your Halloween pumpkin? Try these recipes for Pumpkin Pizza Dough and Pumpkin Pasta.

Those of you who follow me on Instagram will know that we managed to grown a few humungous green squash of some uncertain variety in our back garden this year.   The last one harvested this week weighed in at over 5 kg!

I was expecting them to be a green variety of butternut but they turned out to be much less flavoursome than the nutty butternuts so I have had to be inventive and a bit sneaky to get the family to eat them, especially my generally vegetable averse son who wouldn’t go near anything if he thought it contained squash.

So, I have been experimenting – these are a couple of recipes I will be making again – especially since hubby and son are off to buy a pumpkin to carve today so there will be even more to use.

Easy Pumpkin Pizza Dough

Home made pizza is a firm favourite in our house.  We like that the toppings can be tailored to each family member to avoid waste.

I searched for pumpkin pizza dough recipes and came up with several paleo or gluten free versions but I wanted to make it as close as possible to our usual pizza base so no-one would know the difference, and to keep it as simple as possible, because who has time for recipes involving about 20 ingredients? So I experimented with a basic pizza dough recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 375g bread flour (or 00 pasta flour)
  • 1tsp quick yeast or easy bake yeast
  • 1tsp sugar
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • Approx 400g pumpkin or other winter squash  (enough to make approx 250ml puree)

Method:

  • Start by preparing your pumpkin or squash puree – peel and dice then cook the squash until just tender.  I steamed mine as I wanted to keep the flavour fairly bland so it wouldn’t be detected in the finished product but you could roast for a fuller flavour. Steaming the squash took about 10-15 mins.  Roasting may take a little longer.
  • Mash or blend the cooked squash and allow to cool.
  • Put the remaining ingredients into a bowl and make a well in the centre.
  • Measure out 250 ml of cooled puree – don’t worry if you have less than this as you can add water to the dough if necessary.
  • Start by adding about 200 ml of the puree to the dry ingredients and mix well to form a dough  – if the dough is still dry add more puree a little at a time.  If it is too wet you can add a little more flour.   Once it feels about right knead the dough on a well floured surface for about 5 mins until smooth and elastic.

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  • Leave the dough in a warm place for at least 30 mins to rise – it should roughly double in size.  You can leave it in the bowl covered with a damp tea towel, or simply leave it on the counter covered by your upturned mixing bowl.
  • Preheat your oven and oiled pizza trays to 200 degrees C.
  • Cut the dough into  portions and roll  to desired size  and thickness on a well floured surface.    This quantity will make 2  x 30cm round pizzas or more smaller, thinner pizzas.  We usually make quite a thin crust so I split the dough in half – put half the dough in the freezer and then made pizzas for 3 of us with the remaining half.
  • Bake the rolled dough on the hot tray for about 5 mins before removing from the oven, turning the base over and then adding your desired toppings.  This will help the base go crispy.  Return to the oven for approx 10 mins for a thin base, longer for a thicker base.

 

UPDATE – THERE IS AN EVEN EASIER WAY:  This came out so well I was confident enough to experiment with using pumpkin puree in my bread machine.  If you have a bread machine with a pizza dough programme you can use that and simply replace the water with an equal volume of pumpkin or squash puree.  I also tried the same with a regular white bread programme to make bread with hidden veg content.  No-one noticed the difference!

Easy Pumpkin Pasta

I made this with butternut squash a few weeks ago.  The method is pretty much the same as for wholemeal dried pasta but I used white flour and substituted the squash puree for the water. Pasta has to be my son’s favourite meal so if I can crack finding a homemade version he really likes it will be great.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups plain flour or pasta flour
  • 1 cup pumpkin or squash puree

Method:

Peel, dice and cook your butternut squash or pumpkin until tender by either boiling, steaming or roasting.   I started mine off on the hob and left it cooking in my Wonderbag while I was out at a class.  Perfectly cooked by the time I came home.

 

Mash or blend the squash to a smooth puree:

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Mix the dough either by hand or in a food processor – with the ratio of 1 cup puree to 2 of flour until you have a nice dough.  I didn’t measure it carefully and used too much puree so the dough on the right is rather too wet.  This is easily rectified by adding more flour until the consistency is right. (At this point I found I had run out of flour so had to dash to the shop for some more ).

Roll the dough into a ball, cover (with an upturned mixing bowl )  and leave to rest for about 10 mins.

Then, on a well floured surface, roll the dough out to be nice and thin – thinner than I managed would be good – I definitely need more practice, or a pasta machine.

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Leave them as noodles or form into your desired shape.   Either cook in boiling water for a couple of minutes or dry for future use.  When dry they will need to be cooked for 8-10 minutes.

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Happy to report that both the pizza and pasta were happily eaten with son none the wiser that he had been eating more vegetables.

As well as these I made spicy soup, cheesey pumpkin scones and pumpkin muffins, pumpkin marmalade which if it passes the taste test will be given as Christmas gifts, and have lots of diced and pureed squash in the freezer for future use so would love to hear more ideas for using up that pumpkin and squash. What’s your favourite recipe?

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