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How a simple meal can save money and the environment

PUBLISHED: 00:01 29 August 2014

Cooking crusaders Celia Wood, Sanna Sy, Demi Lu and Rosemary Smart

Cooking crusaders Celia Wood, Sanna Sy, Demi Lu and Rosemary Smart

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There’s no time to waste when it comes to the environment

Special report by Celia Wood, Sanna Sy, Rosemary Smart and Demi Lu

We’re a group of sixth form students at The Mount School, York, raising awareness about food waste in the home. Our project is part of the PeaceJam Global Call to Action, an international movement of young people who work together to solve the most pressing issues of our time by undertaking One Billion Acts of World Peace.

Our school was the first in England to formally adopt the initiative and make it part of the Global Thinking curriculum for its sixth form college.

We wanted our act of peace to address the issue of environmental sustainability; specifically food waste in the home. Our research revealed that 50 per cent of the food we throw away could be eaten and that reducing food waste is the equivalent of taking one in four cars off the road.

The good news is that avoidable food waste has already been reduced by more than 20 per cent, but we think we can do better.

The foods we waste most are fresh vegetables, fruit, salad, drink and bakery items. When a piece of fruit or a vegetable is thrown away, it’s not only the food that’s wasted but also the energy and water it took to produce, package, process, store and transport it. This means that throwing away a mango wastes 320 litres of water and the same amount of energy as leaving a halogen light bulb on for five days.

As a small but significant first step, we’ve put together two easy recipes that use up the most commonly thrown-away foods.

Crunchy crumbed cauliflower

Melt 25g of margarine in a large frying pan. Add 55g of breadcrumbs and 25g of chopped, toasted hazelnuts and cook, stirring constantly, until the crumbs are golden and crunchy then turn out on to a plate.

Cut a medium cauliflower into small florets. Heat 2tbsp oil in a pan and fry the cauliflower for 5-8 minutes until beginning to brown, then stir in two crushed garlic cloves and 1 tsp of dried chilli flakes.

Put the cauliflower in a warmed serving dish and sprinkle with the crispy nuts and breadcrumbs.

Fruit and oat crumble

Mix 100g of crumbled bread (stale bread, buns or cake are all fine), 50g rolled oats) and 1 tbsp sunflower seeds (or sliced almonds) in a bowl.

Put peeled and chopped apple in an ovenproof dish with a few berries (400g of fruit in total) and 100ml of fruit juice. Sprinkle the crumble mixture on top and drizzle with 2tbsp runny honey.

Bake in a preheated oven 180ºC/Gas 6/ 350ºF for 15-20 minutes until golden brown and serve immediately with Greek yoghurt, custard or cream.

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For more recipes, visit lovefoodhatewaste.com – it could save you up to £60 a month in wasted food.

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