there is no such thing as throwaway
A couple of nights ago, I watched, for the second time (TV appears to be full of repeats these days) a program about our waste, about stuff that had been thrown away 50 years ago and how on digging it up they discovered that most of it was still perfectly intact. The stuff that had biodegrade slightly had caused methane gas and heavy metal leakage into the soil. It had been a hideaway for our waste. We don’t throw away the hideaway, there is NO throw away. 50 years from now our great-grandchildren will be having to deal with our throwaway society that we so readily embrace today.
As it is Friday, I headed down to my local mini supermarket, to cash in my coupons that they like to send me through my newly signed up to app that appear like magic on my now four-year-old smart phone. In the mini supermarket, and I’m guessing because covid, there were rather a lot of going-to-go-out-of-date items in the reduced section. Because there was rather a lot, many of the items were half price, heading for the rubbish bin, should no one buy them, by the close of today. My freezer is now laden with camembert, Brie and even a steak pie (for when I don’t feel like cooking). This doesn’t mean that I had given up worrying about what goes into my body but more taking a balanced view that I am only human and sometimes it is nice not to have to prepare meals. Sometimes it’s just nice to reach into the freezer, and when ‘these sometimes’ happen, it’s even nicer to know that I paid half price while saving the landfill space. I have learnt over the years that most things can freeze and if frozen on the day of purchase will be perfectly safe to eat in a few weeks or months time.
Yesterday’s vegetable pie was delicious, my pastry was just enough to make two pies. Though because I did not want to waste any trimmings the second one, the smaller one, did not look as pretty and that’s the one we ate. I brushed them with milk, not because I didn’t want to use egg but because I have found that milk can do a pretty good amazing glaze. Back in the 60s and 70s when I was growing up, and the dark days of the 70s with food shortages, a little milk instead of an egg to glaze was often used in our kitchen. The second pie, the neater larger one, was left to cool and then wrapped in a large freezer bag and placed in the freezer. I will reuse the freezer bag for other things at a later stage.
Something, that I have started in my plan to save the planet, is to start having milk delivered. This is to support local business and to make sure that we can have deliveries should we have further lockdowns. It has been on the whole a success. Here in County Durham there is more call for milk deliveries, we are lucky that there are three suppliers that would deliver to our house. One that isn’t local and is middle priced, one that is organic, is sort of local and beyond my budget and the third that is very local and is relatively cheap. My only issue I had was that I ordered eggs! Well it’s not the ordering of eggs, or the milkman, well it’s not an issue really. Because I use a lot of eggs in cooking, and because I eat eggs every day for breakfast I had asked him to deliver 30 free range eggs on a Friday. The first Friday he delivered me 30 free range eggs. The second Friday, last Friday he didn’t deliver me any eggs, though strangely the greengrocer did as part of my salad box that was also delivered last Friday. Six large brown free range eggs were delivered as part of my salad veg box (I guess the up or down side to ordering a box rather than items individually is you don’t get a choice). Before I knew that I was getting these six eggs from the greengrocer, I had already requested that the milkman deliver my 30 eggs on Monday, this week. What I didn’t realize was that instead changing the order to delivering my 30 eggs on a Monday, the milkman would deliver my original request of 30 eggs on a Friday. Currently I have in my house 52 eggs, this is after the two I had for breakfast.
So tonight we will have to have some sort of omelette, this delight awaits me.
One of the things I like to do when cooking, is to use a predominant colour. So today I thought we would stick to mainly red. The radishes which arrived in last Friday salad box were looking a little limp, a little tip.
I learnt as a child (in the dark days of the 1970s) was that salad items could be freshened up by being stuck in water for a couple of hours. So I’ve trimmed off the limp leaves and stuck them in a bowl of fresh water, this can be done to cucumbers, lettuces, cabbages and anything else that is leafy and alive and has gone limp. After all this is what you would do to a plant, or a bunch of flowers, providing the leaves are limp and not withered. If they are withered, then it may be that the molecular structure of the plant/vegetable/salad has broken down.
As you may guess, I’m not a huge worrier about the sell by dates. Plants don’t just say they are going off, I have worked in a few supermarkets in my life to know that most of the dates are there for them to make a profit. These sell by dates are there is a guide not as the law. Use by dates are different and they are to do with bacterial change in the product.
While I was at the mini supermarket today I also bought two large bunches of bananas. I’m not huge banana fan, but what makes me cross about the selling of bananas is that they are usually sold with a sell by date that is before they are properly ripe. Tons of food are thrown away just because of a little date and not because they are bad and rotten. These bananas I bought, and there were a lot reduced, will be turned into banana jam tomorrow. The lady at the till, asked me what were my plans for such a large amount of reduced bananas and was surprised to know that you could make banana jam. While this may surprise you too. I have made it many times when my children were small, it is very sweet and is rather delicious spread over deserts like ice cream or cheesecake.
The Apple Jelly is still on the go, as you will remember I began this week with making apple jelly, in my little blue bucket. I’m not making the jelly in the little blue bucket, the little blue bucket is used to collect windfalls, I’m making the jelly in small quantities. It takes a while for the cooked apple mixture to strain through a jelly cloth (a very clean, closely woven smooth tea towel or in my case a large old damask napkin). It is important not to hurry this as forcing the juice through the napkin can make the juice cloudy and you don’t have such a crystal clear jelly as you would like. Tomorrow will be jamming jelly day. I might even try my hand at pickling some eggs!!!