Use it or lose it… food waste

So one of the areas we are working on is food waste.  I’d like to think we are pretty good about this and yet it often seems that a bit of hummus or a bowl of leftovers ends up going to waste.   I hate the idea of throwing away food especially since out of the 15 million tonnes of food the UK throws away annually – half is from households!  But on a personal level, throwing away food is  throwing away money and I can’t be doing that.

Statistics are from the excellent “love food, hate waste” website which is a goldmine of useful information and recipes.

Now we are growing more of our own food (especially the meat!) waste seems more and more unpalatable.  This food represents something more valuable than money, it represents our time and in the case of our animals it represents their lives.  These are big incentives for me and I’m proud to say that in the case of our pigs we have been careful to really stretch the meat and use every bite.

It is shop bought food that suffers worse though.  My main offenders are bags of herbs (some it always goes off before it is used), celery (why does every recipe call for one or two sticks only!!!) and bowls of leftover meals – good intentions literally gone bad.

So one of my goals in the coming months is to get our food waste down to nothing (or as close to nothing as we can get it).

To this end I’m sharing today’s Use It or Lose It Recipe.

Milk – it is feast or famine with milk in this house.  We either have loads about to go off or I’m popping over the road for a cheeky pint from the expensive mini-Tescos.  Eventually our milk consumption will level out (I hope!) or we’ll work out how to order just the right about.

I had about 300ml left of some full fat milk which was two days out of date today (but NOT off.  When I have too much milk I usually make one of two things Pancakes and Yorkshire Pudding.  This is probably a cheat since in a way a Yorkshire Pud is like roasted pancake.

Today I made Orange and Vanilla Pancakes for breakfast.


Tasty breakfast ready to go.
Tasty breakfast ready to go.

Makes 3 pancakes the size of dinner plates – enough to feed 2 adults and 2 children.


2 medium eggs whisked together

1 mug milk

1 mug flour (plain or self-raising whatever you have)

zest of one orange

1 tsp of vanilla extract/essence

butter for frying

Whisk together the milk, flour and eggs until you have a smooth batter then rest for at least 30 mins and add the vanilla and zest.  The resting time allows the flour to absorb the liquid and apparently makes it nicer. Either way I’ve always done it and feel superstitious about the resting time.

Breakfast parts about to be assembled.
Breakfast parts about to be assembled.

Melt some of the butter in a large frying pan until hot.  Then add enough of the batter to cover the base of the large frying pan (about 3 ladles for me). You should get 3 giant pancakes using this method.

We ate ours with the rest of the orange cut into slices and some strawberries that were about to go off.

Making a giant pancake cuts down on cooking time and I hate standing around making pancakes for ages whilst they get cold and soggy or whilst other people are eating them and I’m cooking.  Make 3 really big ones then cut into slices as you need to like a pizza.  Less cooking time, less gas/electric used, less stress.




8 thoughts on “Use it or lose it… food waste

  1. Dawn McHugh

    It was the wasting of food those odds and ends that got me interested in dehydrating, celery was one of the firsts I did, now when a recipe calls for a couple of celery stalks I get some out of the jar, herbs I dehyrate when they are in season and all those left overs get dehydrated as well, even surplus eggs that I can then use in winter when they go off lay, orange peel and lemon peel get dehydrated as well and blitzed in the food processes to powder they are used as zest when a recipe calls for it. we no longer have that food waste situation.

    1. Becky A Post author

      I’ve thought about getting dehydrators before – but I think I’m a way off that yet because they seem to cost so much. Well the good ones do, and I think I’d get more out of the really good ones. Great idea about dehydrating celery though to make one lots last for ages. I’m really interested in dehydrating eggs though – how does that work!

      I reckon I could freeze lemon and orange peel as well. That would be great.

      I’m so pleased you’ve cracked the food waste issue, that gives me hope.

      1. Dawn McHugh

        For the eggs I whisk them up, then pour them onto the silicon liners that are also used with the dehydrator, greaseproof paper can be used as an alternative, once it has dried out completely I pop it into the proccesor and turn it into powder and use as podered egg, ideal for scrambeled omlettes pancakes and baking, I weigh the wet liquid first then weigh the dry mix divide it by the amount of eggs so i know how much water I need to add to it, sometimes I will do half water half milk to rehydrate.


    Celery is one of the few veg I buy in winter,it’s a staple part of my salad lunch from about November to May when we haven’t got much fresh available. it lasts for ages in the fridge and then I make celery soup with the outside bits. Most herbs are easy to grow and to dry or freeze in ice cubes, so fresh herbs are something never bought here.

    1. Becky A Post author

      Any chance I could have your recipes for celery soup – I have a bunch in the fridge right now, standing on the cusp!

      On the herbs I think we could be entirely free from buying through if I could only crack coriander, basil and parsley. We grow everything else but these three and they are the three we use the most. I think it is because I find these three really hard to grow. Basil and me have always struggled and this year cats dug up all my parsely. I think I just need to crack these and then the herbs problem is sorted.

  3. Attila

    Celery keeps for about 6 weeks in the fridge if you take it out of plstic and wrap it completely in foil. Or you could fry it with onion and carrot, then freeze it as a base for curry, bolognaise, chilli, stews etc.

    1. Becky A Post author

      Thanks for commenting Attila, that is a great idea. At least 6 weeks will give me enough time to think up other ways of using it. Maybe a Waldorf Salad – I haven’t had one of those in ages I used to love them.


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