Kitchen Basics: Thrifty Tips for Preventing Waste
Lots of people throw the crusts of bread away. Blitz your crusts in a food processor to make breadcrumbs, and pop them in a bag in the freezer until you need them. As an alternative, consider making a bread (or bread and butter) pudding with your loafish left overs.
Keep the wrapper that your butter came in, and use it to grease baking tins. Consider using excess butter to make garlic butter, or sandwich spread (as described below).
Any pieces of of leftover chicken or beef can be liquidised in a blender with butter, salt, pepper and celery to make a sandwich spread. This isn’t a healthy option, but it can be a tasty occasional treat for a picnic, or for lunch with salad and cream crackers. If you don’t want to use butter, cream cheese (or even cottage cheese) makes a suitable alternative.
Any spare ham can be used to make a delicious bowl of pea and ham soup, or finely sliced with onions and cheese as a filling for a jacket potato. For a substantial start to the day, ham can be added to an omelette – or even fried like bacon with eggs or beans.
Extra roast potatoes can be coarsely mashed with a little onion, salt, and pepper. Form them into patties and fry in butter to make potato cakes. Alternatively, use them to make a cheese, onion and potato pie.
Even potato peelings can be used to make a tasty snack. If you wash your potatoes thoroughly before you peel them, you can fry the peel in hot oil to make rustic potato chips (crisps, to the rest of us!).
If you find a green potato while you are preparing a meal, put it in a cup of water to keep it fresh, and use it to clean tarnished silverware. Rubbing silver with the cut surface of the potato should remove any stains from the metal. Similar benefits can be obtained by putting silverware into cold potato water for a couple of hours.
Chop salad will start to wither quite quickly, but that doesn’t make it inedible. Use the salad to top a pizza, or blitz it into a paste with a cream cheese to make a vegetable Pâté.
Fat & Oil
Cooking fat from beef, pork, goose, and duck can be used to add flavour to roasted potatoes and other root vegetables. Store it in a jar in the fridge and use it to baste roasting veg. Any waste fat can be mixed with oats, nuts, bread, and seeds to feed the local bird population.
Cooking oil can be filtered and reused to make soap or bio-diesel. Make and Craft magazine are excellent sources of information for this sort of project – step over to their site if you are interested.
If you have a little pastry left over from making a pie, why not use it up instead of throwing it away or freezing it? For ordinary pastry, consider making jam tarts. For puff pastry, mini sausage rolls or vegetable pockets are always a favourite.
If you keep chickens (or just get stuck with a lot of eggs!) you should consider pickling your eggs to preserve them. Preservation using Water Glass is an often overlooked alternative to pickling. Water Glass (sometimes called liquid glass or sodium silicate) can be used to immerse fresh eggs, preserving them for several months. The Water Glass provides an air tight barrier that prevents bacterial growth. It is worth mentioning that Water Glass will effectively seal up the shell of an egg, so you must remember to prick your eggs before you boil them to avoid unexpected explosions.
I think that is probably enough to be going on with for now. I will be producing a sequel to this article in a couple of weeks, so remember to pop back for another look!