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Posts Tagged ‘food waste’

Do you ever buy delicious edibles in jars or tubs?  If so, you’ve no doubt acquired more than a few items preserved in olive oil.  Now this idea is so obvious perhaps I’m just a slow learner, but until recently, once the olives, or sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes or anchovies were gone I used to throw away the oil left behind.

And then it dawned on me: that way flies food waste and for a frugal hedonist that way lies madness too.

Food manufacturers go to some lengths to keep us buying the fancy “deli” stuff aimed at our sophisticated palates.  This usually means adding herbs and/or garlic to enhance the flavour of the main attraction, so while blithely using the contents of the jar, might it not be a really good idea to also make use of the olive oil it’s been swimming in to augment and deepen the flavours of your dish – or even the whole meal?
sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil

So if you’re cooking up beef daube with olives, brown the beef in oil from the olive jar (try anchovy for an authentic southern Rhône flavour) – or start your sofrito sizzling with sun-dried tomato oil for an Italian ragù.  Try frying the aubergines in artichoke oil next time you make caponata.  Kick off a pilaf with the same; add a few drops to plain couscous, a tablespoon or two to pizza dough…

rosemary branch in olive oilI have even been known to strain the oil into a decanter and poke in a couple of rosemary sprigs – hey presto, rosemary oil for focaccia!

Use in almost any recipe instead of your usual olive oil.  If you devote half a shelf in the fridge door to these almost empty jars and use them up quickly, not only is the extra depth of flavour well worth it, you’ll be able to save up your pennies for some really special olive oil.

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precious jewels of colour, fragrance and flavour

It’s so good to see sensible food philosophy gaining credibility; witness the publicity given to the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) “The Food We Waste” report published today. I overheard an interview on Radio 4’s Today programme this morning and I see The Independent online has covered it, so let’s hope a few more people are persuaded to boycott the BOGOF, for a start.

The siren song of buy-one-get-one-free is so seductive you need nerves of steel to resist it, but unless set to buy that many anyway, I have learnt to avoid those deals like the plague and only buy a lot of stuff when the unit price is low.  That way it’s me, not the supermarket, who decides how much I buy, lug home, store, consume – and DON’T throw away!  BOGOFs are rarely the bargain they seem.

So, marketing managers, how about appealing to a higher sensibility than greed?

 

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