With a recycling rate of 48%, the Southern Waste Region – encompassing Carlow, Clare, Cork, Cork, Kerry, Kilkenny, Limerick, Tipperary, Waterford and Wexford – boasts a proud track-record but the amount of food waste generated in homes across the region remains high.
Next week (November 21-27) marks European Week for Waste Reduction (EWWR), a European-wide project aimed at promoting sustainable waste reduction actions in Member States. This year’s theme has as specific focus on some of the most commonly wasted foods, including cheaper products such as many of the Carbohydrates like bread, pasta and rice.
Pauline McDonogh, Regional Waste Prevention Co-ordinator, Southern Waste Region said: “Nobody wants to intentionally waste food, but we have all got into habits such as preparing too much, leaving leftovers in the fridge, and forgetting about foodstuffs in the bottom of the fridge and freezer. Bread is one of the more typical examples of foodstuffs that is wasted.”
“We are a nation of bread lovers with over 70% of us buying a sliced pan weekly as well as other items like wraps, baguettes and bread rolls. Items like bread have a very short shelf or cupboard life & according to research undertaken in 2014 by Bord Bia 86% rate freshness as the primary factor in purchasing bread – that’s probably why we waste so much of it.
“A third of all the food we purchase is thrown away. In many cases however, it just takes a few simple changes to preventing food waste,” added Ms. McDonogh.
Irish TV chef, food writer and author, Catherine Fulvio is one of those supporting the Southern Region Waste Management Office’s promotion as part of European Week for Waste Reduction (EWWR). The proprietor of Ballyknocken House & Cookery School has produced a number of tips for using up your “not so fresh” bread:
1) I process all stale or leftover bread into breadcrumbs, spoon them into a sealed bag and freeze – it’s the easiest and simplest trick of all!
2) French Toast, in fact it is recommended to use bread that is a few days old for best results. It’s original name “pain perdu” means lost bread! Whisk together egg and milk and sprinkle of sugar and cinnamon in a shallow bowl and dip the bread in to soak up the mixture before frying in pan with a little butter till golden on both sides. Serve with fruit for a perfect after-school snack or weekend brunch.
3) Summer Pudding – a traditional summer pudding can be made all year round. Just line your pudding bowl with stale bread fill with fruit cover the top with a last slice of bread and cling-film overnight in the fridge. Serve with crème fraiche. This could be a light alternative to Christmas pudding too!
4) Add breadcrumbs to meatballs and home-made burgers and for a softer lighter texture soak your breadcrumbs in milk first for the best results.
5) An all-time favourite growing up was Bread and Butter pudding another great way to use up stale bread. This is delicious at Christmas with Cranberries and mixed spice for a seasonal twist.
Further tips and recipes are available from www.southernwasteregion.ie.