WASTE NOT WANT NOT

Waste not Want Not Summer Salads
50% of Lettuce we buy ends up in the bin! – FACT

With barbecues and salad days fast approaching Stop Food Waste reminds you that 50% of the lettuce we buy ends up in the bin. While a head of lettuce may seem cheap at around under €1 you can see how quickly this amount of waste can add up in euros over time. The STOP Food Waste programme is funded under the EPA National Waste Prevention Programme (NWPP). Waste Prevention is the preferred waste management option in Ireland.
Odile Le Bolloch, spokesperson for Stop Food Waste at the EPA, has the following advice for lettuce lovers in time for Midsummer’s Day: “When you buy lettuce, make sure to take it out of its bag and wash it as soon as possible. Spin the lettuce in a salad spinner to dry off the washing water and store it in the fridge in the salad spinner. Leave a small
amount of water in the bottom of the spinner and top up if needed. This keeps the lettuce fresh, it lasts longer and you have a supply of washed lettuce to use during the week.
“Another mistake people sometimes make is to cut the stalk off the lettuce with a metal knife. This can cause the lettuce to get those brown edges people hate so instead simply break off the leaves as you need them.”
Stop Food Waste also advise that growing your own lettuce and other greens not only gives you a greater appreciation for it, because you’ve grown and nurtured it yourself, but it also means that you take as much as you want as you need it. “You don’t need that much space to grow a few heads of lettuce, rocket or herbs - a well drained window box works great where space is limited,” says Odile. “Start the window box indoors and once the first few sprouts start to show you can put it outside on a sunny sill. Make sure you keep it watered – though in Irish summers this is usually not a problem!”

Up and coming home cook, tv presenter and Stop Food Waste supporter Donal Skehan says: “Some cynics say ‘salad never sells’ and for the most part the sight of dry leaves are not going to whet the appetite much, but with a few simple recipes for salad dressing you can have your leaves glistening under the summer sunshine and guaranteed not to end up in the bin! The ingredients are very simple; it’s how you combine them that creates the magic.”
“Salads for me really go with any meal and the idea of having a bowl on the table regardless of what you serve up really drives home an element of healthy eating.  One of the greatest kitchen skills I picked up was to wash and dry my own salad leaves.  It’s a process which is far cheaper that picking up prepacked salads which have been sitting in plastic bags.  Wash and dry your own salad leaves on a Monday and they will sit happily in the crisper drawer of your fridge for 3-5 days.  Break a selection of lettuce heads into leaves and submerge in a sink of cold water, slosh around for a few minutes until any dirt has sunk to the bottom and then use the essential piece of kitchen equipment you need for this, a salad spinner, to whizz away the water until the leaves are dry.  Wrap them in a kitchen towel, pop them in the fridge and you will have leaves, perfect for salads most of the week.  Don’t forget to save the water you washed the leaves in to water your plants!”
Salad Dressing Recipes from Donal Skehan

Asian Dressing:
Dresses a salad to serve 4–6 vegetarian
3 tbsp sunflower oil
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 thumb-sized piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 tsp honey
Juice of 1 lime

French Mustard Dressing
:
Dresses a salad to serve 4–6 vegetarian
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
A generous pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Herby Balsamic Dressing:
Dresses a salad to serve 4–6 vegetarian
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
Fresh rosemary, finely chopped
Fresh thyme, finely chopped
Fresh basil, finely chopped
1 tsp honey
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
A generous pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

The STOP Food Waste programme is funded under the EPA National Waste Prevention Programme (NWPP). Waste Prevention is the preferred waste management option in Ireland. By not generating waste, we can eliminate the need to handle, transport, treat and dispose of waste. We can also avoid having to pay for these services. In light of the significant issues arising from the disposal of food waste, and the realisation of the costs associated with this, the NWPP Prevention Plan 2009-2012 set out to promote food waste prevention and home composting. www.stopfoodwaste.ie

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