You will be hard pushed to find more passionate foodies than our Cookery School tutors, and since many of the ingredients they use when teaching come from right here on the farm, the team truly values the time, care and effort that goes into producing each and every one. So why waste a scrap of it!?
Here the team share some of their top tips on how to become a more sustainable cook in your own kitchens at home, from reducing food waste and beyond.
- Before heading to the shops, try making a meal plan for the week ahead. Get a pen and paper, pull out your recipe books for inspiration, think about what is in the fridge and larder already and decide what your requirements are for the next few days. Planning ahead in this way will drastically cut your food waste and help you avoid impulse buying.
- Check the origin of the products you are buying and aim to shop from retailers and farmers’ markets that source locally. Not only does local produce require less transportation by reducing the number of miles from field to plate, but it also tastes better as it retains more nutrients.
- Tuning into the seasons means you will enjoy produce at its very best, whether that means sun-ripened tomatoes in the summer or earthy root vegetables in the winter – everything has its time to shine. Keep in mind the philosophy of ‘what grows together, goes together’. If necessary, get out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself to buy and cook with a seasonal ingredient you have not used before. Preserve gluts of local, seasonal produce with techniques such as dehydrating, fermentation or pickling – we offer specialist courses at the Cookery School to equip you with these skills.
- When shopping, choose items that have minimal packaging and always strive to avoid single-use plastic. Use paper bags rather than plastic for loose fruit and vegetables, and always bring your own reusable carrier bags. If you forget, ask for a cardboard box.
- Watch your water waste: wash fruit & vegetables in a large bowl instead of under a running tap and boil food in as little water as possible.
- Consider how you can reduce energy consumption in the kitchen. Do not pre-heat the oven ages before you are ready to put food in. Open your oven door only when strictly necessary: every time you do the temperature can drop 25 degrees. Choose cookware in materials that retain heat well, such as cast iron, ceramic and glass. If you have a dishwasher, run it only when it is full and set on the most efficient settings.
- Pay attention to portion size – try to cook only the amount you need to avoid waste, and challenge yourself to transform any leftovers into new dishes.
- If you are rendering fat from the likes of a delicious duck breast or rack of lamb, keep the leftover fat and use it for roast potatoes or as a richly flavoured fat for general cooking.
- Re-use butter wrapping paper for lining cake tins, or as a cartouche (a lid usually made with greaseproof parchment paper) – particularly good for delicate poaching, simmering, low & slow cooking, soups, jams – any dish where you want a steady, even distribution of heat with no chance of a skin forming on the surface.
- Stale bread can be the basis of many delicious meals. Blitz into breadcrumbs and use to coat breaded cutlets, for topping gratins and pasta bakes, or adding to meatballs. Stale bread can be torn into rough chunks for panzanella-inspired salads or hearty stratas, or sliced for pain perdu or bread & butter pudding.
- Keep the rinds of hard cheeses such as Parmesan to add a really delicious flavour to soups or risottos.
- Extra egg whites keep for up to 12 months in the freezer. Label them well and use for cooking and baking (it’s good to know that 1 egg white is 100ml).