Whether you’re heading off to the local park or visiting London attractions it’s easy to put together a tasty and inexpensive lunch or dinner using up your leftovers and what you’ve already bought.
Reducing the amount of food and drink we throw away can help the average family save around £50 a month. This could be put towards the cost of a summer day out, or simply paying the bills.
Savvy storage. Take your picnic lunch in a cool bag or box with ice packs to help keep food fresh and tasty in the summer sun. Keep food in the fridge until the last possible moment and pack it just as you’re about to leave the house. If you wrap the ice pack in a plastic bag you’ll stop the food getting damp and you can use the bag for your rubbish when you’ve finished eating. If you don’t have ice packs you could freeze some of the drinks you want to take and use the frozen water or juice as the ice pack, then drink it afterwards so you have less to carry home!
- You don’t need lots of packaging in your picnic bag either. There are lots of everyday items you could use to pack your food.
- Re-use takeaway containers, ice cream and margarine tubs for your sandwiches or salad
- Re-use small dip and crème fraiche containers to decant from large dip pots
- Get a fruity face, keeps fruit including apples, peaches and oranges protected from bumps and bruises
- Take home the foil around your sandwiches to use again to catch fat when you’re grilling food
No more squelchy sandwiches
So 32% of the bread we buy, 2.3 million slices of ham, 1.3 million eggs and 1.4 million sausages are thrown away every day. Instead of feeding the bin let’s make these into delicious picnic foods to feed us instead.
- Every day we throw away the equivalent of around 37 million slices of bread. Why not make picnic sandwiches more appealing by using frozen bread that’ll defrost by lunchtime – that way they won’t have gone dry or even soggy!
- Put frozen, previously cooked, sausages straight into your picnic bag. They’ll have defrosted by the time you reach your picnic spot, but still be nice and chilled.
- Leftover potatoes make a tasty salad when tossed with finely sliced red or spring onion and mayonnaise.
- Cold roast meat is delicious with pickle or chutney.
- Every year millions of apples are thrown away. Why not enjoy them with salad leaves, a wedge of cheese, slices of ham and a spoonful of pickle – the perfect ploughman’s salad!
- Why not chop up some spare veg from your salad drawer into little crudités for dunking into hummus or your favourite dip?
- Quiches make perfect picnic food and can help use up eggs, veggies and spare cream. Add flaked cooked fish or fry that last rasher of bacon and some onion for classic quiche Lorraine.
- Hard boil eggs coming up to the best before date and take these on your picnic.
Forget soggy salad
In the UK we throw away half of all of the salad we buy, so here are some tips to help liven up our leaves and stop them going limp so you can take them on a picnic.
- Keep salad fresh in the fridge – break it into leaves, rinse in cold water, dry in a colander or salad spinner and wrap it in kitchen roll before popping in a plastic food bag.
- If your salad’s looking tired and wilted, put it in a bowl of water with a couple of ice-cubes for at least half an hour and it’ll become nice and crisp again – then you can take it with you on your day trip
- If you’ve got a small amount of spinach left throw it in with your salad.
- Grated cheese can make a salad more substantial. To store cheese keep it in its wrapping in an airtight container in the fridge or grate and freeze for sprinkling over salads and cold pasta.
- Pieces of fruit are great on picnics as they need little preparation. Alternatively, chop them up and take in an airtight box as a fruit salad, or set some chunks into mini jellies.
- Over-ripe fruit, including bananas, berries, apples and yoghurt, can be blitzed into healthy smoothies or why not try freezing any extra yoghurts from your multipack to take as a delicious frozen dessert?
Want a bit more inspiration? Visit lovefoodhatewaste.com ahead of your outing for recipe ideas.