Making the most of our veg!
2012 has been a bit of a disaster for our veg in the UK. The dreadful summer weather has devastated harvests of British crops but that doesn't mean we should forget about them or look elsewhere - making the most of our veg saves money!
Crop yields have been down across all fruit and beg but particularly apples and pears and root vegetables where harvests are down by as much as 25%.
From wonky parsnips to tiddler potatoes, they all still make wonderful meals. Here are a few tips to see you through to 2013, making the most of the food you buy and grow, saving money and helping the environment too:
- Small potatoes can still be baked in to tasty jacket potatoes: just remember to reduce the cooking time
- Who needs the perfect straight parsnip? Make a feature of it with the kids and get them to pick their favourite monster shape for tea!
- Small and misshapen fruit and veg will keep just as well - as always, just remember to avoid buying anything that's bruised or visibly damaged
- Got a few bits of old wonky veg in the fridge? Make Monica's vegetable stew with apricots - you can use almost any vegetable in this stew – just make sure you add the spices to get the flavours right! A wonderful, packed with nutrients, dish that can be served on its own or with rice
- Don't forget to keep most of your fruit and veg in the fridge rather than at room temperature - they'll keep for much longer. Just keep the fruit you will eat over the next day or two in the fruit bowl. (Bananas, whole pineapple, potatoes and onions should stay out of the fridge)
- Check out the label when you get your fruit and veg home - there have been tons of innovations on food packs over the last few year from breathable potato bags to salad packed in 'protective atmospheres'. Keep your fruit and veg in its original packaging rather than emptying it out to keep it at its best for longer
- Make 'mis-fit veg with babaganush' this weekend - a great way to use up anything lying about in the fridge
- Check out the supermarkets who have adapted to the poor harvest and are stocking smaller sized and “ugly” misshapen or skin -blemished fresh fruit and veg. The co-op have just announced that they're working with British growers to make the most of this year’s crops, to help control costs and to reduce the need for imports. Other retailers are getting involved too so keep an eye out when you're next in store.
- Make your own apple sauce for Roast this weekend using 'ugly apple's. Peel and chop the apples, and place in a saucepan with a little water, lemon juice and castor sugar (maybe some cinnamon too). Cook gently for about 15 mins, stirring regularly. Then whisk or blend smooth. It's lovely with pork but can also be a dessert with cream (fool) or ice-cream.
- And finally if you find you have a few leftover cooked veg from tea don't throw them away. Pop in the fridge until tomorrow and turn them into Cheesy vegetable ramekins. Somewhere between an individual soufflé and a quiche, these versatile pots are rich in protein and easy to make for a light lunch or supper.
Whatever you do, make the most of your ugly veg. After all whilst some of them may not look as 'perfect' as usual, they still taste great!