Here’s to Seasons Eatings: How eating seasonally can help save the planet
Every year, Veganuary inspires us to experiment with a whole roster of weird and wonderful diets. Vegetarianism and veganism are well established, but the newer players – flexitarian, climatarian and now even the reducetarian diet – all put more emphasis on the impact our food choices have on the health of the planet.
And it’s not without reason. In the UK alone, we annually waste 9.5m tonnes of food, costing us £19bn a year. The land that is needed to produce the amount of food we waste is the equivalent to an area larger than Wales. Hard-hitting stuff!
But let’s face it, knowing how to eat for the planet can be hard work. A recent study found that Brits usually only manage to adopt a plant-based diet for a grand total of 12 days before slipping back into old habits. So, is there a better way?
Yes – it turns out there is, and it’s far simpler than adopting a whole new diet. The answer is to eat what’s in season, buy more UK-grown produce and reduce the food miles on your grocery shop.
More than that, what if it was possible to use every last scrap of that seasonal veg, so that nothing – not even those nutrient-rich carrot tops – needed to end up in the bin?
We asked Jordan Moore, our Senior Food Innovation Manager to help shine a spotlight on the UK’s winter fruit and veg heroes and offer up some top tricks to reduce food waste, so you can help to save the planet by eating seasonally and eating everything.
Winter hero #1 – Brussels Sprouts
A Christmas special but often not a crowd-pleaser. At Gousto, we believe Brussels sprouts have an important place on the dinner plate rather than just with a festive roast. Read on for some fun ways to cook them. From sautéing with bacon or par-boiling them, you can also squash and roast them to reveal their crispy side. They’re a great source of Vitamin C and K, as well as iron and potassium, making them incredibly nutritious. If you’re lucky enough to buy them on the chunky (and very tasty) stalk, don’t throw it away – it’s as delicious as it is nutritious!
How to store
The best way to store sprouts is unwashed, with the stalk still on. However, a lot of the time we don’t see Brussels sprouts with stalks, so store your loose sprouts in a Tupperware container with some paper towels. They’ll keep for at least a week, if not a little longer. If you blanch them, they’ll last in the freezer for 12 months; a good way to get-around wasting half a bag if you live in a household of sprout-haters.
If you’re in the mood for some nutritious goodness, have a go at this fibre-rich winter warmer Honey Roasted Winter Veg & Herby Chicken recipe. Or, if you’re wanting to break away from traditional roast flavours, why not use up your sprouts in this Brussels Sprout & Garam Masala Tart? Experiment with mashing sprouts in this Pork Belly, Sprout Mash & Spiced Red Cabbage recipe, perfect for if you’ve always wanted to learn how to cook a pork belly perfectly.
Winter hero #2 – Carrots
Often undervalued with a simple boil, carrots can also be glazed in honey or shaved into noodles to bring out their full glory. Adding them to a smoothie is even a great way to get Vitamin C and K in without having to subject yourself to a green spinach smoothie – you’re welcome!
One of the biggest faux pas is putting the nutrient-rich carrot tops straight into the food waste. A great source of Vitamin A, C and K, along with calcium and iron, the tops can be blended into a pesto for a flavour-filled pasta dish. There’s also no need to peel your carrots, as the skin is a nutritional goldmine. Simply rinse and scrub until clean, then prepare as usual.
Here’s our top 3 ways to prepare…
How to store
You can freeze carrots for up to 12 months. If they feel a little limp, save them from the bin by simply submerging them in water for 5 minutes and they’ll quickly become crunchy again.
We all love a new and inspiring dinner recipe, and it’s our job at Gousto to provide them! A great way to blend up every part of the carrot is to make this incredibly moreish Carrot & Bean Patties with Sesame Sauce. Another way to use up carrots is to grate them into a punchy pickle and serve with our Meat-Free Mince Bulgogi with Rice. Or, if you’re looking for something sweet, try making this Blood Orange & Carrot Sorbet. The natural sweetness of the carrot makes it an ideal base ingredient.
Winter Hero #3 – Apples
Sweet and crunchy, apples are many people’s go-to healthy snack. Try mixing things up and using them in some savoury meals; they add a fantastic crunch to salads and a sweet bite to casseroles and pies. If you have too many, an easy way to revive your apples is by peeling, cutting into chunks and then soaking in cold apple cider or juice in the refrigerator for around 30 minutes.
How to store
Apples can be kept frozen for 3-6 months. The best place to store them is in the fridge, specifically in the salad drawer. That is, unless you’re planning to eat them within 2-3 days, in which case you can keep them out on the kitchen counter or in a fruit bowl.
An unusual, but delicious way to use up apples is in a warming, savoury Oven-Baked Normandy Chicken & Apple Casserole, served up with green beans and crusty ciabatta to mop up the delicious sauce. A lighter option could be this classic Austrian dish of Chicken Schnitzel, Apple & Potato Salad. Combining sweet with savoury is a treat for the tastebuds – try adding shredded or sliced apple to a salsa, as part of our moorish Mexican-Style Pork Chilli with Apple Salsa. A stand-out dish, every time.