Reduce Food Waste This Autumn: Zero Waste Challenge

Cooler temperatures are on their way, and all of a sudden those light meals and pasta salads just won’t cut it. Rather than braving the cold, you want to stay in and make a hearty soup. The good news is, cooking from scratch at home is a great way to reduce food waste.

Your zero waste challenge for October if you wish to accept it is to try to reduce your food waste.

Autumn is the perfect time to reduce food waste

Autumn is a time of year when there’s so much produce in season to create those warming dishes. From butternut squash to brussels sprouts and pumpkins, there’s no better time to buy what’s in season.

How to keep your autumn recipes zero waste

  • Try and buy seasonal fruit and veg from a farmer’s market or local grocer. You’ll save on unwanted packaging, not to mention it will be fresher and healthier.
  • See what you can buy in bulk. It often works out cheaper to buy things you use a lot of in bulk. Whether it’s sugar, nuts, pasta, or cereals, take your own containers and fill them up at a supermarket that offers packaging-free refills. Retailers like Waitrose offer this option now in selected stores.  
  • Start off a compost heap. Don’t put your vegetable peels in the bin. You can seriously reduce food waste by putting them on a compost heap. As well as food scraps, you can add things like coffee grounds, eggshells, and banana skins. You can either just pile your waste up in an old bin or rubbish bag with holes in it. This will help stop the waste blowing around in windy weather. Keep the pile moist and by the spring, you should have some lovely mulch to nourish your soil.  

Some reduce food waste recipes for autumn

Butternut Squash Soup

Of course, we had to include a soup among our autumn recipes. There’s something so comforting about coming in from the cold and enjoying a bowl of tasty soup. This recipe gives you another opportunity to reduce food waste too. Use any leftover veg to make a veggie broth.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 (3-pound) butternut squash (peeled, seeded, and cubed)
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
  • ½ tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 3 to 4 cups vegetable broth
  • Freshly ground black pepper

How to make it:

  • Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion, salt, and a few grinds of fresh pepper. Sauté for 5 to 8 minutes, or until soft. Add the squash and cook until it softens, stirring occasionally.  
  • Add the garlic, sage, rosemary, and ginger. Give it a good stir and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the 3 cups of broth. Bring to a boil then cover, and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 20-30 minutes until the squash, is tender.
  • Let the soup cool a little, then pour it into a blender. Blend until it’s smooth. Season as needed and serve with parsley and crusty bread. Delicious.

Roasted Autumn Veggies

These are perfect as a side for your roast chicken. Remember to reduce food waste by adding any scraps to your compost heap.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 pound (about 4 ½ cups) baby red potatoes, halved or quartered
  • ¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1 – 1 ½  inch chunks
  • 1 pound (about 1 ¼ cup) sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 ½ -inch thick slices
  • ½ pound (about 1 ½ cups) large Brussels sprouts, outer leaves removed and halved
  • 1 large red onion, halved and cut into thick 1-inch pieces
  • ¾ tablespoon dried oregano
  • ¾ tablespoon dried crushed rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • Cracked pepper and sea salt
  • Optional: thyme or parsley for garnish

How to make it:

  • Preheat the oven to 200 °C. Set aside a large baking tray.
  • Peel the carrots and cut them into chunks. Remove the outer leaves of the sprouts and chop them in half. Halve the potatoes or quarter them if they’re large. Halve the red onion and cut it into 1-inch pieces. Peel the sweet potato and cut it into large chunks.
  • Put the vegetables on a baking tray in an even layer. Sprinkle them with oregano, rosemary, thyme, and basil. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Add the olive oil and toss, making sure all the vegetables are evenly coated.
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes, turning them halfway through cooking.

The Ultimate Reduce Food Waste Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkins come into their own at this time of year. However, when we’re done with carving them, they often end up in the bin. According to figures, about a quarter of us buy a pumpkin at Halloween, so the waste really adds up. But the good news is, there’s a delicious way to reduce food waste by making this yummy pumpkin pie.

What you’ll need:

For the crust:

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 ½ cup pecans
  • 2/3 cup oats
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted and cooled

For the filling:

  • Pumpkin - peeled and deseeded. Cut the flesh into 2cm chunks and roast, boil, or steam until tender. Let it cool and blitz in a blender to make a puree.
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn-starch
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

For the topping:

  • 1 (13.5-oz.) can full-fat coconut cream, refrigerated overnight
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • Pinch salt

How to make it:

  • Preheat your oven to 180°C. Grease a pie dish with cooking spray.
  • Add the pecans, oats, sugar, and salt to a food processor and pulse until chopped. Add the coconut oil until everything is combined and starts to bind into a dough.
  • Press the mixture into the pie dish. Line the crust with parchment paper and fill it with baking beans. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the parchment and beans. Bake for a further 15 minutes.
  • Make the filling: mix the filling ingredients together in a large bowl and pour over the crust. Bake for 50-55 minutes. Let it cool completely.
  • Make the topping: Beat the coconut cream, powdered sugar, and salt together until it forms stiff peaks.
  • Enjoy the pie with whipped coconut cream.

We hope we’ve inspired you to try and reduce food waste this autumn. For more interesting articles and tips, check out the rest of our blog.

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