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Granite City Good Food Takes on Zero Waste Cooking as part of Climate Week North East

Updated: Mar 27

If you have tuned into the news at any point, even in the last week, you will probably be aware of the ways in which climate change is affecting us all. Through NESCAN Hub’s recent Climate Week North East, you might even be aware of some of the great organisations, community groups, and people acting on this every day.


The way in which we enjoy food – our food system – is an area with huge potential in addressing some of the underlying causes of climate change. For example, estimates by Zero Waste Scotland show that the per capita food waste produced in 2021 calculates at 189kg of food waste per person, per year, and that 59% of food waste produced, that year, in Scotland was produced by households.


Our collective action on food waste, within our own households, is a massive opportunity for us to take small actions with an enormous impact on the pollution of our atmosphere.


That’s where CFINE and Granite City Good Food’s Climate Week North East Zero Waste Cooking Day came in!

 




On Wednesday 20th March, CFINE’s Community Kitchen – Cook at the Nook – burst into a lively and buzzing hub of zero waste action and activity! Together, we explored (and enjoyed) new and different ways to take radical action on food waste. Here were some of our highlights:





Soup - a ‘bottom of the fridge treat’!


Who doesn’t love a hearty and rewarding soup to create a cosy and delicious meal?


The first activity of the session was to create a communal pot of soup from a smorgasbord of vegetables which were available, all previously deemed as surplus (perfectly usable surplus) to the food system and distributed to us for community use by CFINE’s FareShare Grampian, Highlands and Islands operation.


Each attendee of the class could add whichever vegetable they wanted to the soup and, boy did we get creative! Our soup had everything from cauliflower to celeriac, as well as favourites such as carrots, onions, and potatoes.


The result was a delicious soup, made from surplus vegetables, and without a recipe, too!






Vegetable Peelings - don’t waste them yet!


From the soup we created, we still had a variety of vegetable peelings left. However, in the interests of saving these from waste- a simple clean and a coating of oil or low-fat spray, followed by a spell in the oven, and you have yourself delicious vegetable crisps which you can season and spice to your heart’s desire!


Another fantastic way to use vegetable peelings, or any additional fruits or vegetables you have is through pickling…





Pickling - not as much of a pickle as you might think!


Pickling is so rewarding! It’s an opportunity to preserve produce you love and keep it for longer whilst packing it with lots of delicious flavour through spices and herbs.


Each of the participants of the class could choose a piece of produce and accompany it with spices of their choice to create their own concoction, which will mature into a delicious and versatile pickle!


There were some really unique infusions produced on the day! For example, two of our participants, Frazer and Karen, chose to experiment with winter-spiced inspired mixes- with Karen using pears and Frazer choosing apple. One of CFINE’s volunteers, Liz, decided to pickle cauliflower leaves, showing the group how to make the most of every morsel of a cauliflower, and Sadique – another one of our volunteers here at CFINE – compiled an inspired mix of spices, making a mustard seed, clove, bay leaf, and turmeric spiced pickled onions.


It really is simple, so why not give it a go?



Porridge - saving it from waste is ‘Oats so Simple!’


Who knew there were so many delicious ways to use leftover porridge?


A delicious mix of porridge pancakes with a variety of toppings were on the menu for dessert, a terrific way to use produce and porridge to produce a delicious and familiar treat!

For some, it was also the first-time making pancakes, and the session turned into a masterclass in pancake flipping and decoration- amazing!


What’s more, as an accompaniment for the soup, we made an amazing loaf of bread from porridge - which was the perfect pairing to our soup as we enjoyed our food together.

 




A social experience powered by food.


As we all sat enjoying our delicious meal, this gave us an opportunity to reflect on the power of being in a group of people enjoying food together.


As we ate around our long table, we chatted, shared observations and feedback on the day, and heard more from the CFINE and Granite City Good Food team on the impact of these recipes on a sustainable food system.


A participant told us that they were going to share the recipes and techniques around pickling with their sister, another that they found these types of activities interesting for keeping their knowledge topped up. Another group of participants, who joined us during Ramadan- whilst fasting- took their food away with them to share during the break of fast and the group enjoyed their time in the kitchen, spending their time with others, and sharing their experiences and culture with others in the group.


To hear more about what the attendees of the event thought of the day, Lauren Taylor of the Press and Journal documented her experience of the day and the reflections of other attendees- which you can read here:



All-in-all, it seemed clear that the day went well, and a new cohort of food waste fighters were born!

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You can find the materials used as part of the session on the Granite City Good Food Website:



You can also find out more about further opportunities to learn in CFINE’s Cook at the Nook by emailing CFINE: info@cfine.org, or on the CFINE Website:



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