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Monday, 13 July 2015

Twice Baked Potatoes and Food Waste

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One of the favourite things that my mother would make for us on occasion when I was growing up was Stuffed Baked Potatoes.  These were a real treat, and something which I still enjoy.  She would bake potatoes until done, then cut them in half.  The insides were scooped out and mashed together with butter, milk, seasoning and a smidgen of minced onion.  Then she would stuff the skins with this mixture and pop them into the oven to brown.

One thing which stands clear the culinary memories of my childhood is that nothing went to waste.  My mother was a plain cook and a thrifty cook . . .  a lesson I learnt well, the thrift part at any rate.  I don't think anyone has ever called my cooking plain!!

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One thing which has been in the news over recent years is the amount of food which gets thrown away in our households here in the UK.   Sainsbury's has done some research into the amount of vitamins and minerals we are all binning on a daily basis.  From 733,000 tonnes of potatoes to 353 litres of milk . . .  the amount we waste annually is vast . . .  incredibly vast.

British families could boost their diets with more than 60 tonnes of additional vitamins, minerals and other nutrients annually by reducing food waste.  Nutrient rich potatoes, bread and milk being amongst the lost foods.  Their research also shows that protein is the most wasted nutrient, with more than 4.2 million tonnes of good food every year being binned  . . .  meaning masses of vital nutrients that could be helping to improve the health of the nation being discarded.

Not only does it means we are hugely wasting food and resources, but the financial impact reported recently amounted to £700 a year per family.  That is substantial!   Sainsbury's has done some vital research into all of this and has come up with a further hidden cost of this food waste, in the amount of 60 tonnes of vital vitamins, minerals and nutrients which are being binned annually.   It is just mind boggling.

The Sainsbury's research, released to support the launch of its new waste campaign, "To The Rescue," shows potatoes, bread and milk are amongst the UK's most thrown away foods, indicating that 1/65 million tonnes are binned each year of these foods alone:
1)  Annually, 733,000 tonnes of potatoes are chucked, equating to enough potassium to feed 140,000 people their daily recommendations (nutrient Reference Value) for an entire week; the equivalent of the entire population of Blackpool.

2)  Protein is the most wasted nutrient, with 55 tones thrown in the bin every year.

3)  Fibre, found commonly in fruit and vegetables, is amongst the top binned food component, with carrots being the most thrown away fibre providers, with every 80g portion of discarded carrots equating to 2.6g of fibre.

4)  Some 353 million litres of milk also goes down the drain annually, losing essential calcium, crucial for bones and teeth.

Sainsbury's wants to help customers to make small changes to their routine to make a big difference to their food waste footprint. As part of the "To the Rescue" campaign, recipes and handy tips, such as storing potatoes in the cupboard rather than the fridge, have been created to help people reduce their food waste.

 Anne Denny, Sainsbury's nutritionist, comments:

"We're guilty of throwing away lots of key nutrients that help keep our bones, immune system and nervous system healthy . . .  all vital to helping us stay well.  By making the most of our food, we can all go a long way to ensuring we are not just saving money but also letting those key nutrients to do their jobs."

Paul Crewe, Head of Sustainability at Sainsbury's, comments:

"Throwing away food is often associated with wasting money, but our research published today as part of our "To The Rescue" campaign shows there is also a wider nutritional issue.  Our simple tips for saving the most frequently thrown away foods, along with our recipes for leftovers have been created to help reduce food waste and benefit the health of UK families.  None of Sainsbury's food waste goes to landfill and any surplus food fit for human consumption is donated to charities."

Three handy tips to help reduce food waste:

1.  Keep all fruit in the refrigerator except for pineapples and bananas which are happier in the fruit bowl.

2.  Keep leftover salad in a bowl and add a sheet of kitchen roll before topping with cling film.

3.  Shake and freeze bread to stop the slices sticking together.

I took advantage of the Sainsbury's food rescue app to cook up a delicious recipe for us in the way of these fabulous Stuffed Baked Potatoes.

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Not only were they simple to make and very delicious, but I was able to use up some of my leftover vegetables and a nob of cheese that was rolling around in the cheese bin.

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They also used some milk and a bit of seasoning.    We really, really enjoyed them.   But then again . . .  I am thriftily always stuffing my baked potatoes with all sorts as you know!   We like them that way!  I could make a meal of these alone!

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*Twice Baked Potatoes*
Serves 4

An innovative use of leftovers or the tail ends of veg left in the fridge that are not enough to serve the whole family on their own, but work admirably together. 

4 to 6 baking potatoes (depending on size)
1 TBS olive oil
400g of mixed vegetables, chopped (leeks, mushrooms, peas, etc.) (1 scant pound)
75ml of milk (2 fluid ounces)
150g of cheese, grated (5 ounces)
Black pepper and salt to taste 

I added:
1 spring onion per potato, chopped 

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Wash the potatoes, prick with a fork, and bake at 200*C/400*F gas mark 6 for one to one and a half hours. (Timing will depend on size of potatoes.  I place them right on the oven racks.)  Once fork tender, allow to cool just until you can handle them comfortably.  Cut them in half lengthwise, taking care not to break the skins.  Scoop out the cooked potato flesh into a bowl.

While the potatoes are baking, add the oil to a large skillet.   Add the vegetables and cook, without browning until they are crispy tender.

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Mash the cooked potato flesh.   Stir in the milk, some seasoning, the cooked vegetables and half of the cheese.  Spoon this mixture back into the potato halves and place them into a baking dish.  Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Return to the oven and bake for a further 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown and well heated through.  Serve hot.

To find our more about the "To The Rescue Campaign" visit here.
If you are in the need of some food-spiration visit the Sainsbury's food rescue app here.

I believe with just a little bit of effort we can all make a different and eat better, for less money and with less waste!


  1. In this house our biggest waste is milk and bread (unless our son is home from university) unfortunately this is due to the way supermarkets price their bread and milk. It is cheaper to buy a large loaf and four pints of milk and throw a quarter of it away than to buy two pints of milk and a small loaf as needed! I am sure supermarkets like to paint themselves as the good guys who advise us on how not to waste food, but until they price and package their food to suit smaller households nothing can really change!

    Sad but true Marie as I am sure you must find yourself.

  2. Wonderful post! I never thought of it in terms of lost nutrition. We grow and preserve most of our food, so I always think of it as a loss of a lot of hard work.

  3. That is so true Jane! I never thought of that aspect of it, but you are totally right there!

  4. Valid points Karen Lizzie. There are only two of us, but I still buy the larger milk and bread. I separate the bread into three lots, and freeze two, double bagging it. I find it gets used. Sometimes a lot faster than I think it will be. I don't freeze the milk but it always gets used. We must just use a lot of milk! But you can also freeze milk if you find that you don't! It's great for using in baking, soups or sauces.

  5. I hate waste.
    And try to minimize it.. J is a bigger culprit believe it or not..
    These..are a treat!

  6. Me too Monique! I blame short sell by dates as well. The better shops have longer dates on what they sell, the ones that are supposed to be saving you money have shorter ones. I can't tell you the last time I bought veg in Morrisons that had a sell by date any longer than 2 days. If high end shops can have longer sell by dates, why can't the low end? I think they buy their stuff really cheap and then keep it sitting in their warehouses til the last minute. But I could be wrong! (and often am!)


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