Why is orange juice so popular?

Last week I watched a TV programme called Eat Well for Less. I was really hoping it would focus on healthy eating as a way to get people to be more mindful of what they eat ie. cut out the junk and unnecessary extras, waste less food and also help people choose cheaper options without forgoing quality and nutrition. It succeeded to some extent on the last point.

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I was staggered to see this apparently average family consume 4 litres of high sugar orange juice very week. Not sure if they rely on BOGOFs but it is a product you often see in these.

Since when did orange juice become such a staple? As a child growing up in the 50s and 60s (yes I have got he grumpy old woman badge) juice came in tiny 50 ml glasses in the B and B’s of annual holidays or as tiny bottles of very sweet Britvic served in pubs! At home we had squash well diluted or Adams ale. Later as a 1980s holiday maker in Greece I remember the reps warning us off drinking the large cartons in a day as it could lead to upset stomachs- due to the acid I presume?

These days in hotels the juice is on tap and people fill large  200 plus ml glasses with impunity. In Boston a few years ago we had to keep saying no to hotel waiters as it seemed they topped it up all the time over breakfast and with a newly diagnosed type 2 diabetic in tow, it was off limits. None of them seemed to have any awareness of the sugar content in even a small glass (6 teaspoons) no idea about diabesity then.

More recently the fashion for smoothies has increased sugar from juice intake and now I am told there is a new must have gadget called the Nutribullet which juices up fruit, vegetable, nuts, seeds etc to make an allegedly  more healthful drink. If you would not eat all this as a snack when whole, why do you need all its calories in one go?

Ask yourself do we really need all these new products?

What’s wrong with eating an actual orange  or satsuma instead? That way you get the fibre from the fruit as well as some vitamin C which actually counts towards your 5 a day and takes longer to digest as well as damaging teeth less.

Nothing wrong with eating a whole orange

Nothing wrong with eating a whole orange

The madness of Christmas Food shopping in the UK.

Its time for our Annual Feeding frenzy….

 

All week I have been reading from online friends how they hate the mad dash of the supermarket food shop and that many have done it early and are feeling pleased and relieved. The weather has turned stormy today and so many of us are now safe at home with well stocked fridges, freezers and larders.  I did my final supermarket shop in a quiet Newhaven Sainsburys  on Friday morning thank goodness and my main vegies last Wednesday to supplement the root veg  from Dymock farm shop safely stashed in the garage.

So when I woke up this morning and saw on TV that today is the day for the ‘big shop’ I began to think about why we put ourselves through it all? The supermarkets are closed for just one day and lets face it there will be convenience stores and garage shops open on the big day if anything has been forgotten. I have just been into Seaford to pay a bill and was amazed to see some of customers  struggling into  Morrisons today are the  elderly using walking trollies. I have to ask myself why they choose to go there today? Through the window I could see it was heaving with queues 10 deep by 11am.

 

There was even a queue at the local butchers –probably because people were collecting turkeys etc. I then realised why the butcher told me to go yesterday –a Sunday to collect my small piece of steak  and sausagemeat.  In fact many of the town shops were open yesterday even the charity shops so I hope they did well with last minute bargain hunters.

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So after the frenzy of all this food shopping – I cant remember how many pigs in blankets they said on TV Asda alone were expecting to sell;  the nation will settle down to eat and drink their way through an excess of  food shopping. I hope that many of those shoppers will have put something decent in the Food Bank baskets that are appearing in most of the big shops now and spare a though for those with only processed food for their Christmas dinner or none at all.

Sadly on the day after Boxing Day , much of this food will be consigned to the bin uneaten along with the turkey carcass which is no longer made into soup or curry in many households (I can see my late dad doing that now and me sighing over the apple and sultanas that went into Anglo Indian curry!) A new frenzy will be in place – sale shopping- either online or another expedition to the shops. The following week the food buying frenzy  will all happen again as people restock up for New Years parties.

For me the key questions to ask are;

  1. Did I stick to the list and avoid the BOGOFs when I knew they would not get eaten?
  2. Did I plan the meals and only buy what we really needed?
  3. Did I spread out the treats throughout the week so nobody got indigestion and felt ill!?
  4. Is there  got nothing  left over or wasted?.
  5. Have I kept a record of the menus and shopping?- easy on OneNote or Evernote for future years?

 

I wish  this to be reflected across the nation  and  the true spirit of Christmas  food  sharing   to prevail.

Wasting Bread (Not) Packed lunch solution?

 

Bread is Britain’s most wasted food  32% of bread purchased by UK households is dumped when it could be eaten, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) figures show. 80 % of this is the cheap sliced white made by the Chorleywood method.

When I started my waste monitoring I was aware there would be one item going in the bin which I felt bad about. My partner rarely finishes his loaf (it being something I do not eat) and if there is a new one it went out to the birds. However in Seaford anything  like that put out  for birds is a signal for seagulls to descend and attracting them is the last thing we want.

Then light dawned. Since we have moved here and visited the café by The Martello Tower I discovered my partner loves bread pudding! Now even when I was a child and my dear Great Uncle Dennis made it this was something I never liked the texture of.  So there was my solution.  I froze the bread ends for a couple of weeks and used them to make the bread pudding. As I was using spelt  and rye bread  this is a very special bread pudding. However any old bread will do!

Recipe takes a mere 15 minutes to prepare plus the soaking time

Put the following in a large bowl

250g bread ends torn up      300g mixed dried fruit              1 heaped tsp mixed spice

Pour over   300ml milk and scrunch up the bread

Add 70g soft brown  sugar, 1 large beaten egg and the juice of a lemon (optional) , mix well and leave to soak for 30 minutes.

Finally add 50g melted butter, combine and press into a well oiled small roasting tin or square tin

Sprinkle with a table spoon of brown sugar.

Bake at  180 C /160 fan oven for 90 minutes until firm If it gets a bit brown cover with foil.

Let it cool before slicing into squares.

My first effort lasted all of 4 days…..

Now wouldn’t it be great if  lots of our left over bread could be made into bread pudding for packed lunches?  Maybe I should start a campaign….

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‘Best Before’ and ‘Use by’ Confusion

When I was teaching the students were always confused about ‘best before’ and ‘use by’ dates. As we know best before means things are still edible and safe  just not at their ‘best’ There are probably numerous things in my pantry  like this including Marmite dated best before September 2011 but I can’t say I have noticed any difference in it and with that amount of salt it will probably last forever.

However why on earth do the supermarkets put ‘Best before’  on bags of potatoes and apples? They last for months if stored properly and no potatoes do not need to be  in the fridge gah!  More than once I have had to stop a child throwing them in the bin  even though they all looked perfect.

I would tell them that ‘Use by’ is an instruction applying only to high protein foods and although I would not eat meat and fish past its date (well maybe bacon if it smells OK) –it will have been frozen in my house by the time it gets near- none of this freeze on day of purchase nonsense from the supermarkets which I believe they are going to alter.

Today I noticed the last of my Greek yogurt is out of date- 6 days in fact but I ate some yesterday with no ill effects  -though smells fine but decided to use it up in scones.

Mix the yogurt with a little water to loosen it, make the scones half spelt half white flour , brush with yogurt mix and dip into seeds. Bake 10 minutes on 230C for a lovely soft textured treat.

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Food Waste monitoring

Yesterday’s press on the vast amount of food wasted in the UK from supermarkets and our overbuying due to BOGOFs /poor management has left me wondering how we got to this stage.

As a child of the 1950s growing up as rationing finished and with parents who has been Depression children; food waste was not something I was used to. My mum’s family  had  to rely on the Salvation Army to help out in 1920s Salford. My dad was a country boy brought up on the plain cooking my grandma had learned  in service  with home grown  vegetables and basic proteins supplemented by the rabbits  granddad’s  ferrets caught. Those habits were ingrained in me- clear the plate and use up left overs or suffer dad’s wrath.  I can even remember being made to sit all lunch hour over the chocolate pudiding and custard served in infant school the smell of which made me heave and I never gave in and ate it!

Turn the clock on 40 years its the 1990s  and I am Teaching food Technology in an outer  London suburb. We begin to notice the children leaving behind all sorts of ingredients they have not used with words like ‘ my mum says she does not want it’ . By the time I retired in 2011 my catering fridge always had a stock of cheese, butter, eggs, half packs of meat (which we would freeze for another day) also sorts of vegetables and a cupboard full of flour, rice pasta, cans, herbs and spices all left behind without so much as a thought as to how much this all cost. Rarely was anything thrown away- students who had forgotten ingredients could be helped out and the budget for staff demonstrations was reduced.

Since moving to Seaford I no longer have a massive fridge so have to think even more carefully about how much I buy as storage is a problem. Gone are the big packs of veggies and wide variety I was used to. Local shopping facilities limit me to be far more creative in what I buy and cook.  The council collect food waste weekly so I have decided to monitor what we do throw away apart from peelings (as the compost heaps are about to be moved and cannot be used at present)  and ways I use up food nearing the end of its life.

So this is my last week’s food waste- fits into the small bin nicely- and transfers to the Council bin about 2 inches thick- all fruit and vegetable peelings plus teabags. There is one small mouldy green pepper in there from a large pack I have to keep in the pantry now no room in fridge.

So who else is going to monitor their food waste this week?

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