‘So How, exactly, does throwing away cauliflower leaves or a bunch of squishy tomatoes contribute to global warming? asks Lindsey Harrad in her new book, Live plant-based. “The connection is more direct than you might think. Global food waste alone is responsible for 8-10% of all greenhouse gas emissions. »
If food is wasted, so are all the resources that went into its production, including water and land use (including any potential deforestation), animal feed, fertilizers, pesticides, processing, packaging, transport, storage and refrigeration. Once it’s sold, you can add to that the personal impact of travel to and from stores, home refrigeration and cooking. Even after a food has been phased out, it will still produce other emissions and harmful greenhouse gases. Together, the global food system is responsible for one-third of total greenhouse gas emissions.
In his book, Harrad suggests preserving overripe tomatoes by processing them into chutney or freezing them whole to add directly to curries or pasta sauces, rather than using cans; or roast them with chickpeas, garlic and thyme, and serve them with bread or pasta, or stir them into an instant soup.
Tomato, tamarind and chilli jam
Lindsey Harrad’s new book is an inspiring, down-to-earth guide to planet-friendly living. In it, she describes how food waste contributes to the climate crisis with practical tips for “moving to a zero waste kitchen”. She writes: “In the UK, each household wastes the equivalent of eight meals a week on average, and the total cost of food that could have been eaten but is thrown away is around £14billion. That works out to around £60 a month for an average family with children. »
Tomatoes can have relatively high greenhouse gas emissions, especially if grown in heated greenhouses or transported by air. Rather than wasting a squishy tomato, freeze it, as Lindsey describes in her book; and if you have an overabundance, a chutney is a surefire and super tasty way to preserve them. This jam is addictive and complements any cheese board; I also like it in cheese toast and with grilled eggplant.
Some recipes call for peeling and seeding tomatoes when making sauces and chutneys, but that’s a waste of time as well as food. Just chop them finely so there aren’t any big chunks of off-tasting skin, while the seeds add great flavor anyway, so why give them up? Any excess water evaporates during cooking.
Preparation 10 minutes
To cook 40 minutes
Makes About 500g
1 tablespoon mustard oil (or frying oil)
1 red onionpeeled and finely diced
1-2 red peppersto taste, finely chopped, seeds and marrow included if you like it spicy
1 tablespoon grated ginger (including skin)
2 cloves garlicpeeled and grated
6 fenugreek leaves
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
400g ripe tomatoesfinely chopped
150g of unrefined sugar – I used rapadura sugar because it gives the jam a rich caramel flavor and deep color
2 tablespoons tamarind pasteor apple cider vinegar
Put the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat, then sauté the onion and chiles, stirring often, until softened. Add ginger, garlic, fenugreek, paprika and a teaspoon of sea salt, and fry, still stirring, for three more minutes.
Stir in the tomatoes, sugar and tamarind paste (or vinegar), bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes, until reduced by half. Pour into sterilized jars, close and store in the refrigerator. Once opened, use within one month.