The Little Grey Bin Of Shame
Julie Barr from the team on harvest and the little grey bin in the corner...
As harvest comes round again I have found myself thinking about apples and mackerel and food waste. Why, you ask?
Let’s start with food waste, do you notice just how much you waste now that it is collected in a separate bin (it is in this area anyway)? The “little grey bin of shame”, the weekly reminder of just how much we throw away — when others don’t always have enough.
My bin is usually about half full and I console myself with the fact that as we eat a lot of vegetables and fruit in this household most of its contents are peelings and not actual food waste... but there is the odd thing that lurked at the back of the fridge forgotten that ends up in there, oh and the end of the French loaf, oh and the last egg in the dozen that went out of date…
In the Autumn the vast bulk of my little grey bin is apple peelings and cores, courtesy of a friend who very kindly shares the crop from her large apple trees. These apples have become sweet crumbles, unctuous Pork Normandy, healthy apple porridge muffins and a very, very large batch of savoury apple chutney. As my friend shares with me, I have passed on the gift in the form of home made apple based foods to others.
And mackerel? Well I used to go fishing with my Dad and when the mackerel were “boiling” there were far more than we could ever eat. Just in case you were not aware of the fact: mackerel are suicidal fish, just show them something vaguely shiny and they will jump right onto the hook. No fishing skill required.
My dad’s philosophy was (quite rightly) that if you catch it you absolutely must use it. Consequently there is not a single recipe for mackerel that I am not an expert in producing. Mackerel pate, barbecued, stuffed with herbs, grilled, fried, pickled and have you ever tried mackerel soup? Those summers when we ate mackerel in one guise or another as either breakfast, lunch or dinner every single day for weeks on end are the reason I have strong bones! Our neighbours also always benefitted from the catch.
So what do these things have in common? God’s bounty is abundant but it only works out really well when we use it wisely and when we share. If we keep it all as our own, hoard the harvest, then it doesn’t last and it is ultimately wasted: it ends up in the little grey bin. Right now the philosophy of only taking what you need, sharing and actually using rather than wasting what you have is more important than ever.
If you don’t have a food waste bin in your area, try collecting it for just a week, you will probably be surprised by just how much goes in there.
The key to wasting less is sharing more. Your apples become a dessert we can share. My mackerel becomes a dinner for both of us and more besides. This harvest we are reminded that God’s blessing are intended to be shared for everyone’s benefit.