Lockdown has seen many of us growing our own as we do here at the farm and at this time of year, however well we plan our garden plots, we now find ourselves faced with a huge glut of produce including courgettes, beans and tomatoes to name but a few.

Whilst some can be stored – including potatoes, apples and onions – and eaten during the months ahead, many perish and if not used will end up contributing to the ever-growing food waste mountain.  Did you know that over 4.5million tonnes of food is already being wasted in the UK alone[1].

Here at Oaktrack we are passionate about minimising food waste so these are our top 5 tips to make the most of your surplus produce:

  1. Preserving and pickling – this has to be our top tip as makers of jams, jellies, chutney and pickles ourselves! Every year we love the opportunity to try out new and interesting recipes to use up our veg gluts.  This year we are having a go at preserving pears in a sweet syrup and trying a new combination of Apple, Date & Ginger in a chutney.  Why not give it a try?
  2. Freezing – Veg such as beans and peas can be washed, chopped and popped in the freezer for future use (we have found that there is no additional benefit to blanching). Apples and tomatoes can be cooked down, put in containers and used later.
  3. Juicing – Either juice at home or why not take advantage of a local pressing service? Last year we used a local company to press our apples and pears who pasteurised and bottled our juice. As well as enjoying it cold we also made a delicious hot mulled apple juice https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/mulled-apple-juice
  4. Soups – you can’t beat a homemade soup on a cold autumnal day. A good base stock, onions, pulses or potatoes for thickening, some fresh seasonal herbs and whatever vegetable you have available. If you’re in need of inspiration why not have a go at our pumpkin soup http://www.oaktrack.co.uk/spiced-pumpkin-soup/
  5. Add to cakes – the idea of adding vegetables to cakes is nothing new – the addition of carrot or courgette makes a deliciously tasty moist cake for all to enjoy. If you’re stuck for ideas then take a look at local fellow smallholder and owner and founder of Blackberry Cottage, Kate Saunders’ innovative cookbook – Cakes with Secret Ingredients from Aubergine to Zucchini.[2]

These are just few ideas and we’d love to hear about any other innovative ways you have used up your surplus veg this year!

Together we can all help to minimise food waste and reduce our overall environmental impact on the land.


[1] https://www.lovefoodhatewaste.com/keepcrushingit

[2]  www.blackberrycottagefayre.co.uk