How to regrow food from kitchen scraps

How to regrow food from kitchen scraps

They say there is no such thing as a free lunch. I’m here to prove that wrong, but this free lunch will only consist of regrowth of spring onions.

Okay, maybe it's just a free snack or garnish. But, hey, it’s still free, happy days.

This is SO simple, it takes zero skill. If you are far from green fingered, I promise you can still do this. It's even more forgiving than keeping a succulent- and you only need to think about it every few days for a couple of weeks. If you’ve used up all your maternal plant love by then, you can eat all of the spring onions, or you can snip the regrowth and watch them resprout.

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Zero Waste Breakfast Ideas

Zero Waste Breakfast Ideas

A few simple switches can make for a completely Zero Waste breakfast, or at least one with dramatically less waste. I found breakfast was by far the easiest meal to make zero waste.

Mine and Anna’s staple go to was porridge, so we simply made these changes:

Buy in bulk, the oats and the toppings came straight from a bulk shop into our containers, Or in Anna’s case, straight from her farm back home into a container for her to bring back.

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Zero Waste Chocolate Almond Milk

Zero Waste Chocolate Almond Milk

Our Almond Milk blog is our most popular blog of all time. I’ve not just made that up to sound fancier than we really are, it’s true, it has had the most views by a LONG way.

I’ve been having a little play around with this recipe, because you all love it so, and my two favourite concoctions have been chocolate and golden milk (recipe coming soon, do not fret)

Our recipe for chocolate almond milk is so great (if I do say so myself) that it can be glugged straight from the bottle, as it is yummy enough to drink solo. Its also super healthy- you know me, I always like to be able to identify EVERY ingredient in anything I ingest.

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The Clean Kilo

This is the shop in its current state (we're kind of doing a before and after thing)

This is the shop in its current state (we're kind of doing a before and after thing)

On 17th January, The Clean Kilo surpassed their crowdfunding target and raised £18,837 to fund the opening of the first zero waste shop in Birmingham. 

With the risk of sounding dramatic, this shop is going to be life-changing for me.

Why? Because I have to travel to Bristol, or London with a huge backpack or suitcase if I want to stock up on proper zero waste goodies. When The Clean Kilo opens, I can travel 15 minutes on the bus to stock up my pantry, then head to the Bull Ring market for my veggies, meats or eggs.

I have been on this zero waste journey for a while now, and I'll be honest, it felt lonely to be on this journey – like it was only me who cared about it in the city I lived in.

However, the Crowdfunding from The Clean Kilo, and the huge social media buzz around this, showed me that other people care too! 501 people backed the campaign, which I found super exciting. And I really believe that more people will shop zero waste when it starts to become easier to do.

I really hope they keep the piano though.

I really hope they keep the piano though.

Myself aside, what does this mean for Birmingham?

Birmingham is in the top 10 of the worst recycling cities in all of the UK. For those of you who don’t know the city well, Birmingham is the second largest city after London. The city has poor recycling facilities (we only recently received bins from the council, before this, it was a bin bag on the side of the road…) these small improvements have made a difference – but I personally don't think it's enough, and it's not citywide just yet.

It's not a clean city, that's for sure.

In 2017, there was a strike from the bin workers. Whilst I found this easier to cope with than most, due to living a zero waste lifestyle, it led to people fly tipping, burning rubbish and reverting back to those bin bags on the side of the road.

That is why The Clean Kilo opening going to be epic.

You can see why Anna and I reached out to Tom, who grew up in Lichfield and has a PhD in chemistry, as soon as we got wind of this awesome project. So, one rainy Saturday in the middle of January, Tom invited us along to take a sneak peek around the shop...

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Where will it be?

The shop, weirdly, has three addresses…

We tested it out though – the one on the website works with google maps to get you there.

If you know the Custard Factory well, you may be familiar with the shop, as it's the first building you come to on Digbeth High Street. Its previous occupants were hair stylists and originally the shop was actually a bank, which is really evident. The décor is super cool as it is and there will be so much room for zero waste products. 

The Old Bank building actually still has a vault in it (!) which, in true zero waste style will be kept as it is and repurposed into a storeroom, potentially for the products which need to be kept chilled.

The longer-term plan is to install solar panels and electric heating with the help of a grant.

This is Tom the owner of Clean Kilo, oh and me! (Charlotte)

This is Tom the owner of Clean Kilo, oh and me! (Charlotte)

What can we get from the shop?

All dried goods will be displayed in gravity dispensers full of nuts, rice, pasta, lentils, flours and everything in-between. There will be an organic and non-organic range – so if organic oats are your thing (like me!) you can get them here. It's basically going to look like a posh pick and mix store, and if that doesn't sound like the best way to do your weekly shop ever, then I don’t know what does!

Alongside this, there will be the ability to make your own peanut butter, grind your own coffee beans and juice fresh oranges, alongside loose teas, non-dairy milks, herbs and spices, and, one of my very favourite things, chocolate!

Customers will also be able to stock up on toiletries, with anything from shampoos to conditioners and handsoaps stocked. These will either be in the form of bars, or as refills.

In terms of cleaning products, there will be washing up liquids, washing detergents, fabric conditioners and surface sprays all of which will be in refill form and from a cruelty-free manufacturer.

To make the whole zero waste journey easier, customers can also purchase produce bags, jars, straws, sponges, toothbrushes, sanitary products, cups, razors, reusable makeup wipes and food wraps. If any of you were backers in this campaign, you may well be having one of the bags or jars on their way to you as a special thank you gift.

They will also run workshops, including how to make shampoos, cooking workshops and inspiring talks. 

The coolest part? As much of this as possible is going to be sourced locally. As soon Tom finds a product he could source from a local producer, he will stock their product over the one which might have many air miles attached to it. Now that’s awesome and something I find literally impossible to achieve right now. He's already conversing with a farmer in Staffordshire.

Tom stressed that it's not going to be a fancy pants elitist shop – okay, he didn't quite use those words, I may have changed them a bit –as  he wants it to be accessible for all! This will be possible because customers won't have to be paying for that pesky packaging. The Clean Kilo will be catering for vegans, vegetarians, pescatarians, meat eaters,  gluten free and dairy free diets while still offering everything at affordable prices. Meat products won't be sold at this shop, but they will be a stone's throw away from the Bullring Markets.

The awesome vault! 

The awesome vault! 

When will The Clean Kilo open?

All being well, The Clean Kilo will open their doors in May.

*Charlotte does a happy dance*

Tom's official line he goes for is a Spring opening – so hopefully he will achieve this!

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Who will it be run by?

Tom! As with all startups, he'll be the jack of all trades. He also adds that it wouldn't have been at all possible without having had plenty of help and support from his partner and family. As soon as The Clean Kilo is the roaring success we are all certain it will be, he'll be considering hiring staff members.

So, a bit more about Toms zero waste journey…

Much like Anna and I, Tom has been aware of environmental issues from a young age, being always conscious to not drop litter. In fact, as a child, his mom used to find that his pockets were full of banana skins as he knew they should go on the compost heap! I hope for his washing machine's sake he now takes around a Tupperware box for his compost...

Then, in much the same way as Anna and I, the spark to start the zero waste journey came from watching documentaries like Plastic Oceans, researching the ethos behind it and just getting stuck in. 

Like with most zero-wasters, once you start your journey, you can't stop seeing useless, wasteful packaging everywhere. And that was the inspiration to start The Clean Kilo.

Why Birmingham?

Simply, because there's nothing else like it here.

We were discussing with Tom that a waste-free shop isn’t a new concept and how we're just slow as a country to catch on. However, the momentum is starting now and package-free shops are super successful elsewhere in the country and the world.

It really seems like it’s a good year to start, everyone is becoming more eco-conscious. 

This should be the start of a catalyst for change – we can see that local consumers want to buy cousinly – but lots of industries will have to change to echo this demand. Due to Tom's chemical studies in the past, he knows that biodegradable plastics aren’t the answer as these need industrial conditions to biodegrade, and all too often, still end up in the oceans.

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How can you prepare?

Start collecting boxes, bags, and save up all your pennies, to begin spending at The Clean Kilo!

The 'whatever is in the cupboard' Granola

Oh, granola, we love you. Filling, yummy, delicious, granola... 

You can use granola to make cereal bars or overnight oats and it can be used to finish whatever you've got in your pantry.

Those last few hazelnuts hiding at the back, those oats that are obstructing the space of other goodness, seeds that simply taste boring on their own – whatever you want!

Plus – our granola recipe uses up the pulp from our Apple Juice recipe and the nut meal from our Almond Milk. If you have these two to hand, pull them out of the freezer the night before you want to make granola and if they were chilling in the fridge, bring them to room temperature before you start the recipe. 

Haven't made these recipes before or don't want to? Fear not! We've made some notes about possible adjustments below. 

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So, the almond pulp

It needs to be oven dried on a low heat in the oven for a little while. This is because all the water from when it was used to make it into milk is probably still lurking in it – which was fine when it was in the fridge or freezer – but will make the granola soggy. 

All those who want soggy granola raise your hand...

*No-one raises their hand*

Just as I thought.

Spread your nut meal as thin as you can onto a tray, baking sheet or cast iron pan – whatever you have that is large and flat.

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Pop it in the oven for 30 minutes on gas mark 4 and check for moisture at the end of this time. There shouldn't be any visible water, but it also should be beginning to brown, as this will come later with all the other ingredients. Extend the cooking time if necessary.

Now for the granola assembly

Equipment

  • Baking sheets or silicone mats
  • Microwave and an oven
  • One large and one smaller bowl

The 'whatever is in the cupboard' Granola

Author: A Zero Waste Life
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Yield: 1 litre
Dietary information: Vegan, Dairy Free, Gluten Free (use suitable oats) can be adapted to Sugar Free, dependant on the sweeteners
Category: Breakfast

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of oats. Old fashioned, flat oats work great for this
  • Approx. 1/2 cup of the leftover apple pulp (if you don't have this, increase the amount of sweetener you add in)
  • Approx. 1 cup of the now dried out almond meal (if you don't have this, sub for flaked or ground nuts)
  • 2tsp cinnamon
  • 2tbs maple syrup (or honey, agave syrup)
  • 1tbsp salt
  • 1 cup of mixed dried fruit
  • (Optional) 1/2 cup of mixed nuts

Instructions

  1. Combine the oats, seeds, almond meal and mixed nuts, if using, in a large bowl.
  2. Grab the smaller bowl. Mix the apple pulp with the cinnamon, 1tbsp maple syrup and salt. Once combined, zap it in the microwave for 2 minutes to combine completely.
  3. Mix the spiced apple pulp into the granola. Make sure everything is covered by the applesauce. Drizzle over the final tbsp of maple syrup.
  4. Lay the granola out on your baking sheets, pat as flat as you can. Place into a gas mark 3/170°C/300ºF oven.
  5. Check half-way through and move the granola around to make sure it is evenly browned. Extend cooking time as necessary.
  6. Allow to cool slightly and mix in the dried fruits.
  7. Pour into a large jar, and marvel at how great it feels to have baked your own granola!
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Did you make this recipe?

Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #azerowastelife!