|Swede, celery, carrot and thyme soup|
Do you get confused by sell by dates, use by dates, best before dates? No need. Just ditch them. Yep, that's right, ignore them. Use your senses instead. Sight, smell, taste, touch. Only ever use a date on food as a guide.
Since I've been writing this blog, so many people have told me they throw food out as soon as the date has passed. Or worse still... BEFORE the date has passed. Fifty years ago did our parents and grand-parents have dates on food? No, they just used their common sense - and their senses.
Many people these days would turn their nose up at what I did this afternoon - I cooked soup using a swede that had been left in my fridge for three months. Yep, you read that right - three months. And I've survived to tell the tale!
I must admit, I did approach the three-month-old swede with a little caution. But after a quick whiff, peel and chop, I realised it was absolutely fine. To reassure Mr Kate I did have a quick Google and read on several websites that swede can keep in the fridge for several months. In which case, why do the supermarkets put such a short date on them? I'd hazard a guess they're just playing safe in this health and safety obsessed blame culture we live in these days.
And it's not just swede. I had some month-old celery to use as well. And yes, that was absolutely fine too. Not as crisp as you might like it for a salad, but fine for a soup. I only used four sticks so still have some left - another week or two left for the rest of the packet I reckon!
So my plea to you, if you're not already a convert to yellow stickers and using your senses, ditch the dates and use your brain. If it smells bad and is moulding - bin it. But please check before you bin perfectly good food. And think about the money you're, literally, throwing away.
Here's how I made my 'out of time' swede, celery, carrot and thyme soup to serve four:
1) Peel and chop a whole swede, an onion, two carrots, and four sticks of celery.
2) Soften the onion in a large saucepan with a glug of olive oil for a few minutes.
3) Add a clove or two of chopped garlic.
4) Add the chopped swede, carrots and celery for a few minutes.
5) Add a teaspoon of dried thyme.
6) Add a litre of chicken or vegetable stock and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the veg is all soft.
7) Add a good grind of black pepper and rock salt to taste.
8) Serve and enjoy!
With the 19p swede, about 4p worth of reduced celery and a reduced chicken stock cube added to the cost of the other ingredients, this soup came in at around 60p. That's 60p for four healthy servings which are now portioned up and ready for lunch tomorrow and our packed lunches on Monday.
Ditch the dates!