You can still eat me if I’m out of date

There’s a big drive in France right now, as in other countries, to cut down on food waste. And rightly so.

I have a massive guilt trip every time I throw away unconsumed foodstuffs and try and do this as little as possible. I will regularly buy 5 new ingredients to create a dish using just one other ingredient that I’m loathe to bin (see Prawn & mango salad). My husband, whose Serbian grandmother would recount stories of WWII when literally nothing went to waste, is capable of toasting a breeze-block like baguette at the end of its 3-day life.

So I was interested to see this infographic entitled You can still eat me if I’m out of date go past on Twitter the other day. It suggests you can still drink milk 2 months beyond its best-by date (the UHT kind only I assume…), and frozen food and pulses up to several years later. To put it to the test, I’m about to make a soup with split peas which supposedly went off in October 2015, and were hiding at the back of the cupboard. We’ll see how that turns out.

It’s difficult to know if the reportedly inaccurate best-by dates are linked to some evil conspiracy by supermarkets to force us to consume ever more, or just a means of covering their backs in a society plagued by supergerms and food scares.

In any case, I think it’s a good thing to encourage consumers to push the boundaries and use good-old common sense when it comes to the foodstuffs they buy, store and consume.

Porridge and stewed plums

So the first exploit with the fruit we picked off the tree is stewed plums. Really easy, and because I’m addicted to porridge (there are worse things), I decided to cook some of them up for breakfast.

I realised recently when I made an apricot puree without sugar for my daughter (she hated it and as a result I inherited it), that combining starchy oats and acidic apricots worked really well. For some reason heating certain fruits accentuates their acidity – I’m sure there’s a Michelin-starred chef out there that can explain that – the same principle applies for apricots as it does peaches and plums.

Conclusion: the porridge in the picture was delicious.

For the porridge, pour a small cup of oats into a saucepan, add double the amount of milk. Cook on a low heat for 10 minutes or until the ingredients have turned into a creamy mixture. For the plums, cut them in half and remove the stones, place in a saucepan and also cook on a low heat for 20 minutes or until the fruit are soft.