Ice cream on a hot day, yoghurt with your breakfast, cheese on toast, a latte, even a splosh of semi-skim in a cup of tea, for non-vegans dairy products are a big part of our diets. Dairy – and milk in particular, is also amongst the most frequently wasted products in food waste. Shockingly, 490 million pints of milk are wasted in the UK every year. This equates to the equivalent of 122 Olympic-sized swimming pools of wasted milk.
Milk is cheap for a consumer to buy but not for a farmer to produce. In addition herds of dairy cattle consume foods that contribute to deforestation and make significant contributions to climate change due to high levels of methane, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide emissions.
It’s thought that a huge driver of milk wastage is down to ‘use-by’ dates on milk bottles. Consumers are generally reluctant to use a product that’s ‘past its best’ and given that milk is relatively inexpensive, are happy to throw it down the plug. Now retailers such as Morrisons and M&S are scrapping use-by dates on milk and encouraging consumers to use the sniff test to check how fresh their milk is.
What to do though with some milk that is, as my Nan would’ve said, ‘on the turn’? First thing’s first, you need to decide if your milk is sour or spoiled. Sour milk smells sour but still has the consistency of milk. Spoiled milk tends to smell a lot worse, has changed colour or become lumpy. Unfortunately, spoiled milk is probably best disposed of, rather than repurposed.
Back to sour milk though – there are plenty of blogs out there with some great tips to use up turned milk. Baking in particular is a natural go to. Anything that traditionally calls for buttermilk such as scones or pancakes is your friend here. Other uses include, marinades for tenderising meat, particularly helpful if you’re making buttermilk chicken.
Dairy is an incredibly useful food for those that can digest it effectively. High in nutrients and essential fats it provides a great source of inexpensive nutrition. However it also plays a role in an increasingly chaotic climate, soil erosion and habitat loss. It makes greatest sense to really consider every pint we buy and get the most out of every drop.
What’s in season?
This June was the hottest June since records began according to the Met Office. Although it’s now cooler and the rain has returned, some of our local food suppliers are reporting weather-related issues with their crops: https://www.maynardsfruit.co.uk/fruit-update-june-23/
- Traditionally with Wimbledon, it’s strawberries and cream season. If you want something a little more elaborate as a dessert – Eton Mess is a delicious treat and doesn’t require every strawberry to be cosmetically perfect, if your back garden strawberries like mine are better tasting than looking!
- Broad beans are coming into season now and will stay in season until September. They’re great for boosting a casserole or stew if you’re trying to reduce meat consumption or make a great side dish in their own right. I like the idea of this warm feta,potato and green vegetable salad from Delicious magazine. Perfect for when your heart knows it’s summer outside but the temperature has dropped 10 degrees overnight!
- Peas are now in season, a traditional stalwart of the food calendar, a good pea harvest would guarantee food throughout the winter. Although peas and fresh mint are always a delicious combination, here’s a modern take the humble pulse combining hummus and peas for a great addition to a light meal or nibbles, Green Pea Hummus.