Save our spuds – we throw out far too many | Blaise Tapp

Everybody loves a spud, right?

Friday, 12th March 2021, 5:00 pm

Roasted, boiled, mashed, and especially chipped and fried, the potato is the king of vegetables.

If I could get away with it, I would probably eat a pan full every day and it has been said that, in a certain light, I resemble a King Edward.

Despite my love for tatties, they are the one thing I am most likely to sling whenever I do an enforced clear-out of the darker reaches of our fridge.

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I am not alone as, after bread and milk, the potato is the most thrown away kitchen staple in the UK, with nearly 6m making their way to the great compost in the sky every year.

But, Tesco, the nation’s biggest supermarket chain, reckons it has come up with a solution to the very real problem of food waste – muddy potatoes.

Approximately 10 per cent of the company’s 2,650 stores will trial selling unwashed tubers for the first time in at least two generations in the belief that the extra layer of filth will prolong their life in the pantries and fridges of Great Britain.

This is a big step for no other reason that, as a nation, we have grown used to pristine-looking, perfectly shaped fruit and vegetables, especially if we don’t want to pay a small fortune for organic produce from beardy-types at farmers’ markets everywhere.

I’ve never understood why supermarket bosses are of the belief that consumers don’t like muck and mud, especially if the cost is affordable.

While there will always be those who won’t venture beyond the frozen food aisle and regard crispy pancakes as haute cuisine, most people are comfortable with the fact that vegetables are grown in fields.

Big business is finally waking up to the fact that shoppers don’t just care about convenience but are also very bothered about what they put into their bodies not to mention caring very much about wider issues such as the environment.

While nobody could ever accuse me of being a tree-hugger, the older I get, the more I understand the responsibility that I have to play my part in ensuring that my kids and future grandchildren are not left with a broken planet.

There’s no danger of me handcuffing myself to the gates of the nearest oil refinery but there are many ways that we can all do our ‘bit’.

Cutting down on what we throw away is a prime example of this because rotting grub emits harmful methane, a greenhouse gas.

Given the year that we’ve endured, there should be no real excuse for not using everything that we buy during our weekly shop as stuffing one’s face has become the favourite lockdown pastime of a nation.

The odd shrivelled spud aside, a lot less goes into our dustbin than it did this time last year, which is down to two things: that I’ve got a bit more time to think about what I’m going to cook each night plus the fact that, the older I become, the more I get like my late maternal grandfather.

He threw nothing away and his fridge and larder were a portal to a bygone era, an age when frugality wasn’t a dirty word.

Any attempt to bin sausages that had been leftover from a meal three nights before would be met with the response ‘they’ll get eaten’.

And they were – his cast iron constitution ensuring that he would be afflicted with nothing more than mild indigestion.

In our house, limp or brown veg ends up in a stir fry as Chinese five spice and soy sauce perk up almost anything.

We’ve also started making our own soup which is the closest we’ll ever come to Tom and Barbara from the classic 1970s’ sitcom the Good Life.

Being able to buy bags of dirty potatoes might not change the world but it is a step in the right direction.