Updated: Sep 17

If you're yet to use your lockdown to perfect the art of sourdough I can highly recommend you follow The Boy Who Bakes for an easy tutorial. Trust me when I say to follow all the steps to a T. I've made many a batch where I skipped a step, forgot about the dough and went to bed but still popped it in the oven the next day. Please learn from my mistakes, I can vouch for the fact that the best results come from following Edd's advice.



I get a lot of satisfaction out of making sourdough and not just from being able to enjoy a fresh loaf. My only gripe is that when you start out, there is a lot of discard and I hate waste. Discard for those not on the sourdough bandwagon is the left over starter that is no longer active so not used in your final bake. So naturally, I googled and got advice on what to do with the excess to avoid waste and here is what I've tried and can recommend.



Dehydrate

Dehydrate seemed like the perfect solution. It's easy to dehydrate sourdough, simply spread it thinly on a lined baking tray and leave in a cool dry place until completely dried out. Break into shards and store in an airtight container.



The problem I found with this method is to bring it back to life and active I had to feed the starter for 3 days which left me with more discard than I started with. So I wouldn't recommend this method unless you're taking a big break from baking. In other words, this is a great way to store starter for a long period of time. It could also be a nice way to gift your starter if you have to send it by post though.


For those who are curious, I used this method from King Arthur Baking Company.


Crumpets

This would have to be the tastiest way to use up your discard. And so very simple with only 5 ingredients you can whip up a batch for brekkie. They are so tasty and are sure to impress the family. I love this recipe too as it uses up a whole 200g of discard for 4 crumpets, making it a quick way to use up your discard when you've got a lot to get through. I followed the Essential Ingredient recipe and found it worked really well.


Crackers

This is another tasty way to use up discard and could be nice to do if you've got friends coming over (or perhaps to send to friends to enjoy while you zoom with a glass of wine and cheese together). There are so many recipes out there you can try and it's worth experimenting a few recipes until you find the one you like. I trialled The Clever Carrots Puffed Sourdough Crackers with Gruyere and Thyme. My only tip would be to cut your crackers bigger than you want the final result as they shrink during baking.


While it was a nice treat to have fresh homemade crackers, you only use 60g of discard for a whole lot of crackers that you need to eat in three days. So only make this if you're ready to eat the crackers.


I also tried King Arthur Bakings recipe and loved it. It's so simple and you don't need to waste time using a cookie cutter. You can also use what herbs you have lying around, I used up the last of a mixed Italian herb I had that was nearing it's best before date. I also added a some finely grated parmesan to top off the crackers. I added the cheese while the crackers were still hot so the cheese slightly melted and stuck to the crackers. The best part about this recipe is it uses a whole cup of discard. This makes it the perfect recipe if you have a lot of discard to use.


Freeze

This is by far the easiest way to keep your discard. I've had success putting the leftover starter in a container in 35g lots (the amount I need for 1 loaf) and freezing. When I'm ready I take out of the freezer, allow to thaw and then feed as normal. It's usually ready the next day. The Spruce Eats has more advice on freezing that I found helpful.


Tweak Your Starter Method

I feel like my mind was blown when I was told to just tweak my feeding schedule to only use the amount of starter that I would need and not have any leftovers. Or use just enough to have a little left over that you can chill or freeze until your next batch. Using The Boy Who Bakes equations I use 35g starter, 35g flour and 35g water to feed a starter when I don't want any left overs. If I want left overs to use for my next batch, ie I've run out of all my starter then I go back to his full recommendations.


If you've tried another option, I'd love to hear it.

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  • meganalsford

Whether you've accidentally ordered too many mushrooms (I thought I bought 5 individual mushrooms but instead received 5 x 500g bags), you've grown you're own and they all popped up at once or you saw a bargain on bulk mushrooms there is a solution to use them and save them from waste. Mushroom season in Victoria is late Feb through to May, when the weather is wetter but the ground is still warm enough to support their growth. So you might not have too many spares just yet. But mushrooms can grow all year round.



Mushrooms might be little but they are mighty when it comes to their nutritional value. They are low in energy for those trying to keep their kilojoule intake down but are a good source of antioxidants. In one study they were ranked 5th highest antioxidant content for veggies (spinach was #1) (1).


Courtesy of Use It All, full review here, and my accidental bulk order of mushrooms I've got first hand experience in how to use up these little nutritional powerhouses in more ways than one.


The best way to use mushies, in my opinion, is to cook them up fresh. I love mushrooms so I simply lightly fried them and added them to some sourdough toast. While I used garlic and thyme to flavour this dish, other herbs such as marjoram, chives, pepper, dill, parsley, tarragon, basil, oregano or rosemary also compliment them nicely.



I also trialled dehydrating the mushrooms. This is a very simple way to preserve mushrooms. Just wipe off any visible dirt, if any, slice and spread on a lined tray. Slow bake at 130oC or lower until completely dry and crisp. It took me about 6 hours. Dried in an airtight container they can last up to 1 year. To use, either grind into a fine powder and use to season your meals in place of salt. To rehydrate, I found I needed to add boiling water and leave to soak for at least 30 minutes. The water you leave behind can go into stock or use it to water your plants. I used the dehydrated mushrooms in a minestrone and they were delicious.



The other recipe I trialled was a mushroom bolognese. I made a big batch and placed it into sterilised jars and preserved them in my oven.


It tastes great as is on top of pasta or as a sauce for your protein of choice, I add a few drops of chilli sauce too. I found the sauce as a pasta addition to be a little low in protein. To fix this, I simply throw in some red lentils with the pasta I'm cooking and once the pasta is cooked, the lentils are done too. Strain and mix through the mushroom sauce. Top with cheese if you wish (highly recommend) and enjoy. This dish is a HUGE hit with my fussy toddler.



So there you have it, 4 easy ways to use up mushrooms:

  • Eat straight away with a range of herbs for added flavour

  • Dehydrate and use in sauces, soups or stocks

  • Dehydrate and crush to use as a replacement for salt

  • Make into a bolognese sauce to top your protein or pasta.



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  • meganalsford

I've mentioned it before but food waste is a big problem across the globe and it's a very easy way to minimise your individual impact on the environment. This book is a simple guide on how to do just that.



Amazingly 1/3 of all the food produced across the world is wasted! That isn't only lost food that can sometimes be sent to landfill where it struggles to break down but also a loss of the water that was used to produce it. To put this into perspective, if food waste was a country, it would be the third largest greenhouse gas emitter, behind the USA and China.


In Australia 1 in every 5 bags of groceries is thrown out! Next time you do your grocery shop, think about sending 1 of those bags straight to landfill and it really opens your eyes to just how wasteful it is. The majority of food waste is food that never reaches the consumer, that is food wasted during farming, production or distribution. But when you consider 40% of all food waste in Melbourne comes from cafes, restaurants and homes, there is still a lot more that we as individuals can do to make a difference.


That is why I was so excited to receive the Use It All recipe book as a gift from my work colleagues (how lucky am I?). This books ticks many boxes for me:

  • Buy seasonally - food is more nutritious and uses less resources when grown to season

  • Buy whole - save food waste and less packaging

  • Use everything - minimise your food waste buy using what you can

  • Meal planning made easy - who wouldn't want to make their weekly shop easier?

  • Easy substitutions - this recipe book encourages you to experiment and use what you already have in the fridge or cupboard so you can buy less

  • Storage advice to keep fresh produce fresh for as long as possible.



There is so much to love about this recipe book, the recipes are simple, healthy and flexible. The idea being you purchase the ingredients shown in one of the 8 shopping baskets, based on what's in season. The authors then take you through a range of connected recipes and ideas to feed the family and use every last bit of the produce.


I'll admit I haven't bought a basket as shown, maybe I have problems with following directions. Instead I now feel more confident to buy bulk produce (think a whole pumpkin rather than a portion which is wrapped in plastic) knowing I'll be able to use the lot. This book allows me to buy fruit, veg or meat in bulk based on what's in season and what's on special saving money along the way. When I get home I simply flick to that section and discover all the ways I can use my new purchases from leaf to root. Because the book uses common and simple ingredients and suggests swaps I can usually whip up their recipes without having to buy additional items.


Another bonus is the beautiful is the imagery. But I'm a sucker for food photography done well.


The recipes I've tried so far and loved are:

  • Dehydrated mushrooms

  • Mushroom bolognaise - I added lentils to mine to boost the protein.

  • Lemon and lime marmalade

  • Whole broccoli pesto - trust me this one is incredible

  • Winter vegetable salad.

Overall, I can highly recommend this recipe book for anyone who is looking to reduce their food waste, learn how to plan meals and loves to cook in a stress free and experimental way.


I for one can't wait to cook more of the recipes!


You can buy the book straight from the authors here: https://cornersmith.com.au/products/use-it-all


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