the secret cook – the joys of uk tomatoes, and reducing our food waste

I’m delighted to see that the tomatoes in the Banc Organics Shop are now UK ones. This means fewer air miles and generally better flavour, all at a very reasonable price. Tomatoes are one of the products named in Tom Hunt’s book “Eating for Pleasure, People and Planet” as generally containing the most pesticides, so buying organic supports your and your family’s health, while minimising your environmental footprint.
To reduce our personal environmental impact one of the big changes we can all try to make is to increase our consumption of fruit and vegetables, while decreasing our meat and dairy use. This is, for me, a work in progress, and using herbs and spices helps to support making tasty and nutritious meals that don’t necessarily contain meat and dairy.
If we all avoid waste by ensuring we use all our food and don’t end up throwing food away, this can have a huge impact on our greenhouse gas emissions. Check out the WRAP campaign’s “Love Food Hate Waste” (LFHW) which shows that 19% (weight) of food and drink brought into the home is thrown away. If this goes to landfill it generates methane, so use your food or compost bin to avoid this. Even better though is to use all the food and drink we buy, which would provide an equivalent environmental impact to taking 1 in 4 cars off the road. Try to use your leftovers, for example next day’s lunch! The freezer is your friend and can help you to manage avoiding waste. I have frozen portions of tomatoes left from a tin where you only use part of the contents, but do get some labels for your containers. Then you can avoid a disappointing lunch at work that I thought was soup and turned out to be chicken stock!

Anyway here is a recipe for using your lovely organic UK tomatoes!

Tomato salsa for 4


250g tomatoes, chopped up into approximately 1/2 -1 cm pieces.
Several spring onions (adjust to taste) or part of a small red onion or shallot, or some chives, chopped into small pieces
Juice of 1 lime
Small bunch of coriander (you can include the stalks too) chopped roughly
Fresh chilli finely chopped (seeds can be included, but it will be hotter)
part of a chilli is generally enough for most people, but this is a matter of personal (and family) taste.
Salt and Pepper to taste.

Then mix ingredients together and either use immediately or set aside for a short while. The flavours improve at room temperature, so it is worth a short wait.

Ideally tomatoes should be kept outside the fridge, but you may need to balance this with when you can use them, as they don’t last so well. Just always try to get them out early to eat at room temperature if they’ve been kept in the fridge.

This recipe makes me feel like summer is coming, after a long cold winter of lockdown. Time to open up to the warmth and joy of summer vegetables.