The festive period brings with it a huge rise in the amount of single-use plastics. Everything from decorations, to wrapping and even some of the food on your Christmas table.
Here at the University of Hull we are asking everyone to take a pledge about reducing their plastic waste at Christmas by providing simple, easy and affordable ways to help minimise plastic waste in the home. Our 12 Days of Plastic-Free Christmas will run from December 1-12 and include, fun and easy to do swaps this Christmas.
Love them or hate them, you can’t get through Christmas without mince pies: in the UK we’ll buy an estimated 370 million of them over the holidays (1) yet consume only 80 % of these – 74 million go uneaten (2).
There’s also a lot of mince pie-related plastic: most mince pies are sold in plastic trays which typically hold six mince pies – that means nearly 62 million trays are needed to hold all the pies sold.
Given their role as a seasonal staple it’s would be great to find a way to reduce this huge pile of plastic waste.
The obvious solution is simple: make your own. It’s much easier than you might think and just needs some basic baking hardware and a few store-cupboard staples. Even making your own mincemeat is simple (a bonus: it’s very easy to make vegan friendly mincemeat at home).
All you need is dried fruit, a grated apple, clementine peel and juice, a bit of brandy, some spices and sugar gently cooked until you get a nice squidgy, jammy concoction is something even a ten-year old can manage.
Stick it into a clean jar (sterilised in the oven or by putting it through the dishwasher), leave it for a couple of weeks, and you’ll have a delicious mincemeat to fill your mince pies. We made enough to do about 24 standard-sized mince pies. The only waste from making our jar of mincemeat was an apple core and the remains of a clementine, both of which went into the compost bin.
Once you’ve made your mincemeat, you’ll need to put it in some pastry. A basic shortcrust will do fine (half the weight of fat to the weight of flour, rub the fat in, add a tiny bit of water, squidge it together and then bung it in the fridge for a bit before rolling, cutting, filling and baking, there are plenty of simple recipes out there even for a beginner baker.
Unless you’re making enough mince pies to feed an army, you won’t use a whole bag of flour, icing sugar or block of fat so the entire waste from your mince-pie production will be what went into the compost earlier.
And your mince-pies will be deliciously plastic-free.
Author: Kate Smith
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