Tag: surplus

Turning surplus produce into vinegar and ferments

11th Feb 20 by Keenan Humble, Development Chef, Alchemic Kitchen

At this time of year there is an abundance of citrus fruit in markets, which means that there is (sadly) a large amount going to waste.

At the Alchemic Kitchen we have spent the first few weeks of 2020 replenishing our stocks of jams, marmalade and chutney after a busy Christmas period sending hampers across the country.

We received an abundance of cranberries, strawberries, apples, blood oranges and limes (all produce that was destined for the bin). With them we have made Berry Crush Jam (cranberry, strawberry & basil), Coco-Loco Marmalade (orange, limes, cardamom & coconut) and Gamekeepers Chutney (cranberry, apple, onion & ginger). As we are suitably re-stocked and ready to do it all again for Valentine’s day, the beginning of February has been all about fermenting and making vinegars from fruit peels and cores.

We currently have jars of apple peels, bruised cranberries and citrus & chilli trimmings fermenting, ticking over, which will develop into the first batches of vinegar of Alchemic Kitchen’s tenure at our base in Stanley Grange. I am planning on using the apple vinegar to make an apple balsamic product that can be used for a sweet onion marmalade, we do not have such clear plans for the other two but I am sure we will find a use for them. It will be handy to have them to pickle vegetables as we get them, lift dishes we prepare for catering events and accent future products. I personally love this as we are reducing the costs of our products, becoming more self-sufficient and really making the produce we rescue stretch as far as possible.

At this time of year there is an abundance of citrus fruit in markets, which means that there is (sadly) a large amount going to waste. Rather than turn all of it into marmalade, we decided that we would use some in savoury pickles and condiments. We are therefore waiting on the results of our salted limes, which will go on to become lime pickle and blood oranges, which are sitting in a salt brine made of their own juice and scotch bonnet chillies.

Once the fruit has served its time in salt brine, it will be cooked with spices like mustard seed, coriander and ground ginger before being jarred and left to mature. We can then pop them open as and when we need them. I plan to use them in cheese toasties at the container (for the other tenants’ lunches, not just mine).


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Where and how can I donate my surplus food?

26th Jan 18 by Christina O'Sullivan

Got surplus food and want to feed bellies not bins? 

Below is a list of organisations who can receive and use, or otherwise help with, donations of surplus food. Some of these organisations are active only in London, while others operate in various regions throughout the UK.  For more information please visit the websites of the relevant organisation.


FareShare accepts food from businesses and uses any stock that is food safe, including those requiring chillers, freezers, and ambient storage. They products such as those with packaging errors, short-dated food, seasonal stock, manufacturing errors, damages, etc., including meat, fish, eggs and dairy products; fruit and vegetables; chilled food, such as ready meals or drinks; frozen food, or chilled food that has been blast frozen; ambient goods, such as pasta, tins and cereals; and bakery. They do not accept cooked food from events. They have hubs all over the country and the FareShare Go Scheme connects supermarkets with local charity or community groups.

FoodCycle runs community events to cook and serve donated food to those in need across the UK. They work with major food retailers including Marks and Spencer, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Waitrose, and with local independent retailers and markets.

Neighbourly puts local stores that have surplus in direct contact with the charities and projects that can get the food to people who need it. Works with M&S, Lidl, and others.

Real Junk Food Project is a collaborative effort between catering professionals and activists to bring about a radical change in the food system. RJFP intercept food that is past its expiration date, prepare the food and serve it in their cafés on a pay as you feel basis.  There may be an RJFP open near you, or coming soon or you could open your own. Contact them via their Facebook page to find out.

Olio is an app that works with shops and cafés to reduce food waste. Their Food Waste Hero (FWH) programme involves OLIO matching volunteers with shops or cafes. They will collect any unsold surplus food at the end of the day and share within the local community. In addition, Olio’s app enables cafes or shops to upload information about surplus food directly. Local residents will be notified when the shop or cafe shares its unsold food, and they can message the shop or cafe to confirm collection. Finally, shops or cafes can host a drop box, a plastic OLIO box placed in the shop or café so that neighbours can exchange food without having to arrange for a doorstep collection.

Plan Zheroes accepts big and small food donations from restaurants, catering companies, supermarkets, food stores, stalls, etc. either regularly or occasionally. Businesses are matched with local charities who transport the food.

Too Good to Go is a food sharing app that collaborates with restaurants and food businesses around the country to redistribute their excess at the end of the day. Surplus produce is sold at a reduced price for the app users, who pick up their meal at a specific time (usually at the end of business hours).

Community Fridges exist across the country. They are run by different groups and organisations but all collaborate with local businesses and community groups to provide donated surplus food for local people.


City Harvest collects nutritious surplus food from all segments of the food industry including restaurants, grocers, manufacturers, wholesalers, hotels and caterers in London and donates the produce to redistribution char


Community Food Enterprise is a social enterprise. They collect surplus food and redistribute it to community groups in East London. CFE greatly needs surplus tinned fruit, cereal, coffee, cooking oils – fruit and vegetable donations would also be appreciated. They are always looking for volunteers.

DayOld is a food surplus social enterprise tackling food waste and food poverty in London. DayOld sells surplus baked goods (from brownies to cinnamon rolls to artisan loaves of bread) through treat boxes, office pop-ups, and event catering. Their baked goods are surplus, collected from artisan bakeries the previous day, preventing them from going to waste. Their profits become cash donations to charities addressing child hunger.

The Felix Project Works with supermarkets, wholesalers, and retailers to distribute donated food. As of April 2017 the organization will provide fruit, vegetables, bakery and dairy products, as well as dried goods. It does not

provide meat or fish, or accept or deliver supplies beyond the use by date.

Save the date café are an East London group fighting to prevent food waste. They turn surplus food into delicious meals and serve them on a pay as you feel basis.

The People’s Kitchen are community feasts held around London for people to share skills and food. The feasts rely on surplus donations from various retailers.

London Street Food Bank  A co-operative of volunteers who collect and distribute non-perishable foods for low I

ncome or non-income families. Also includes a group of volunteers who collect daily leftover food, such as sandwiches, rolls, salads etc. from retail food outlets and distributes them to the homeless on the streets of London.  (See also listing below)

North London Action for the Homeless accepts donations of tinned vegetarian food and accepts large donations of quality, fresh ingredients. In particular, they need regular donations of tea, sugar, squash, oil, long life milk, vegetable stock, tinned tomatoes, pasta and lentils.

South East

UK Harvest is a perishable food rescue operation that collects quality excess food from commercial outlets and delivers it to charities in West Sussex. They collect from all kinds of businesses; from fruit & veg markets, to corporate companies to film and TV shoots. If your business has excess food, you can sign up to donate here. They do not provide meat or fish, or accept or deliver supplies beyond the use by date

South West

Exeter Food Action rescues excess food from shops and suppliers and redistributes it to local charity organisations. They are always looking for new donation sources.

North West

The Bread and Butter Thing offer a deeply discounted food service to its community in Greater Manchester. They accept donations from local and national suppliers as well as from community members and take one off as well as regular donations.










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