A recipe for homemade alphabet spaghetti + some thoughts on food waste

I had a BAD morning yesterday.

We’ve been away quite a lot over Christmas and New Year and as a result my fridge has been a little neglected. I had a bit of clear out on Sunday and had to throw away the following items:

  • Half a bunch of celery (bendy)
  • A box of mushrooms (mushy, forming a puddle in the drawer)
  • Half a punnet of grapes (shrivelled like my face in the mornings)
  • One kiwi fruit (Yuk)
  • A bunch of coriander (sad times)

It made me feel bad.

dirty old fridge

My fridge

In my defence, I did balance it out a bit by using half the celery and a lot of slightly iffy tomatoes to make accidental* homemade alphabet spaghetti, (recipe below), but it still made me feel terrible.

Top food waste culprits

Do you remember me writing recently about the FoodSaver Fresh system? The FoodSaver Fresh is a vacuum sealing solution that keeps food fresh for twice as long as conventional fridge methods like zip seal bags, foil and cling film.

FoodSaver Fresh food preservation

Anywho, they did some research about food waste, to find out more about attitudes to food waste and to try to discover exactly what people are wasting more than anything else. The research found that Brits throw away nearly 2.5 billion food items each year with almost 3,000 food items per person wasted over the course of an average adult lifetime.


Although lettuce is one of the most expensive foods to produce versus nutritional value, it is one of the most wasted items, with more than a third of us (35%) throwing it away on a regular basis. Other food items that often go to waste are bread (24%) and cucumbers (22%).

I conducted my own research on Twitter and Facebook and the results were similar – salad in various forms, including fresh herbs, was the main culprit, but bread wasn’t far behind. I was slightly perplexed by the couple of people who said ‘cream’ – in my mind that’s akin to throwing away leftover biscuits or gin or something ridiculous like that. I mean, it just doesn’t happen does it??

Although salad is a tricky one – limp lettuce soup is really not a thing – I’ve recently started using up my leftover bread by making croutons and would definitely recommend it if you often find yourself with half a loaf going spare. All you have to do is cube the bread, drizzle it with a bit of oil and some salt and pepper, and whack it in the oven, spread out on a tray, for 15 minutes or so or until it looks done.

Store your homemade croutons in an airtight container (oh hello there FoodSaver Fresh) and they will keep for AGES. As well as adding them to soup, I’ve find they make a tasty alternative to crisps.

(God, I’m so cool aren’t I? Sat at home in the evenings munching on a bowl of homemade croutons.)

How to make your own alphabet spaghetti

If the FoodSaver Fresh research has made you feel as guilty as me, and you fancy using up your own fridge leftovers to make alphabet spaghetti, then here’s what to do:

Peel and chop a random selection of slightly limp vegetables. I used two red onions and half a bunch of celery. Carrots would work well too. Fry them off for a few minutes with salt and pepper. Add a few crushed but unpeeled garlic cloves if you have some of these lying around too.

Add all of your squishy tomatoes. I had two packets of on the vine tomatoes and half a punnet of cherry tomatoes. I threw them in whole, including stalks. Cook for a few minutes and then cover with 2 litres of hot water and boil for 40 minutes.

Push your soup hard through a colander to remove the chunks and skin and stalks and whatnot and boil it up for a bit longer to reduce it down. I’d like to say I timed this, but I didn’t, so just play it by ear and see what happens. Cooking is all about experimentation right?

Add around 200g of dried alphabet pasta. (I got this in Sainsbury’s.) Simmer until the pasta is cooked and has absorbed lots of the tomatoey goodness and then serve on some freshly buttered toast. If you have leftover alphabet spaghetti, just pop it in one of your FoodSaver Fresh canisters. (Assuming you bought the whole system after I first wrote about it yes?). Find out more about the FoodSaver Fresh here.

What are the foods that you end up throwing away? Do you have any cool leftover recipes to share?

Leave a comment and let me know!

homemade alphabet spaghetti recipe

*It was actually going to be a soup, but the proportions went a bit wrong and it accidentally turned into alphabet spaghetti! Win!

Sponsored post. Fridge photo by Teerawit Chankowet/shutterstock



1 Comment

  1. 9 January, 2018 / 4:21 am

    That fridge reminds me of something from a horror movie.

    I guess food waste is unavoidable when there’s too much food.

    Didn’t there was something like an alphabet pasta though.

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