Tag

drinks

Food & Drink, Food Waste Tips

What to do With Leftover Wine

I’ll admit, the question, what to do with leftover wine, doesn’t really pass my lips very often. However, I have found myself asking that question with greater frequency this year, as gatherings with friends and family have been curtailed.

As the only one in my household who likes wine, a whole bottle of red wine is not something I can drink by myself in one sitting. In younger years, oh yes, with abandon! But now, my head aches in advance at the mere thought of drinking a whole bottle. I try so very hard (so hard!) not to waste wine, but sometimes it just can’t be helped.

Is Wine Waste A Problem?

The thing is wine waste is a surprisingly large problem. According to research by UK wine merchant Laithwaites, the average British household throws away around two glasses of wine a week on average. This is the equivalent of 624m bottles nationally, which is enough to fill 333 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

Whilst the carbon footprint of producing and transport wine is hard to calculate, it undoubtedly does have a footprint, and it’s important to minimise food waste where we can.

How long does wine last for once opened?

First off, it’s important to know how long opened wine can be stored for before going bad. As a student I used in bars and so the following guide is imprinted in my brain:

  • Opened white wine lasts for up to three days in a refrigerator.
  • Opened Prosecco or Cava again stores for up to three days in the fridge.
  • Champagne can store for up to five days in the fridge.
  • Rose wine can store for up to five days in the fridge
  • Open red wine lasts for up to five days stored in a cool dark place, such as a cupboard.
  • Fortified wines, such as sherry and port, are best if drank within 28 days of opening, and stored in a cool dark place.

In all cases, make sure you replace the cork, lid if it’s a screw top, or use a bottle stop.

tips on using up leftover wine

What to do with leftover wine?

If you can’t drink your wine before it goes off – which you’ll know by that classic vinegar smell and taste – then here are some ideas with what to do with leftover wine.

Freeze It

One of the best ways to use leftover wine is to pour it into ice cube trays or muffin trays and freeze it to use in future recipes, such as stews, sauces, or bolognese.

Once frozen, you can pop them out into a container for storage, and then use them in recipes that call for a small quantity of wine. Bear in the mind that because of the alcohol content of the wine, the frozen cubes of wine won’t be as hard as standard ice-cubes made of water, but they will be solid enough to transfer into a tub or bag.

Cook With It

If you’re planning on cooking with wine straight away then skip the freezing, and proceed straight to cooking. Leftover wine is great way to add flavour to your cooking. Here are five vegan recipes that call for wine:

Mushroom Bourginon

cooking with leftover wine

The Simple Veganista’s comforting autumnal recipe for Mushroom Bourginon calls for red wine to add flavour and depth.

Garlic and White Wine Pasta

vegan recipe for using up leftover wine

The Minimalist’s Baker’s recipe for garlic and white wine pasta with brussels sprouts is high up on my list of recipes to try this winter. I love brussels sprouts.

Red Wine Braised Lentils

leftover wine vegan recipe

This recipe for red wine braised lentils from Give It Some Thyme is another great autumnal dish.

Red Wine Brownies

vegan brownie recipe
vegave

Finally, hankering after something sweet? These vegan brownies, are made with red wine for added flavour.

Any other tips or recipes for using up leftover wine? Do share with Moral Fibres readers in the comments below. And find more food waste tips this way.

Food & Drink, Kitchen Staples

ad | Small Beer making huge environmental strides

best eco-friendly beer
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It goes without saying that Britain is a nation of beer lovers, with 8.5 billion pints of beer sold in the UK in 2018.

8.5 billion pints of beer is a lot of water, but that’s not the whole picture. Did you know that to industrially brew one single pint of beer, this process typically requires 8-10 pints of water? So, to produce those 8.5 billion pints of beer requires around a staggering 855 billion pints of water.

As someone who enjoys the occasional beer, I was over the moon to hear about South Bermondsey based craft brewers Small Beer. As well as producing great tasting vegan low alcohol ‘small’ beers, they have ingeniously designed a brewing system that requires just 1 ½ pints of water to brew one pint of Small Beer.

How has Small Beer managed to save so much water? In most commercial breweries, waste products are drained on to the floor, which is then hosed down the drain.⁠ Instead, Small Beer operates differently – with the country’s only ‘Dry Floor’ policy that saves hundreds of litres of water every day.

So much so, that since their first commercial brew in 2017, Small Beer says they’ve saved 1.4 million litres of water.

Why Stop At Saving Water?

Small Beer hasn’t just stopped at saving water. All aspects of sustainability have been considered. From the obvious, such as the beer labels, boxes, and business cards being made from 100% recycled materials; to the other sustainability aspects that are often overlooked, like the efficiency of their packaging.

You see, all Small Beers are packaged in stubby bottles because their design allows 672 litres of beer to fit on one pallet vs. the usual 480 litres. This helps them to reduce their carbon footprint by maximising the volume of stock per delivery. This is the kind of thinking that really impresses me.

Zero-waste principles are also employed. Spent grain is delivered to a partner farm, for use as feed for cows. Even their grain sacks, which their malt supplier can’t refill, are donated to BOST, a social and environmental charity, based locally, who use them for storing and moving gardening materials across their neighbourhood programmes.⁠

Small Beer has been recognised by their ethical production and responsible brewing practices, by, in 2019, becoming London’s first B-CORP™ certified brewery. This is a certification that recognises businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability, and help build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.

The Moral Fibres Taste Test

eco friendly beer

Of course, as Small Beer themselves say: “We’re not a ‘sustainable beer’. We’re a great tasting beer that brews with our world in mind“.

Impressed by Small Beer’s eco-credentials, and intrigued by low-alcohol beer, my partner and I sampled a few of Small Beer’s selection to test them on their taste claims. I know, I know, it’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it!

We tried:

  • The 2.1% Lager – described as a classic pilsner-style, with a crisp citrus bite.
  • The 2.5% Session Pale – a pale ale, full of juicy bitterness and a balanced tropical finish.
  • The 2.7% Steam – a rich amber style beer, bridging the gap between lager & ale.
  • And finally, the 1.0% Dark Lager – which looks and smells like a stout or a porter, but drinks like a lager.

I always imagined low-alcohol beer to taste quite watery, but this was definitely not the case with Small Beer – each beer is ram-packed full of flavour. We were blown away by the Dark Lager, which was hands down our favourite, with its hints of chocolate and coffee.  The refreshing citrus flavours of the Session Pale came a close second, however, we certainly wouldn’t turn down the Steam or Lager if offered!

As well as the flavour, what we really appreciated, being people that, let’s just say, are not in their twenties, or, ahem, thirties anymore, is that you can (responsibly) enjoy a few great tasting craft beers of an evening, and not have a sore head in the morning. All the joy, and none of the consequences!

Keen to try out Small Beer for yourself? Visit the Small Beer website, where you can shop for their beers online for home delivery, and follow them on social media. Find Small Beer on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.