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Don't waste food this summer!

Summer brunch ingredients often land up in the bin. And not only due to high summer temperatures. The German initiative "Too good for the bin!" (Zu gut für die Tonne!) backed by the Federal Ministry for Nutrition and Agriculture has come up with some good ideas for avoiding food waste in general and for brunches in particular.

Tip 1: Brunch ideas for leftovers

Brunch is the perfect meal for using up leftovers. Yesterday's soup or stew gets pureed and turned into a light snack, while yesterday's roast makes delicious open sandwiches. Or heat up the grill and pack leftover vegetables and cheeses in aluminium foil and grill them. If you plan to grill frozen meat, be sure to take it out of the freezer in time to let it defrost slowly in the fridge. Otherwise you run the risk that it will be tough and dry. Defrosting slowly in the fridge keeps most of the moisture in the meat and of course it's the most hygienic. Pour away any liquid that collects while the meat is defrosting – it's a real breeding medium for bacteria.

Tip 2: Keep cool in the heat

If you're entertaining, set up the buffet in the house or in a shady spot outside. Sunshine, apart from heating things up, actually damages many foodstuffs and results in them deteriorating faster. Cheese, for example, becomes runny and develops an unpleasant small and taste. Juices loose aroma and vitamins. Tips for avoiding this include keeping bottles tightly closed and as cool as possible – use an ice bucket if you have one. Balance the butter dish on a chiller block from the freezer. It's a good idea to put only smallish portions on the buffet table – these stay fresh and cool and can be topped up as they get eaten. Be especially careful with dishes containing raw fish, meat or eggs, like salmon, steak tatare or mayonnaise. They must be kept well chilled to avoid the risk of a salmonella infection.

Tip 3: Sour-tasting coffee?

If you make a pot of coffee in advance and keep it warm on a hot plate or warmer, you may find that it develops a sour taste after 15 minutes or so. So if you want to make coffee in advance, it's better to keep it in a thermos. Then it will retain the best flavour. You can also add milk to neutralize the sour flavour. If the milk turns flocculent when you pour the coffee in, this can be due to the acid in the coffee. Store coffee beans and ground coffee in the fridge in a tightly-closed container. The low temperatures slow down the loss of aroma and the container means that it can't absorb moisture or other smells from the fridge. If you don't store it correctly, ground coffee will loose a lot of flavour after three to five days and even beans will loose flavour after a fortnight.

Tip 4: How to avoid wilting salads

Couscous, potato and roast vegetable salads won't be damaged by a little warmth, but green salads wilt rather more quickly. They will stay crisp longer if you serve the dressing separately. In summer, a vinaigrette dressing is ideal rather than a richer mayonnaise. Homemade mayonnaise is to be avoided in summer anyway, unless you can guarantee it is kept chilled, because of the salmonella risk.

Tip 5: Reduce the amount of food left on plates

Large plates tempt people to overfill them and then find they can't eat everything they've piled on. So try setting out smaller plates – hungry guests can always go back for a refill ' and you'll be making a real contribution to reducing food waste. If is a lot of buffet food left over, why not offer it to your guests to take home? Otherwise, you'll find a lot of the food can be frozen or you can turn the leftovers into tasty snacks and meals.

Source: Zu gut für die Tonne