Water-friendly snacks for Hallowe'en treating
If you thought, "Hang on, what's this water friendliness when it's at home – and what has it got to do with our Hallowe'en goodies?", rest assured you're not alone. When we first heard about the water footprint of food stuffs, we were bamboozled. 7,000 litres of fresh water to produce one measly tray of beef mince? 87 bathtubs' worth? Astonishing.
Our planet has a very limited supply of fresh water yet almost everything the 7.5 billion of us do involves that water in some way. We use water directly in washing and drinking, of course, yet consider the millions upon billions of litres of 'hidden' fresh water used up every year in the production of the things we use, the clothes we wear and the food we eat.
Not to be too doom and gloom about it, but for a secure future for all of us, the time to cut back on our personal water footprints is right now. So get those leaky loos and dripping taps sorted quick smart, buy reclaimed and reusable wherever you can, shorten that shower time and browse your local charity shops and vintage stalls for a uniquely spiffy Autumn/Winter 2018 look.
So why the Hallowe'en link, you may still be thinking? Well, since the modern version of the festival of death revolves around elaborate snacking rituals, it's as good a place as any to start boning up on more water-friendly treating. And we have just one rule-of-thumb:
Avoid chocolate-based sweets, switch to sugar-based sweets
Bad news for chocoholics, sorry... the water footprint of our best beloved is astronomically high. To grow and process those cocoa beans into a single 100g bar of your chocolate of choice, we're looking at around 1700 litres of fresh water on average. Imagine filling up enough two-litre pop bottles to entirely cover the downstairs floor, upstairs floor and the stairs in a two-bed terrace and you'll be in the right area.
Indulge a pure sweet tooth instead, as the amount of water needed to refine 100g standard white sugar from sugar cane would barely fill our imaginary terrace's bathroom with hypothetical pop bottles – just 170 litres. To get even more water-friendly, choose Silver Spoon brand sugar for your home baking: made from 100% East Anglian sugar beet, lower food mileage is one of the reasons it comes in at just 87 litres of water per 100g from field to spoon.
Make your own Hallowe'en inspired recipes
Vegan meringue Hallowe'en ghosts – this ace recipe substitutes chickpea brine for egg whites for perfect fluffy meringue at an even lower water footprint. No need to worry about egg allergies, either!
Traditional toffee apples – seems they knew a thing or two about sneaking fruit into kids' diets in the olden days. Grab some local apples and a bag or three of British-made toffees for a low carbon, water-friendly treat of treats.
Hallowe'en piñata biscuits – spook the neighbours with a burst of popping candy within these layered and iced biscuits. These chunky ghosts are lovely, or you could easily substitute your own chilling designs.
Running out of time? Where to buy water-friendlier sweets
with giving choccy the swerve, opt for lightly packaged sweets over
individually wrapped or double wrapped multipacks. As well as posing
a recycling conundrum, the processing of that extra packaging ups the
water cost of your Hallowe'en treating.
the beef product that puts the 'gel' in most jelly sweets, also has a
high associated water cost. Head for the supermarket for classic
Jelly Tots, Sherbert Dip Dabs, Starburst and Skittles, all
vegetarian. And who can resist a pack of veggie Percies from M&S?
Hmm, suddenly feeling a bit peckish...
*All food water footprints calculated using waterfootprint.org's downloadable data resources.