Turn your broccoli stalks into healthy chips. Peel the stalks and slice them finely. Toss them in some olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Spread them in a single layer on a tray and then bake in a hot oven until they are golden. Keep an eye on them as they cook and turn them once.
Herbs can be dried in the microwave—a process that, in fact, preserves their flavour better than using ovens or dehydrators. Remove stems, place herbs between two paper towels, and microwave on full power for 1 minute. If not completely dry, continue to cook and check in 20-second intervals. Stop early if you smell burning.
After a delicious roast chicken meal, I throw the carcass into a pot with water to simmer while we do the dishes. By the time we’re finished, it is ready to strip any leftover morsels from bones. If not planning a soup or risotto in next day or so, I just pop it in ice cream container in the freezer so next time I’m needing stock…voila!
Try roasting chunks of apple with potatoes, onion and lots of sage leaves. I usually add the apples later in the cooking time. Works best with apples that hold their shape, but still nice if they break down a bit. Delicious when you come across the tangy sweet apple amongst the potato! I don’t eat meat but I think it would be great with roast pork, or sausages.
Keep a running list of your freezer contents and stick it to the freezer with a magnet. When the lists get too messy with crossing out and additions write it out again. It reminds me what is in there that needs using. For my big upright freezer which has drawers I use a list for each drawer and attach it in the correct order.
Whenever we catch fresh crabs or prawns, we always freeze the empty shells. When I want to make a sauce for seafood, or a soup, I simmer the shells with water while I prepare the rest of my meal, smashing the shells while they simmer to extract all the flavour. Then I strain the shells off and put them in my compost heap.
Don’t buy large quantities (2 loaves of bread; 5 corn cobs, etc) because you think you will save money. Buy what you need only. In my experience, I appreciate the food more, and make it go further when I shop this way.
Any leftover bread I build up for a few days, then I make it into stuffing. I wrap it in tinfoil & freeze. I always have stuffing on hand when needed: just place the frozen portion in the oven 160° for 15-20 mins.
If you have leftover icing, use it to make your own vanilla creme biscuits. Grab a couple of vanilla wines or superwines spread the icing over one half and then sandwich them together. You could even use gingernuts to make your own ginger kisses. Leftover icing can stay in the fridge for 2-3 days but can also be frozen.
I used to freeze bananas whole in their skin. They used to take up unnecessary space in the freezer because of their bendy shape and then when they defrosted the skin was all slimy to peel off. Now I quickly chop them up and pop them on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Once they are frozen you can pop them into a ziplock bag to fit any free space in your fridge, stack them up or lay them out flat. Then when you need some banana for smoothies and baking you can just defrost what you need. You can also reuse the baking paper for next time.
Cut the zucchini into rounds, blanch and then freeze free flow on a tray until they are frozen. Once frozen, portion into ziplock bags. Alternatively, grate the zucchini and freeze it in ziplock bags. It may be watery when it thaws, so just squeeze out the excess liquid before using.
Washing your berries in a solution of vinegar and water will extend their shelf-life by days. In a large bowl, mix 1 cup of vinegar to 3 cups of water— and give your berries a dunk. The vinegar will eliminate any mould and bacteria. Then rinse under the tap to get rid of any lingering vinegar taste. They need to be as dry as possible before going back in the fridge as moisture is the enemy, so dry them out on paper towels. Then place in a container lined with a fresh paper towel.