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Your tips to reduce food waste

We each have things we do to make the most of our food. Maybe you make smoothies from brown bananas or your Mum has a special way of storing celery?

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What do you do to reduce your food waste?
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How to Keep Berries Fresh for Longer

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.

By: Adapted from the Huffington Post


1 cup jam

Fill ½ cup with sliced strawberries or other berries. You only need about 3 large strawberries or 1/2 a punnet of blueberries. Place in an 8 cup glass measuring jug with a spout or a Pyrex bowl. Stir in ½ cup sugar. Microwave on High for 5 -6 minutes, stirring every 1 minute. Makes approx. 1/4 cup of jam – the perfect amount for scones!

( Note if your jam threatens to bubble up and over the top of the jug just pause and stir more frequently)

By: Leanne, Waimakariri District


Sunday soup

One thing that worked well for our large flat was Sunday vegetable soup.

Before we would buy our vegetables at the Sunday markets we would try to use all of the leftover vegetables that we already had. Soup was a good way to do it – we’d start with a base of stock and potato, or potato, carrot & celery, or stock and coconut milk, and then just add ingredients from there, experimenting with different veges, spices and textures to make something delicious. We’d keep it simmering all day and developed quite a few great recipes this way!

By: Frith, Wellington


Banana gelato

Too many bananas or have they gone too far? Peel and freeze, next day tip into food processor with some cocoa powder or frozen berries, process well and you have an instant frozen treat you would be hard to not call gelato! Very healthy low fat instant dessert – you could throw in a tablespoon or two of yogurt to make creamier…

By: Linda, Nelson


Fresh Produce

Buy your fresh produce from a greengrocer where possible. You can choose every item you buy. It’s fresher and cheaper (mushrooms at my shop are $5.00 cheaper than the supermarket). Most important, the staff are knowledgeable about where their stuff came from and how to use it!

By: Judith, Hamilton


No waste

Have small plastic money bags from the bank on hand so that you can freeze small leftovers. This is ideal if you have something small like just 1 egg white.

By: Margaret, Picton


Food makeover

Use leftover casserole or stew as soup base. Chop anything large, add liquid stock and water, add extra chopped veges and/or a can of chopped tomatoes and a handful pasta when the vegetables are nearly cooked.

By: Carla, Timaru


Extra useful coleslaw

When you buy or make coleslaw don’t mix the dressing through it – add dressing to each serve on the plate. This helps control calories and cuts how much dressing you need. Plus any leftover coleslaw has a longer shelf life and can be used in a stir-fry or soup.

By: Anne-Marie, Christchurch


Cook just enough

I cook enough for two meals at the most, unless a special occasion. If there is some leftover then I feed to the local birds.

By: Judith, Lower Hutt


Freezer Fresh Herbs

Waste not want not! A great way to keep fresh herbs that are beginning to wilt is to put them in ice cube trays with water and freeze them. Now you will always have fresh herbs at hand

By: Fiona, Leeston


Cook once eat twice

I love mince dishes like pasta bake, spaghetti bolognaise and shepherds pie. I like to bulk them up with lentils and hidden veggies like grated pumpkin and carrots! If we have leftovers I will refry them and put them on toast with a poached egg in the middle or mix in a tin of beans and turn into nachos with some extra seasonings.

By: Jessie, Hastings


Use up uneaten lunchbox fruit

My tip is to freeze the uneaten fruit from kids lunchboxes to add to a smoothie later

By: Diane, Hastings


Turn Sunday roast leftovers into a dry style curry

Something we like to do with our “Sunday Roast” leftovers is to incorporate them into a recipe loosely based on a Jhal Farazi – its a dry style curry. A great fast and easy ‘one pot wonder’. You can use any left over meat, pork, chicken, beef or lamb and it’s also a fantastic way to use any leftover roast veggies (we sometimes roast extra potatoes and kumara just so we have some for this ‘leftover’ meal) . Here’s a recipe for Jhal Farazi

By: Angela, Hastings


Crunch celery for longer

When you buy celery, cut the bottom off and place in a jug of water and put in the fridge. The celery will last for a week and will still be firm and crunchy

By: Emma, Rolleston


Michelle’s suggestions on how not to waste any food….

• You don’t need to peel vegetables, the skin is the most nutritious part
• Always take leftovers for lunch or eat for the next meal
• Freeze excess portions
• Avoid the ‘two-for’ advertisements in supermarkets
• Buy fresh fruit and vegetables for a few days at a time only
• Use a biobag bin in the kitchen for organic vegetable scraps but no meat
• Use a compost bin in the garden or give your scraps to neighbours who have one

By: Michelle, Auckland


Don’t be afraid of best before dates!

I have a Nespresso machine and have recently stumbled across These guys sell short dated and dated original Nespresso pods (and original Dolce Gusto pods). The Nespresso pods are air tight sealed and so the coffee tastes the same to me whether they are in date or beyond their date. Plus they are cheaper. So, my tip is, don’t let a best before date scare you off.

By: Ross, Auckland


Poach your feijoas with skins on

I poach halved feijoas in a light syrup with sliced fresh ginger until tender. Pack fruit into hot sterilised jars, overflow with hot syrup & seal. The skins lose some of the tartness and are totally edible and you save time and waste less by not peeling them.

By: Jennifer , Auckland


“Compost Jelly-jam”

I love making seedless, skinless jam.

One of my favourites uses things that normally go straight into the compost; apple peel and orange peel.

I remove and freeze the zest of the orange for cakes and scones, then add the peel to a bag and freeze it. I peel apples for various needs and freeze the washed peel. Then, when I have enough, I take it out, add it to the orange peel and a nub of ginger and add enough water to bring it to a rapid boil. I leave it to cool, so the ginger infuses more. Then strain the juices off. Add the required sugar (usually jam sugar or fructose) and make jelly-jam in the usual way. Apple, orange and ginger make for a lovely taste and on average, from 1kg sugar, I get 6 – 8 decent sized jars, that last many months. All from fruit waste. The left-over pulp goes back to the compost and rots down extra fast.

I also freeze any juice left when my husband cooks his fruit to go in his yoghurt. (otherwise the yoghurt gets too slack and doesn’t keep well.) The little cubes of juice (often many different fruits, including stone fruit when in season) soon mount up and get used to make a mixed fruit jelly-jam, two or three times a year. I don’t buy jam often at all. And using the right fruits means I can reduce the sugar content and still get a good result.

Much less waste and real fruit flavour on your toast or scones! Delicious!

By: Liz, Dunedin