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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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A breadmaker can help you waste less

If you can afford one, a breadmaker can save a lot of waste. If you don’t have much room in your freezer to store loaves of bread, storing the ingredients (flour, yeast, salt, butter or oil) to make your own bread is easier than going to the shops to get bread when you run out. We set ours up so it bakes the bread overnight so we have fresh bread in the morning to make the kid’s lunches with.

By: Sarah, Nelson


Turn stale cornflakes into crumbs

If you have stale cornflakes, toast them in the oven to crisp them up, crush them into a powder (you can use a food processor) then use to crumb chicken or fish, like you would with breadcrumbs.

By: Sarah, Auckland


Broccoli Stalk Chips

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.

By: Fiona, Christchurch


Use your microwave to dry herbs

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.

By: Justine, Auckland


Stir-fry mung bean sprouts

If you have leftover mung bean sprouts, stir-fry them with a little sweet chilli sauce to make a delicious side dish.

By: Jenny, Auckland


Roast your pumpkin whole

If you find it hard work to cut up a whole pumpkin, try roasting it in the oven (or microwave) until it is soft, and then cut it up.

By: Claire, Auckland


Chicken carcass

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!

By: Christine, Lower Hutt


Roast apples

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.

By: Lorraine, Christchurch


Don’t forget what is in your freezer

A great tip for stopping your freezer contents getting out of control, meaning you have no room in it when you need it is to 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.

By: Pat, Karitane


Save shells for seafood stock

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.

By: Jo, London


Living alone

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.

By: John, Christchurch


Eggstra calcium

I wash my egg shells thoroughly, grind them to a powder and add them to the flour I use for making bread. This adds calcium to my diet.

By: Anne, Invercargill


Smoothie cubes

Blend leftover fruits and greens with little water and freeze them in ice cube trays. Once frozen transfer them to bags. You can add them in your smoothie.

By: Nisa, Raumati


Vegetable stock

I wash, and freeze vegetable peelings and make vegetable stock for soup.

By: Lori, Tairua


Freeze leftover bread as stuffing

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.

By: Lou, Lower Hutt


Hide veges in pasta sauce

Grate any leftover carrots, broccoli, cauliflower or other vegetables into your pasta sauce. This is a great way to add extra greens to your meal where your fussy child won’t even notice.

By: Nisa, Raumati


Leftover Icing

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.

By: Paul, Auckland


How to freeze bananas

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.

By: Jenny, Auckland