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.
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)
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!
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…
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!
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.