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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?

Tell us about it!
What do you do to reduce your food waste?
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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



I rarely have waste, but live in an apartment so my cut offs and scraps can’t be composted easily. I just keep a bag in the freezer and put all my cut-offs and scraps into that. Likewise I freeze any bones or chicken carcasses I have. Then when I have time I can make stock and freeze for soup or casseroles at a later date.

By: Tracey, Wellington


Divide up before freeze it

Small portions and sizes would help when you need to defrost and cook or use the food you put it in the freezer. That would also avoid re-freezing foods. Safer, saving time and energy.

By: Homer Xu


If you have excess kiwifruit or they are getting a bit soft, then make a spicy kiwifruit sauce. Mix kiwifruit with jalapeños, coriander, a bit of garlic and lemon juice and blitz. Great for a mexican themed dinner.

By: Laney, Canterbury


Keep spinach fresh

When I buy bagged baby spinach I store it in a plastic container which I line and cover with a paper towel. The spinach (or washed lettuce etc) stays fresh for much longer. No more throwing out slimy old greens at the bottom of a plastic bag!

By: Mia, Palmerston North


Banana roll ups

You can make fruit leather out of overripe bananas. Puree the bananas in a blender with a little lemon juice and then spread them thinly on baking paper. Dry them in a 90ºc oven for 2-3 hours until they are set. Allow them to cool, then roll them up with the paper attached and cut into strips with scissors.

By: Lidia, Auckland


Freeze excess avocados

To freeze avocados, puree them with a little lemon juice and seal in an airtight container. They should last for up to four months in the freezer. Use the pureed avocado for smoothies, to make a sauce or guacamole.

By: New Zealand Avocado


Fresh isn’t always best

Consider buying frozen or tinned vegetables – they keep for a lot longer than fresh produce so you’ll always have a supply ready for when you need them.