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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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“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.


Feed worms, not the bin

Investing in a worm farm has been fabulous for us. I feed them food scraps, vegetable peelings, chopped banana skins and crushed egg shells. We use the liquid and worms castings for garden fertiliser.

By: Geraldine, Wellington


Where to store eggs

Egg cartons are for more than just safely transporting eggs. Eggs are porous, which means smells and liquid can be absorbed by the tiny pores on the shell. Storing eggs in their cartons helps prevent this. Place egg cartons on a middle or lower shelf in the fridge, not on the door.


Buy foods which can be used for more than one meal

When shopping, buy ingredients that are versatile and you can use for many meals. Spinach can be used not only in quiche but also along with grated carrot to bulk up mince and pasta dishes. Lentils can be used in stews and in soups as well as kidney beans in nachos and in shepherd’s pie.

By: Caroline, Levin


Freeze your leftovers

I freeze all of my leftovers. On nights when I can’t be bothered cooking I’m thankful that I have leftovers in the freezer!

By: Julia, Lower Hutt


Using up milk

If you have milk that is close to its expiry, using it for a delicious rice pudding is a great way to use it up. Rice pudding uses around a litre of milk (depending on your whanau size and how much they love it)!

By: Mel, Wellington


Crispy Potato Skins

Turn potato peelings into chips. Mix potato skins in a bowl with enough oil to lightly coat them. Place on a baking tray. Put skins in an 180°C oven for 15 mins or until crispy.

By: Will and Jane, @thenextmeal


Eat your leeks

By: Sarah, Auckland


Dairy savings

If you have cream or milk that is on the turn, put it in baking such as muffins, scones, quiche or cake. You can also make ricotta by adding a tablespoon of vinegar per cup of sour milk, microwaving until separated and pour into a sieve and leave until the desired firmness. Great with tomatoes and olive oil!

By: Campbell, Auckland


Brown bananas

I mash brown bananas that no one wants to eat, freeze them and then use to make banana cake, or banana muffins

By: Geraldine, Wellington


Banana toasties

Squishy brown bananas and peanut butter make the most delicious toasted sandwiches, The over-ripe bananas are so sweet and taste caramelised when toasted.

By: Heather, Warkworth