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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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Leftover rice

If we have rice left over from dinner I like to make it into rice pudding by adding some milk, brown sugar (or golden syrup), an egg and a pinch of cinnamon. Cook it in the oven or microwave while you eat dinner and dessert is sorted.

By: Steph, Blenheim


Waste no bread

We always keep our bread in the freezer = zero waste

By: Dianne, Paraparaumu


Bliss Balls

Left over porridge makes a great addition to bliss balls, adding to the goodness that is packed inside of them. And if I’m making lemon and coconut bliss balls, I keep the peel from the lemons and freeze it, ready for adding to risottos or muffins later

By: Anna, Alexandra


Making your meals go further on a budget and using leftovers

Adding bread, rice and leftover vegetables to mince to make huge lasagnes, meat loaves, meatballs, meat or vege patties is a great economical as well as preventing food waste idea. I just mix it all in together with some seasoning and pasta sauce. Can freeze individual portions in freezer for work lunches as well. Also with muffins, leftover grated fruit or veg, leftover cream, instant pudding, fruit juices etc all can be added to make tasty muffins. I’ve had a big family and have lived this way for a long time to feed people nourishing, filling and economical meals. Any scraps go to our hens.

By: Heather, Invercargill


Making little bits useful

If you have a lot of ‘too small to be useful’ leftovers, put them in the freezer as soon as they’re left over instead of thinking you “will use it somehow in the next few days” and leaving it in the fridge. Dedicate a box or drawer to these. Then eventually you’ll have enough together that you can make something useful out of many saved portions of similar food types. Date them so you know how old they are and can use the oldest first.

By: Deb, Christchurch


‘Souffle’ with stale bread and crusts

Throw every crust or piece of stale bread into a bag in the freezer. When the bag is full, thaw bread, cut into strips. With your hands mix in grated cheese, leftover vegetables and herbs. Place in an oven dish and pour over a mix of egg, milk and garlic. Cook until raised and golden. Serve with salad or other seasonal veg. Our kids’ favorite.

By: Jane, Levin


Use yoghurt to make healthy ice pops

In the past, things like yogurt would slowly make its way to the back of the fridge and I’d find it past the used by date! I’m checking dates a lot more often, and then using things before they go off. This is yogurt that was going to expire tomorrow.. We wouldn’t have eaten it all in time, so now, with the help of my blender, a banana & some blueberries, my son has healthy ice pops to eat for the next week or so.

By: Shannon, Auckland


Tomato Paste

I buy a large jar, use what I need, then freeze the rest in ice cube trays. I then put the tomato paste ice cubes into a bag and store in freezer.

By: Anna, Nelson


Keep potatoes and onions separate

Potatoes and onions sprout faster when stored together. So keep your potatoes and onions in different parts of the kitchen. Keep your potatoes in the dark to stop them going green. Storing them in a paper bag will help.

By: Paul, Browns Bay


Tomato paste

After using half a tin of tomato paste, save the rest by smoothing the top over with a spoon. Then pour a thin layer of olive oil over the top and store in the fridge. Will keep at least a week.

By: Trixie, Papakura


Celery leaves

Use your celery leaves and add them to your hummus. It gives a great flavour that people can’t quite identify.

By: Rose, Mapua


Use your apple peelings

When I make apple pies, crumbles, sauces etc I wash the apples really well, then put the peelings into freezer bags, and freeze them. They make a great addition to smoothies with berries and yogurt.

By: Paulette, Matarangi


Roasted pumpkin seeds

Make roasted pumpkin seeds from your pumpkins. Scoop out the seeds, mix with olive oil and sprinkle with cumin, paprika and salt. Bake at 180 degrees for 10 minutes until golden brown. They make a great healthy snack!

By: Anna, Wellington


Feed your dog

Do you have a dog? I have a big one. To supplement his diet I save my clean vegetable peeling (carrots, potatoes, cabbage, cauliflower, even silverbeet stalks) in freezer containers. At the end of the week I have a cook up – I add garlic and salt and pepper to the mix and I simmer it for 2 hours. I strain the whole lot, mix the vegetables with equal parts cooked rice – he loves it! I throw an egg in for a shiny coat and a big bone. He’s in doggy heaven. The liquid goes in my freezer as vegetable stock and now that’s it getting colder it’s a great base for any kind of soup.

By: Wendy, Opotiki


Eternal broccoli

Stand fresh broccoli in vase or bowl with some water in the base and put in the fridge. It extends the life by at least a week, usually more.

By: Tricia, Auckland


Bags o’ bananas

I buy lots of bananas on special and buy green ones if I can. For a long time I wrapped them in cellophane and put them in the fridge finding that they lasted quite well for about 2 weeks. Then by accident I found a large cellophane bag and put them in there and then in the fridge. They now last almost 3 weeks in much, much better condition – some of them still slightly green and could possibly last longer but we’ve eaten them by then.

By: Eve, Auckland


Plan and cook ahead

I set aside a couple of hours on Sunday to plan a menu for the week, shop and then come home to prepare as much of it ahead of time as I can. Generally I’ll make a big pot of soup from last weeks leftovers and freeze it in serving sizes, I’ll make a big casserole or lasagne and wash / cut up in advance a lot of the weeks vegetables and fill the salad spinner with washed greens ready to go. So on a Wednesday night I might reheat a casserole then reach for already prepared salad greens or veges ready for a quick stirfry. Breakfast and lunch are usually leftovers (I’m paleo so a salad for breakfast suits me fine). I find waste occurs when I come home tired and can’t be bothered cooking so having most of it pre-done in the fridge or freezer for the week saves me throwing unused food in the compost.

By: Julia, Nelson


Extra plate

When you plate up dinner for the family put out an extra plate, you can generally squeeze out another serving even if it is lunch size. Saves waste, money and time. Freeze extra portion.

By: Ngaire, Ohoka