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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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14

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

10

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

10

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

13

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

8

Make potato peel chips

Get creative with ‘waste’. If you must peel spuds, toss the peelings in a little olive oil, salt, garlic and rosemary and put in a pan on the fire top for a few hours, or oven bake. Potato chips, yum!

By: Megan, Central Otago

5

Feed your pigs

Feed your food scraps to animals. Bonnie and Clyde love our leftovers!

By: Julie, Oamaru

7

Keeping fruit & vege fresh

Tupperware fruit & vege fridge containers are brilliant at extending the life of fruit & vege by using vents to allow the produce to ‘breathe’ the right amount. They seem pricey but will pay for themselves in no time!

By: Megan, Napier

17

Using all of a bunch of celery

I cut up the entire bunch including the leaves, and store in a ziplock bag in the freezer. The only unused bit is the root and that goes in the dog bowl. They love it!

Precut celery is perfect in soups, stir fries, casseroles, sheperds pie etc. Just grab a handful as you need it – it freezes well in the bag, no need to free flow.

By: Wendy, Murchison

7

Summer berries

I tend to have berries left over during the summer, so I wash and hull them, place them onto a baking sheet and place them into the freezer. After about a day I remove them separately from the baking sheet and place them into a zip-lock bag, and leave them in the freezer for future use.

By: Sandy, Wellington

12

Use vegetable peelings to make stock

I store any vegetable peelings in a zip lock bag in the freezer and when I have a full bag I use them to make my own vegetable stock. You can use almost any vegetable peelings / ends or meat bones left after a roast dinner. This is a cheaper way of getting stock and means you don’t have packaging to get rid of from shop-bought stock.

By: Gemma, Wellington

12

Make sandwiches with frozen bread

I put my sliced bread straight into the freezer and when I want to take a sandwich to work for lunch – I just use frozen slices, make the sandwich as normal and wrap it up. By lunchtime, the bread has defrosted and I have a fresh sandwich ready to go. The bread is nice and soft as its been frozen from fresh and it takes exactly the same. This means bread never goes off or needs to be thrown out. You can also toast bread straight from frozen.

By: Gemma, Wellington

10

By: Justine, Auckland

11

Leftovers make good pizza toppings

I freeze small portions of leftover meats (eg two meatballs, half cup cooked chicken) to use as pizza toppings.

By: Donna, Invercargill

8

Don’t cook one night a week

I don’t prepare a meal from scratch one night per week, instead I empty the fridge and pantry of leftovers and any half consumed packets to pull together a meal or three.

By: Angela, Hawkes Bay

8

Turn crusts into breadcrumbs

I have two children who refuse to eat their crusts. We now have an uneaten bread and crusts bag in the freezer. Whenever it gets bulky we use the food processor to turn it into bread crumbs. While you’ve got the processor out, you can also easily pre-make crumble topping by just adding two tablespoons of butter to every 2-3 slices of bread. Freeze it in bags then when your fruit is starting to turn or you have more than you can eat, you have ready-made crumble ready to go.

By: Rod, Wellington

18

Turn leftover cereal into smoothies

Living with five children I’m on a tight budget, and was fed up with the half-eaten bowls of cereal and milk leftover from breakfasts and the half-eaten fruit that came home in the lunchboxes. So I put the breakfast leftovers in the fridge and combined them with the fruit to make after-school smoothies—this has proved popular with the kids and has saved me a lot!

10

Keep track of your leftovers

I used to put leftovers in the fridge, forget about them and then have to throw them away because they’d gone off. Now I’ve brought a magnetic whiteboard and I write what leftovers I put in the fridge and when they went in. This reminds me to eat them first and I don’t have to worry about trying to remember how old they are.

By: Ana Central Hawkes Bay

7

Freeze brown bananas

My favourite tip is to peel, cut and freeze spotty bananas and use them in smoothies.

By: Cayley, Tauranga