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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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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


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


Feed your pigs

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

By: Julie, Oamaru


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


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


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


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


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. This means bread never goes stale or mouldy or needs to be thrown out. You can also toast bread straight from frozen.

By: Gemma, Wellington


By: Justine, Auckland


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


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