Posted on January 20 2020
How much food do you throw away each week? It's easy to lose track of the food you scrape from your plate and the food items past their best that you discard. You are no doubt getting rid of more food than you realize. Indeed, according to the United Nations Environment Programme, around one-third of all food produced is wasted. Although this food waste isn't all down to consumers, leftovers and produce that doesn't even make it to your plate account for a significant proportion of this wastage. Throwing food out doesn't just push up the cost of your weekly grocery bill, but its degradation in landfill also contributes to greenhouse gas production and water pollution. Thankfully, you can take action to reduce the amount of food that goes into your trash. Here you'll find some inspiration for how to use up fruits, vegetables and baked goods that aren't quite so fresh as when you bought them.
Getting the most out of your fruit
Although smoothies are a great way to enjoy overripe fruits, there are various other ways you can put soft fruits to good use. At breakfast time, why not stir mashed banana through your oatmeal or cereal? Alternatively, you can make compote with apples, stone fruits or berries, which is delicious spread on toast or spooned over hot cereal. Overripe fruits can also be a key ingredient in many desserts. For instance, as well as fruit crumbles and pies, try making a fool, ice cream, sorbet, cheesecake or cobbler with your fruity leftovers. Likewise, fruits can easily make their way into recipes for cakes and muffins. You needn't limit yourself to sweet dishes though, as soft fruits can feature in a range of savory recipes too. For example, add pineapple or banana to a curry, sweeten a tagine with apricots and dates, or team pork and apple in a stew. Don't forget that you can also make a range of condiments with fruits past their best: think guacamole, chutney and apple sauce. If you are unable to find a recipe you want to use your fruits in, then turn to vacuum sealing. You can then freeze and seal them for when you need them in the future.
Making sure your veggies don't go to waste
Soup is an obvious way to use up leftover vegetables and everything from artichokes to zucchini can go in. Similarly, stews and casseroles are great for root vegetables, tomatoes and peppers that are on the soft side, but as with soup, there's no need to limit which vegetables you add. Tomato-based pasta sauces are also an ideal vehicle for making the most of any vegetables you may be left with. Another idea is to add green vegetables, such as peas, string beans, spring onions and broccoli, to a frittata. Alternatively, roast carrots, parsnips, turnip, celeriac, onions, eggplant or zucchini to serve as a tasty addition to a main dish. Bubble and squeak, which uses up leftover mashed potato, is another handy way to finish off any extra carrots, peas, cabbage and sprouts you have. Still have extra veggies left after all these suggestions? Learn more about vacuum sealing fresh vegetables here.
Keeping bakery items out of your trash
While toast is always an option for day-old bread, there are more creative ways to use up your surplus bread. For example, try making croutons, garlic bread, bread soup, French toast, bread pudding or even brown bread ice cream. An alternative option is to make breadcrumbs, which you can easily freeze till you need a coating for meat or fish, or you decide to make meatballs, meatloaf or a dessert that calls for breadcrumbs. Leftover fruit loaf can also be used in similar sweet recipes to bread. Meanwhile, make mini pizzas using pita bread, crumpets and toasting muffins that are no longer as fresh. If done properly, you can vacuum seal bread!
These are just a few ways to use up fresh items that may otherwise go to waste, helping you to save money and do your bit for the environment. If your food is beyond it's edible life consider composting it. What other ideas can you come up with?