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A to Z of Food Waste

APPLES


For freshness and quality store your apples in the fridge. Keeping them in the fridge in a loosely tied plastic bag will help stop them shrivelling up. Add to the fruit bowl to bring to room temperature before eating.

There's always one bad apple that spoils the barrel, so keep an eye on your fruit. Separate out fruit which is ripening more quickly than the others. If apples have bruised areas, simply cut off, and grate the remaining apple into salads or cut into wedges and give to children as a snack.

If you've got a glut of cooking apples, cut them into quarters, core and peel them. To prevent apples turning brown while you're peeling them, squeeze the juice of half a lemon into a bowl of water and drop the pieces of apple into it. Drain, quickly pack the apples in freezer bags or plastic containers and freeze them. To use, put the frozen fruit in a pan with some sugar, add a very small amount of water and cook as normal.

Peel and chop the apples, and place in a saucepan with a little water, lemon juice and castor sugar (maybe some cinnamon too). Cook gently for about 15 mins, stirring regularly. Then whisk or blend smooth. It's lovely with pork but can also be a dessert with cream (fool) or ice-cream. When making jam add one or two apples to the mixture, the pectin in apples helps the jam to set.




AVOCADO

If you buy avocadoes hard, ripen them on your kitchen windowsill. They're ready when they 'just give' as you squeeze them, their texture should feel like butter at room temperature. To speed up the ripening process you can put them into a paper bag (or dark drawer) with a banana.

Fruit, especially bananas, produce ethylene gas naturally as they ripen. Ethylene residues on the bananas will help the avocado or other fruit to ripen quickly. Blend over-ripe avocado flesh down with milk, yogurt and a touch of maple syrup or sugar for a lovely green, smooth- tasting smooothie.

Lemon juice helps to stop cut avocados turning brown. Also, if you pop the avocado stone into a bowl of guacamole or salsa, this will keep the dip fresh and green for at least 2 hours; remove stone before serving! Ripe avocado can be spread onto toast instead of butter!

Keep the half avocado with the stone still in place and put on a dish/plate in the fridge. You should be able to use the avocado the following day without it going off.

You can freeze Avocado here is how...

  1. Wash the avocado, skin still on.
  2. Cut the fruit in half, and peel.
  3. If you are opting to keep them as halves, put them in a Ziploc bag and freeze.
  4. If you're pureeing, either mash the avocados with a fork or in a food processor with a little bit of lime or lemon. Store in a resealable bag and freeze.



BACON

Separate a large pack of bacon into slices before freezing. Put them between a layer of grease proof paper if you want to keep them individual slices. Then, you can just defrost what you need at a later date.

Once a packet is opened, follow the on-pack instructions about how to store it and when to use it up by.




BANANAS

Bananas will go black in the fridge! So instead, just keep them somewhere nice and cool. Always keep bananas separate from other fruits unless you want the other fruit to ripen quickly.

Peel and freeze bananas to use later in smoothies, banana bread or cake or add to ice cream.

Use them in curry dishes or mashed up for a quick sandwich filling. Store away from other fruits. They make them over-ripen




BEANSPROUTS

Keep submerged in water in a container and refrigerate. They keep for at least a week and don't go slimy. Change the water daily. Freeze them in an airtight container. Add to stir-fries or soups. This works perfectly.




BICARBONATE OF SODA

To keep the fridge smelling sweet, put half a tub of bi-carbonate of soda that's past its 'best before date in the fridge.




BISCUITS

Store biscuits in an airtight container. Most sweet biscuits can be frozen.




BREAD

Only store your bread and rolls in the fridge if the weather is really hot, but don't forget to bring them out of the fridge about an hour before you use them so they soften up again.

But best practice is not to store bread in the fridge. It will actually go stale quicker in there! Keep it in a bread bin or cupboard, in the original packaging.

Never eat bread once mould is present.

Freeze old bread for bread & butter pudding. Or freeze the bread crumbs for stuffing or to top a pasta bake or fish pie.

Freshen up stale bread by putting it in the microwave for 10 seconds.

Once a loaf is opened, fold the wrapper under the loaf or re-tie it with the 'best before' tag. For rolls use a food clip to reseal the pack.

Keep the end crust in place on top of the loaf slices to keep the next slice fresh.

To make it easier to separate bread slices after freezing, bang your fresh loaf on a work surface before you put it in the freezer.

Clean your bread bin or cupboard regularly to get rid of mould spores.

Cut leftover bread into cubes, toss in olive oil and a little garlic, herbs and chilli powder, freeze on a tray and transfer into bags/boxes when frozen. You have an instant crouton mix, wonderful shallow fried in oil straight from the freezer or for the more health conscious, baked in the oven. Add to any soup or salad.




BROCCOLI

Broccoli stored in the fridge in a loosely tied plastic bag retains its freshness and quality for longer than storing it loose in a vegetable rack at room temperature.

If your broccoli's a bit soft, cut a thick slice off the bottom of the stalk, put it in a glass with water and leave in the fridge overnight to crisp up.

If you have lots of leftover broccoli, add a little skimmed milk and puree. Serve as a sauce for fish or chicken. It tastes creamy and isn't fattening. Don't discard the stalks they're the best bit! Peel the stalks, cut lengthways and cook with the florets or eat raw.




BAGELS

Slice fresh bagels and freeze in plastic bags. When you want to eat one, put it directly into a toaster. They pop up golden and delicious!




BRUSSELS SPROUTS

If you've accidentally overcooked the Brussels sprouts or have masses leftover, puree in a food processor with some crème fraiche and serve as a puree. This can also be frozen for later.




CEREAL

After opening, store cereals in a good quality airtight container or re-close the cereal bag with a food clip.

Use up leftover cereal as a crumble toping or in biscuits. Add stale or leftover breakfast cereal crumbs from the bottom of the cereal box to the ingredients in the bread maker (reduce the amount of flour accordingly). Adds texture to the bread and, surprisingly, even sweet breakfast cereal doesn't make the bread sweet.




CHEESE

Keep it in the fridge. Hard cheese should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge, with a bees wax wrap or use a bag clip to seal the packaging. Blue cheese can be wrapped in tin foil.

Freeze your cheese! If you are buying a big block of hard cheese, to make the most of a bargain, grate some and freeze to use later. This is good for cheese on toast, on top of baked beans or in an omelette.

Stale, hard cheese can be grated into mash, used for cheese sauce or used over pasta dishes or chilli.

Fresh parmesan can be expensive. To make it last longer grate the whole wedge of parmesan into a container and place in freezer - it'll last for ages! Delicious sprinkled over Bolognese when serving or added to cheese sauce.




CHICKEN

A whole chicken is tastier and more economical than chicken breasts, and any leftovers can be made into other meals, e.g. chicken stirfry, chicken salad, The carcass and leftover roast veggies can be made into delicious soup.

Freeze before the Use By date for a tasty treat at a later date.

Always keep cooked meats in the fridge, well wrapped and away from raw meat.

After using all the meat from a chicken, boil the carcass or bones in water. Strip any last remaining meat and use the water and meat as stock, soups, stews etc.

Cut chicken breasts into strips, them out on a tray and put the tray in the freezer (open freeze). Once frozen you can pack the strips in bags and then use as many as you need each time. They can be quickly added to stir fries and cooked from frozen.




CAKE

If your cake sinks after baking, remove the centre with pastry cutter and fill with fresh fruit and cream and serve as a dessert. If you can, use the centre piece in the same way but a mini-version.

Microwave stale chocolate cake, about 20 seconds for a slice, and it'll become gorgeous gooey hot chocolate fudge cake. This may also work with other types of cake.

To freeze sliced cake put greaseproof paper between each slice. This lets you to remove a few slices at a time rather than thaw the whole cake.

To freeze a whole cake wrap it in a double layer of cling film and foil




CARROTS

Carrots stay fresh and hard for even longer by chilling them and keeping in the packaging or loosely tied in the free vegetable bag they were brought home in.

Juice your carrots with a touch of ginger and mix with ginger ale, lemonade, lime or coconut milk for an exotic, refreshing, zingy, nutritionally packed juice. Use them to make carrot cake or muffins.

Put soft carrots in a glass of water in the fridge - they'll perk up in no time.




CAULIFLOWER

Covering your cauliflower - either with its own leaves or a plastic bag - stops it going brown. So buy cauliflowers with their leaves still on and leave them on - it'll keep for longer.

Make a big batch of cauliflower cheese, split it into individual portions and freeze. It's great if the cauliflower isn't going to last much longer. It's tasty with garlic in the cheese sauce and topped with breadcrumbs and parsley!




CELERY

If your lovely, crisp celery has gone limp, don't throw it out, braise it in a stir fry or add it to your stews and casseroles - it is delicious and nutritious.




CHILLIES

You usually need to buy a whole pack of chillies even though you may only need one. Deseed the chillies and chop finely, then add the same number of crushed garlic cloves. Pop in a plastic bag then in a plastic airtight container and freeze. Spoon out a small quantity as required.

Or freeze them whole, you can cut them really easily from frozen and add to your cooking. The benefit is you're less likely to get spice on your fingers when you're cutting them frozen.




CHRISTMAS

Making stuffing on Christmas Eve is always a fiddle, and your guests will never know if it's been made in advance and frozen. Take the stuffing out of the freezer on Christmas Eve and thaw in the fridge.

Make mince pies in early December and freeze uncooked in patty tins until solid. Then pack in boxes. Bake a few at a time when needed.

You can also save time by part boiling your potatoes, roasting them in fat as usual, and then freezing. You can pop them straight into the oven on the day.

When you're cooking a big celebration meal and want to save yourself time on the day of the feast, prepare veg such as carrots, parsnips and sprouts the day before and store them in the fridge in a plastic bag - reusing a bread bag or other food bag would be ideal




COCONUT MILK

If you have any leftover coconut milk you can freeze in ice-cube trays. Once frozen, transfer to freezer bags. It will keep for up to three months.




CONDIMENTS

Get the last drops of your sauce out of the bottle by adding a few drops of vinegar - can be used as normal or added to savoury dishes.




CREAM

Whip any leftover cream before you freeze it to stop it becoming 'grainy' when it's thawed.

If you have over-whipped the cream, rescue it by adding a little un-whipped cream or milk and a pinch of sugar.




CUCUMBERS

Put the stalk end of a cucumber in a small container of water and stand in the fridge door. They last much longer like this.




DRIED FRUIT

If you're making a fruitcake and the dried fruit looks a little dry, pour boiling water over it in a bowl and leave for 30 minutes. You can add a tea bag for flavour.




EGGS

Eggs can be frozen successfully, but separately. For whites, make sure you label how many there are in each container. Leave whites to thaw naturally. They are ideal for making meringues: allow 50g caster sugar per white and proceed as normal.

Eggs are best kept in their box to protect them - in the fridge.

Providing eggs are cooked through, they can be eaten a day or two after their Best Before date.

Use for a nutritious, cheap meal use eggs in an omelette if getting close to the Best Before date.




FRUIT

Storing all your fruit in the fridge will help it last longer (except bananas and pineapple).

Use up wrinkly or soft fruit in smoothies, muffins etc. or stew or make into jam

If your fruit is about to go off, or is over ripe, put in a saucepan with a couple of teaspoons of lemon juice and sugar. Heat slowly until the fruit 'pops' and the liquid reduces. You'll then have your own jam or fruit compote




FISH

Thoroughly mush up a leftover fish pie and make into fish-cake sized shapes, dip in beaten egg and coat with breadcrumbs (made using stale bread). Cook by frying or brush with a little oil and bake in the oven. Rather nice with frozen vegetables and a very quick meal!

Most fish can be flaked and added to scrambled eggs, tossed into spicy rice dishes or made into a pate by adding mayonnaise or cream cheese for a dip.

For making fish stock, ask the fishmonger to fillet the fish and also to give you the bones etc. You can use the shells of prawns and shellfish. Boil the bones/shells etc. in a little water, then strain through a fine strainer or a piece of muslin to make excellent stock.




FROMAGE FRAIS

You can use fromage frais instead of butter and milk in mashed potato, and then use the remainder to thicken curry, or use with a little artificial sweetener and vanilla essence instead of cream on fresh fruit desserts




GINGER

Fresh ginger often ends up wrinkled and dry in the salad drawer of the fridge. The best way to keep it is to cut it into manageable chunks then peel it. Put the chunks into a polythene bag and freeze them. Ginger is much easier to grate from frozen than it is from fresh.




GRAPES

Store grapes in the packaging you bought them in and refrigerate for freshness. Remove from the fridge and bring to room temperature before eating.

If you buy a big bunch of grapes and find you can't eat them all, wash and freeze the leftovers. You can use the frozen grapes to decorate ice cream, act as tasty ice cubes, blend them into smoothies or just eat them as they are. They taste like mini ice lollies!




HERBS

Instead of putting your coriander in the salad drawer, half fill an old jar with cold water, put in the coriander and cover with a (recycled!) plastic bag held with an elastic band. Keep in the door of your fridge; change the water every few days and it will keep well.

Fresh parsley, cleaned, washed and dried well will keep for more than 10 days in a tightly closed plastic box between layers of paper towel.

Herbs with softer leaves, such as tarragon and basil, tend to discolour. Don't throw them away but make a lovely scented oil; finely chop the basil or tarragon and add to a bottle of olive oil, keep in the fridge for a few days to allow the herbs to infuse the oil then sieve and discard the herbs, pour the oil back into the bottle and use the lovely herb scented oil for dressing and flavouring fish, chicken and cheese dishes.

It's worth freezing herbs that you use regularly: mint, parsley, chives, and tarragon, for example. Wash and dry them before freezing whole in freezer bags, or chopped in ice cube trays covered with water. Tip frozen cubes into a freezer bag.




HOLIDAYS

A couple of days before your holidays, stop buying groceries. Vegetables (tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, peppers) that could otherwise go to waste can be chopped and cooked, then frozen ready for use in a pasta sauce on your return. Making some extra servings of whatever you are having for dinner and then freezing them, makes cooking easier the first couple of days your back -- just defrost! Leftover slices of bread can also be frozen ready for making toast on your return, as can a pint of milk for a cuppa.




JAM

The last drops of jam in the jar can add a lovely sweet complement to your gravy - rinse the remnants with warm water and add to the gravy pan.




JUICE

Make lollies from leftover smoothies, apple juice or orange juice. You can buy plastic ice trays to use in the freezer.




KIWI FRUIT

Store kiwi fruits in the fridge for freshness. Keeping them in the fridge in a loosely tied plastic bag will also help stop them shrivelling up. Move to the fruit bowl to bring to room temperature before eating.




LEFTOVERS

If you have a food processor or hand-blender, any leftover casserole or cooked veg can be made into a soup with store cupboard ingredients. Cooked vegetables work best with a stock cube and a small amount of spaghetti or vermicelli broken up into small pieces, which can be cooked until soft in the stock before adding the blitzed vegetables. Casseroles are good with concentrated tomato puree. Curry works well, it has a strong flavour and you really only need to add water.

If you have a few odd pieces of fruit which need eating up, slice them into bowls for your children and smother with custard. Children love hunting for the buried treasure!

Keep left over beef and lamb. Mince it up and make a cottage or shepherd's pie with it.

If you're left with spare Brussels sprouts and roast or boiled potatoes, simply chop and fry together in a pan with some butter for a thrifty bubble and squeak.




LEMONS

Keep lemons in the fridge, in a loosely tied plastic bag, for freshness. Bring to room temperature to use them.

Buy lemons when they're on offer and chop them into wedges for drinks and freeze them. As well as using them in cold drinks, use them to make a cup of hot water with a cinnamon stick - a refreshing drink when you're trying to cut down on tea/coffee and increase water intake.

Juice lemons and freeze juice in an ice-cube tray then freeze the skins. They are much easier to zest with a grater when frozen.

Roll citrus fruit on a hard surface with your hand. This makes them easier to squeeze when cut. Alternatively, put the fruit into the microwave, on high power, for 10 seconds to release the juices.




LETTUCE

When you get your lettuce home, remove from plastic wrapping, wash and drain. Take a clean T-towel and soak it under a cold tap, then wring it out. Discard any leaves from the lettuce which are slightly brown and wrap the lettuce in the T-towel. Place in the fridge. You will find that this will keep fresh for an amazing amount of time!

When you buy an iceberg lettuce, break it up with your hands and store it in the fridge in a bowl of cold water - it will stay fresh and crispy for much longer than normal.

If your lettuce is looking rather too limp to serve, just place the leaves in a bowl of cold water with a peeled, sliced potato and 'hey presto' it's as good as new! Just rinse, dry and serve that same day.

Keep salad in a paper bag, or in a plastic bag with a strip of kitchen roll. Keeps them moist, but not soggy!

If you have leftover salad, cover with a damp piece of kitchen paper before covering with cling film or putting in a sealed container. This really prolongs the life of the salad leaves. This also works well with salad bags, which when left in the bag tend to sweat and go limp/brown very quickly.

If your green vegetables and salad leaves are a bit past their best, soak them in cold water for thirty minutes to freshen them up.

If you transfer your bagged salad leaves into an airtight container lined with kitchen roll this helps remove excess moisture. Your salad will be crisp and dry and extends its life.




LUNCH MADE EASY

When making bolognese or curries cook enough to freeze and put into sandwich boxes to take to work, no sandwich making and no waste...

Sandwiches can often be frozen (as long as they are something suitable that you could normally freeze -
e.g. cheese and pickle or ham and mustard but not salad!) If you freeze in lunch-size sandwich bags, you have readymade packed lunches to grab when you're in a hurry before work. They will have thawed by lunchtime!




MILK

Store milk in the freezer; open and pour off a little into a jug before freezing so it doesn't expand too much and brake the bottle. Freeze milk in ice cube trays to use when you need it. You can pop them straight into your tea or coffee!

Milk near its Use By date can be used up in sauces, puddings, smoothies or custard.

Use up milk to make fabulous scones. Whip up a batch of scone mix and freeze it in scone-sized portions until you're ready to use them.




MUSHROOMS

When buying loose mushrooms, keep them in the paper bags provided and put in the fridge for freshness.

Chilled they last much longer than if kept out of the fridge.

If you buy large punnets of mushrooms you can keep them fresher for longer by covering them with a tea towel folded into layers and tucking it quite tightly inside the punnet, like a snug blanket. Then keep the mushrooms in the bottom of the fridge and don't forget to tuck the rest back in every time you take some out. Also don't forget to re-use the punnets to store other veg.

If your mushrooms are looking a bit wrinkled, chop them and toss them in some melted butter and freeze - great on pizzas, in stews and casseroles.




MELON

Melons stay fresh for up to a week longer if kept in the fridge. Decant to the fruit bowl prior to eating if preferred.

Melon can be a great addition to your breakfast in the morning or as an afternoon or evening snack. Simply chop the melon into pieces and place them in an airtight container in the fridge. They should last up to five days.




MINCEMEAT (SWEET)

Stir a handful of chopped nuts and dried fruits into leftover mincemeat, and then use to fill cored apples or halved, cored pears. Dot with butter; add a splash of fruit juice and bake until tender.




MINCE

When making anything with mince you can add any leftover vegetables - such as carrot, grated potato or lentils - to bulk it out, make the meal go further and make use of those leftover foods.




NUTS

Nuts contain a high percentage of oil and can become rancid quite quickly, especially in warm weather. They can be stored for up to a month at room temperature but ideally place in an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 6 months. Check the information on the packet for specific storage instructions.




ONIONS

Onions are best stored in a cool, dry, dark place; ideally in a cloth bag.

You can almost always get cheap bags of smaller onions in the supermarkets, and they're often the perfect size which means you don't have bits of onions lying round going to waste.

Onions freeze well and it's just as easy to chop up three as one and freeze. If you're in a hurry it's a great help and no smelly hands or chopping board to wash.




ORANGES

Store oranges in the fridge. Oranges keep their freshness and quality for much longer than storing them at room temperature, and keeping them in the fridge in a loosely tied plastic bag will also help stop them shrivelling up.

Add to the fruit bowl to bring to room temperature to taste their true sweetness.




PASTA

Cooked too much pasta? Well waste no more. Simply rinse the cooked pasta in a colander (this gets rid of the starch and cools the pasta) then put meal-sized portions into freezer bags and place into the freezer. To cook, simply place the frozen pasta into boiling water and cook for a few minutes. Or even quicker reheat in the microwave.

Leftover cooked pasta should be cooled quickly and then stored in the fridge for up to two days. Great for a pasta salad

Why not use left over pasta to make a delicious pudding? Place cooked pasta in a greased oven dish, beat two eggs well, add double cream and strawberry jam and pour evenly onto the pasta. Place in the oven on 180 degrees for 40 minutes, then put under a hot grill for a few minutes until golden brown. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream. Yummy!




PEARS

For freshness and quality store pears in the fridge. These nutritious fruits can last for much longer if kept in the fridge rather than at room temperature, and keeping them in the fridge in a loosely tied plastic bag will also help stop them shrivelling up. Add to the fruit bowl to bring to room temperature prior to eating, although some pears may need longer in the fruit bowl to ripen up.




PEPPERS

Store peppers in the fridge in a loosely tied plastic bag, to keep them fresher for longer.

If you're only using part of a green or red pepper, leave the stem, seeds and membrane intact, the pepper will store much longer than when you remove them.

Dice the tops and bottoms for use in spaghetti bolognaise, for example. Slice or dice the remainder. Freeze them in one pepper portions which make it easier to follow recipes. So simple and cheap!




PESTO

You can freeze it by the teaspoon in ice cube trays.

You can then use them as you need them and add them to dishes still frozen.

Mix left over pesto with butter, freeze in individual portions. Use the pesto butter on steak, chicken, lamb etc. Mix some garlic into it as well for a great tasting butter and spread on a toasted baguette.




PINEAPPLES

Pineapples should ideally be stored in a cool place but not in the fridge.

Save leftover pineapple (fresh or tinned) in the freezer, use defrosted in fruit salads and add frozen to other fruit and liquidise for a great smoothie! Children also like it as ice cubes in their drinks.




PITTA

Pitta bread can be warmed or toasted straight from the freezer. Use straight away for hot fillings or leave to cool for a sandwich




PIZZA DOUGH

Make enough dough for two pizzas. Use half to make a pizza for dinner and freeze the other half in a ball in a sealed sandwich bag. When ready to use the dough just get it out, let it defrost in the fridge for a few hours. Add topping and cook.




POTATOES

To store your potatoes, take them out of the plastic bag and put them into a cloth or natural fibre bag. Store them away from strong smelling foods such as onions. Choose somewhere cool, dark and airy - not the fridge.

For storing cooked potatoes, The Food Standard's Agency advise that once cooked they should be cooled as quickly as possible, ideally within 1-2 hours, and then stored in the fridge for up to two days.

A useful freezing tip is to freeze the potatoes on a baking tray, so they're not touching each other, and when they're solid, pop them in a plastic bag. This stops them sticking together so you don't have to defrost them all at once.

When potatoes are exposed to either artificial or natural light, they can develop a green colour due to chemical changes. These may make those green bits of the potato unsuitable to eat but this can be avoided by simply cutting them out.

It's safe to cook potatoes that have sprouted but they may not keep well and are more likely to blacken when cooked. Whatever your choice, always remove the sprouts before using.

Keep hold of potato peelings, sprinkle with salt, pepper, chilli or whatever flavour takes your fancy and pop them in the oven. Free crisps the children will love!

Thinly slice leftover boiled potatoes and add to omelettes. Use leftover potatoes to thicken soups.

If you have a few potatoes that you need to use, boil them up and make mashed potato and freeze it in portions,so next time you're in a rush you have them on standby.

They're guaranteed to be crispy and golden if you parboil and freeze potatoes for later, and you can cook directly from frozen.

Freeze leftover mashed potato in bags and use it for bubble and squeak or shepherd's pie topping.




RAW MEAT

All raw meat, poultry and fish should be stored at the bottom of the fridge in a clean, sealed container to stop it touching or dripping onto other things.

Freeze it before it reaches its Use By date if you know you won't use it up in time.




RICE

To avoid food poisoning from rice the following guidelines should be adhered to:

Ideally eat straight after cooking. If not, cool as quickly as possible, ideally within one hour. To do this, drain the rice in a colander, rinse with cold water then tip into a large shallow container. Once cold, cover and keep it in the fridge for no longer than one day before reheating. Ensure the rice is piping hot before serving.

Add a few grains of uncooked rice to your salt shaker. This will stop the salt from getting damp and having to throw it away.




RADISHES

Remove the leaves and put them in a jar of cold water in the fridge. This keeps them fresh for weeks.




ROAST

If you haven't got time to make a shepherd's pie from your leftover roast, whiz the meat with an onion in the food processor and pour into a freezer bag for later. It is then quick and easy to cook the prepared meat mixture from frozen to make a shepherd's pie or rissoles.




SALSA

Use leftover salsa as the base layer of pizza toppings or as a delicious chilli layer in a gratin.

Freeze leftover salsa in small containers that have just the amount you want in each. When you need salsa, you can defrost it in seconds in the microwave.




SALT

Adding a few grains of rice to your salt shaker will stop it from getting damp.




SANDWICHES

Use leftover food as a sandwich filler. Even leftover curry makes a tasty sandwich filling!

Did you know you can make sandwiches from frozen bread? They will even defrost by lunchtime, keeping the filling cool.




SAUCES

Freeze any leftover sauces, such as tomato or pesto, for another time ready to add to pasta for a quick meal.




SPINACH

Save the stalks from your spinach leaves and stir-fry them with soy sauce, sesame seeds, and a touch of sesame oil. Make sure they're still a bit crunchy when you take them out of the pan. It makes a delicious side dish.

If you wash spinach well in cold water, shake off as much water as you can and store in an airtight container in the fridge, it will keep fresh for longer. This method also revives old spinach.

If you grow your own spinach, or even if you happen to buy a lot for a good price, wash it, cut off the stalks and steam for 2-3 minutes. Divide it into plastic bags or containers and freeze. Can be frozen for 6-12 months and is easy to add to any pasta dish, mince, stews, soup etc




SPREADS

If you want to use up the very last drop of jam/ marmalade/conserve, pour a cup of chilled milk into the bottle, close the lid tight, and shake the bottle vigorously. Voila! Great tasting milk shake is ready!

Turn jam jars, marmite, pesto or anything in a jar upside down (remembering to tighten the lid!) When you next go to use it, the contents will have gathered in the lid making it easier to use the whole lot.




STOCK

If you have roasted a chicken, boil the carcass up for a couple of hours with two or three pints of water, a few chopped celery stalks, onions, carrots, a bunch of parsley and bay leaf to make chicken stock. Measure into pint portions and freeze to use whenever you need them.

After roasting meat or chicken pour the liquid off into small margarine tubs, leave to cool and allow the fat to rise to the top, and then freeze until needed. Microwave for 30 seconds and the layer of fat can then be easily lifted off and used in risottos etc.




STRAWBERRIES

Store strawberries in the packaging you bought them in and refrigerate for freshness. Remove them from the fridge and bring to room temperature before eating.

If you have a glut of strawberries and want to freeze them, lay them out individually on a tray and put into the freezer. When they're firm, put them into bags. Another way of keeping them is to whiz them in a food processor or blender with 2-3 tablespoons of caster sugar and then freeze. Put them through a sieve if you want to remove the fine pips. They are not the best fruits for freezing, because they break down and become mush when defrosted, but they can be used in ice creams, trifles and soufflès.

Wash strawberries and place individually in ice cube tray. Freeze. Use instead of ice cubes in water, lemonade, etc... and munch them when the glass is empty!

Frozen strawberries are great for using in cocktails




SUGAR

If you've got rock-hard brown sugar or crystallised honey/syrup, put it in a microwaveable bowl and give it a quick blast of about 30 seconds on a high setting in the microwave. This will bring them back to their normal state.




SWEDE

After removing the skin, slice and cut into chips, but don't put into water. Pop into a plastic bag and freeze. Can be cooked from frozen.




SWEETCORN

Excess fresh corn can be cut into mini cobs and frozen in freezer bags until ready to pop into a saucepan with boiling water for cooking.

Alternatively slice off the kernels and freeze in mini portions ready to be sprinkled onto pizza or used in salads.




TOMATOES

To freeze tomatoes, remove their stalks and freeze whole in freezer bags. They can then be used in place of canned tomatoes, in a tomato or Bolognese sauce or chilli con carne. Just put the whole frozen tomatoes into the pan at the point when you would add the canned tomatoes.

Don't try to defrost them separately as they turn to mush.




TORTILLA WRAPS

Keep wraps in the freezer. They can be defrosted individually under a grill within 30 seconds, long enough to assemble the ingredients. They don't go soggy and they're there for the days you run out of bread.




VEGETABLES

(also refer to individual vegetables listed here).

Put old carrots or soft celery into a glass of water in the fridge to revive them.

Add squashy tomatoes to a chilli or pasta sauce.

Use cheap seasonal vegetables to bulk out meals.

Vegetables that are past their best make a great soup.

Frozen vegetables from the supermarket are as healthy as fresh.




WATERCRESS

Try to buy watercress in bunches and to keep it fresh put the stems in a jar of water (like a bunch of flowers) and store in the fridge.




WATERMELON

If you have watermelon left over, chop it up into cubes and put it in the freezer. This makes a really sweet, healthy snack and is a good way to cool down on a hot day.




WINE

Use up the last half glass of a bottle of wine (or wine that's been left open or even just wine you didn't really like) by filling an ice cube tray. Just pop one or two out straight into a sauce or casserole.




YAMS

Store in a cool, dry, dark place; ideally in a cloth bag. To freeze: wash, peel and boil until tender, slice or mash and sprinkle with lemon juice to stop them from going brown. Cool and put into a container or freezer bag.




YOGHURT

Add leftover yoghurt to fruit smoothies and juices, or to a cake or scone mixture instead of milk.

Frozen yogurt makes a lovely dessert and tubes of fromage frais made for children are actually easier to eat once frozen. If you have a big family sized pot of yogurt to use up, try pouring it in to ice cube moulds.

Mix yoghurt with any over ripe fruit, such as banana and strawberries. Pour into ice tray molds and freeze


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