During the isolation, many people saw it as perfect opportunity to get creative in the kitchen. Of course, that is if being sustainable and resourceful with food is high on their priority list. Now, we’re turning our attention to re-using food waste to make your groceries go even further.

From easy ways to use each and every part of your produce, to tips on how to freeze fresh fruit and vegetables, and even guidance on how to re-grow veggies from the stalks, these hacks have got you covered.

From making your own stock from leftover veggies to conjuring up your own soothing teas using leftover herbs, here are 10 genius ways to repurpose your leftovers.

Everything pesto

Well start with pesto, because pesto is really is the best way to whip up a tasty sauce from any leftover greens. Rocket or spinach, herb stalks, beet, carrot top greens etc, that’s been left a little long and is starting to wilt can be thrown into the food processor.

Clear-the-fridge casserole

A rich, saucy casserole or stew is the perfect dish to use up any veggies left in the fridge at the end of the week that youre just not quite sure what to do with. Wilted greens, celery ends, that half of a pepper leftover from your stir fry – they can all be tossed into a heavy bottomed pan along with any beans you have in the pantry, a can or two of chopped tomatoes and some stock.

Save your scraps for stock

Speaking of stock, this is one way to really squeeze all we can out of your kitchen scraps. Every time you make a meal throughout the week, instead of throwing all the organic waste into the compost bin, pop it into a container in the freezer instead. Root veg peelings, carrot tops, onion skins, mushroom stalks and herb stems alike – seriously – anything goes and the possibilities are endless.

At the end of the week empty everything into a heavy bottomed pan, season with salt and cover with plenty of water, maybe add a bay leaf or two and some turmeric. Then simply bring to the boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer up for a couple of hours.

Make use of your cauliflower leaves

We’re used to removing these from the stem and throwing them straight into the compost in favour of using the head but actually, cauliflower leaves are an incredibly versatile veg in their own right. When roasted, they crisp up nicely and, with a dash of your favourite spices, work great as your side of greens with dinner. They can also be steamed or chopped and tossed into a stir fry with some garlic.

End-of-the-jar vinaigrette

It’s one of the more frustrating feelings out there, when you’re scraping the bottom of the jar knowing that you’ll never quite be able to get everything out well, we can help with that! By adding some oil, vinegar and a bit of seasoning you can shake it all up into delicious vinaigrette for your salads. Tahini? Add olive oil, chopped garlic, lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper and a dash of sumac. Mustard, Olive oil, red wine or apple cider vinegar, honey and seasoning. Jams and preserves? Olive oil, balsamic vinegar, shallots and fresh thyme work great.

Fruit-end infused water

This is such a simple way to make use of strawberry tops, orange or lemon peel and ginger scraps. Simply add to your water and leave in the fridge to infuse overnight; when you grab it as you’re walking out the door the next day you’ll have refreshing, flavour-filled water. Try experimenting with flavour combinations too, maybe adding some herb stalks for a twist.

Watermelon rind chutney

Who here thought that there could ever be a way to make use of your watermelon rind? We certainly didn’t but there’s no way we’ll be chucking them out again. Instead, we’ll be whipping up a batch of this chutney to make the most of the entire watermelon.

The whole banana

That’s right it turns out you can eat the entire banana, skin and all. It might not sound the most appealing, but if you wait for your bananas to ripen well the skin will be thin and sweet. Simply give them a good wash and you’ll find there are multiple ways to use them. For example, some cake recipes use the entire banana. Otherwise, just save the peels by themselves and add them to your morning smoothie for some extra fibre.

Preserve those herbs / infuse your grains

If you’ve found your herbs wilting at the pack of your fridge there’s no need to toss them straight out. Those that are on the way out can be added to good quality olive oil and left to infuse, and those looking a little healthier? Let them dry out or get them minced and frozen to use later. They will last ages!
Speaking of herbs one way to use the stems after picking the leaves? Add them to the pot when simmering up your grains. They bring a great hint of flavour to your quinoa, rice or couscous once cooked.

Make use of those citrus skins

The peelings from oranges, lemons and grapefruits have a myriad of uses so you’ll never have to throw them out again! Boiled up with sugar and water you can make candied peel or a citrus infused syrup for baking; top up with boiling water or dry them out to use at a later date for a fragrant tea; infuse a good quality liquor; use them for DYI cleaning solutions. The possibilities are endless.

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