By Hibah Khan|
January 26, 2022|
4 min read
Within that last year we’ve seen a real shift towards people working hard to make their meals go further. There seems to be a concerted effort to want to waste less and be more sustainable in the kitchen. According to WRAP, “70% of the food that is wasted in the UK is wasted by citizens in their own homes. That’s 4.5 million tonnes of food that could have been eaten being thrown away every year.”
But what steps can we take right now to make the most of our food? We’ve compiled a list of our top tips and tricks that’ll help your fruit and veg go further.
1. Washing berries with vinegar:
Make a diluted vinegar bath (1:3 ratio) in a big mixing bowl using 1 cup apple cider vinegar and 3 cups water. Soaking your berries in this vinegar mixture can help to kill off mold and germs. After this, strain your berries and rinse them under cool running water in a colander. This ensures that you won’t be able to detect any leftover vinegar taste later on. After you’ve washed and dried your berries, it’s time to dry them completely by placing them in a sealable container lined with paper towels and keeping the lid slightly open. This is to avoid moisture trapping and will make your berries last much longer.
2. Keep leafy greens fresh:
Leafy greens, such as lettuce, rocket, watercress, spinach, kale and cabbage, should be kept uncrowded and fully dry in a loosely wrapped bag or sealed glass container. To preserve your leafy greens you’ll need to remove all stems and thoroughly clean your produce. A good wash not only removes dirt, but it also rehydrates your greens, keeping them crisp. Allow your greens to dry completely after washing them; moisture encourages withering. Before storing your vegetables, allow them to air dry and then place them in a glass food storage container or a Reusable Food Storage Bag.
3. Storing your herbs correctly:
We suggest wrapping herbs loosely in a damp paper towel instead of putting them in a glass of water. You can then place these bundles of herbs in your salad drawer within an airtight container or resealable bag. The paper towel keeps the herbs damp but not soggy, while the container or resealable bag keeps oxygen out.
4. Freezing your fruit and vegetables:
Place washed and prepared fruit and vegetables on a nonstick baking sheet or one lined with baking parchment, space them well apart and freeze until solid. You could also try filling freezer bags with the mixture and label them. Before freezing, most veggies must be blanched. You can do this by cooking the vegetables for 1-3 minutes (depending on the vegetable) in boiling water, then remove with a slotted spoon and plunge into freezing cold water to terminate the cooking process. Then place onto a baking sheet and freeze.
5. Brining/ pickling your fruit and vegetables:
Making pickles is a delicious way to repurpose any tired-looking fruit and vegetables in the back of the fridge before they spoil. Pickled food can amazingly last up to 5-6 months when refrigerated, giving you more than enough time to eat it. Here’s a simple pickle recipe using cucumbers, why not give it a go.
1. Making pesto from wilting greens:
You can try making a delicious pesto using some rocket or spinach that has been left a bit too long in the fridge and is beginning to wilt. If you have herb stems on hand, there’s no reason they can’t go in there as well. To make a vegan pesto sauce, blend your spinach or rocket with fresh basil, pine nuts, and garlic to provide the foundation, with a dash of lemon juice added for acidity and brightness. Nutritional yeast is optional, but it adds a cheesy colour and flavour if desired. Blend in some extra virgin olive oil to emulsify and turn this paste into a sauce. Enjoy!
2. Zero waste vinaigrettes:
It’s one of the most aggravating emotions, the feeling of scraping the jar’s bottom, knowing that you’ll never be able to get it all out. That’s something we can assist you with! You can make a great vinaigrette for your salads by whisking together some oil, vinegar, and seasoning. Tahini? Add the olive oil, garlic, lemon zest and juice, salt & pepper, and a pinch of sumac to the pan. Mustard? Olive oil, red wine or apple cider vinegar, honey, and seasonings are a great combination. What about jams and preserves? The combination of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, shallots, and fresh thyme is delicious.
3. Making and storing stock:
When it comes to stock, this is one of our favourite ways to get the most out of your kitchen scraps. Instead of dumping all of the waste into the compost bin every time you make a meal, put it in a freezer container. Anything goes, including root vegetable peelings, carrot tops, onion skins, mushroom stalks and herb stems – the options are unlimited. Empty everything into a heavy-bottomed pan towards the end of the week, season with salt and cover with plenty of water. You can also add a bay leaf or two and turmeric if desired. Simply bring to a boil, then lower the heat and cover allowing it to simmer for a few hours. Once cooled you can store in the freezer and use as stock in future meals.
4. Reserving your herbs:
There’s no need to throw your herbs if they’re wilting at the back of your fridge. Those that are towards the end of their lives can be infused in good quality olive oil. An alternative option is to dry and chop the herbs so they can be frozen and quickly added to meals later in the week.. Use ice cube trays to freeze a combination of extra virgin olive oil and your herbs to conveniently add flavour when you’re cooking in a rush. Feel free to watch and follow our latest TikTok on how to save wilting herbs.
5. Using the whole banana… Yes that means even the peels:
That’s correct… It turns out that you can eat the whole banana, including the peel. It may not sound pleasant, but if you wait until your bananas are fully ripe, the peel will be thin and sweet. Simply give them a good wash and you’ll find that they can be used in a variety of ways. For instance, we have a recipe for Banana Peel Muffins on our website that you could try out. Alternatively, preserve the peel from an overripe banana and add it to your morning smoothie for an added boost of fibre. They’re also fantastic in chutney.
If you’re looking for more information check out our post on 7 Simple Methods To Preserve Food and Reduce Waste!