It’s estimated we threw away £64 million worth of food over the festive season. But Christmas isn’t the only time we are wasteful. A recent government-funded study suggests many families unwittingly throw away the equivalent of 24 meals a month. Here, Mandy Francis offers clever tips to stretch the contents of your fridge and larder further.
- Breakfast cereals can be revitalised by a ten-second blast in the microwave
- Hard loaves of bread can be zapped in the microwave, too — wrap in a slightly damp paper towel and heat for ten seconds, or until the loaf feels soft again.
- Dry slices of bread can be cut into small squares and baked in the oven to make croutons. Sprinkle the cubes with olive oil and season with salt and pepper or dried herbs, then place them into a hot oven and cook until they brown off and all moisture from the bread has evaporated. They are best used straight away, sprinkled on soups.
- Old bread slices can also be tossed in a food processor to make breadcrumbs for coating fish or meat, or you can add herbs and use the crumbs in stuffing recipes.
TURN FLOPPY VEGGIES INTO STOCK
Freeze your unused, clean and chopped veg, wait until the bag is full, boil and blitz it for some delicious soup
- Keep a large plastic bag in the freezer and throw in rinsed and chopped vegetable ‘leftovers’.
Once the bag is full, defrost these leftovers, then add a cooked onion, garlic, water and herbs. Boil for 20 minutes and then strain to make a stock or liquids to make a soup. Both can be used immediately or frozen in one pint portions until needed.
Ice cube trays (the ones with extra-large compartments are best) can be incredibly useful for preserving leftovers. Fill them with any of the following, then decant the loose cubes into freezer bags to use as needed.
- A large pot of yogurt that’s almost reached its use-by date can be frozen into cubes to be added to smoothies and sauces, or defrosted to top a fresh fruit dessert at a later date.
- Crack open spare eggs, beat them with a little salt or sugar to stabilise the yolks and then freeze the raw egg mixture in an ice cube tray. Use within six months for omelette, scrambled eggs and baking.
- White or red wine can be frozen in an ice cube tray, then dropped into homemade stews or sauces for added flavor.
- If you have handfuls of fresh herbs left after a recipe, chop them finely, mix with olive oil or melted butter and freeze. Your herb cubes will work perfectly in omelette, stews and sauces.
STORE ONIONS IN YOUR TIGHTS
Tie onions individually into the legs of an old but clean pair of tights (tie a knot in the tights between each one), then hang them up in a cool, dry, well-ventilated spot to extend the vegetables’ lifespan.