Don’t Throw That Away! An A-Z of leftovers, tired veg, etc and what to do with them.

This piece started after an article in the Independent about the top 10 foods that we apparently throw away in the UK. I took to Twitter to ask people what usually ended up in their bin, and then spent a whole day and night answering hundreds of queries – some of them came up a lot, like bread and mushrooms, and some were rathee more surprising, like ‘half a jar of caviar’ (not a problem I can say I have ever had, but I am here to help, and inverse snobbery is as ghastly as the original kind so please, resist the urge.)

I have compiled them all here as an A-Z, and will keep this list going, and add to it regularly, as a handy reference point – so keep checking back! And add your own tips at the bottom, our ‘hive mind’ is a much better thing than my admittedly limited experience!!

Also remember you can always use the search bar on the blog to find recipe ideas too, for that stray carrot, half a tin of pulses or bargain bag of oats…

As ever, I would love this to be shared far and wide as I have designed it to be useful, but please bear in mind it has been about 14 hours unpaid work so please don’t just nick it – link to it or credit, and if you are a profit-making site or news organisation get in touch and we’ll sort something out, coz I’m happy to help individuals – it’s what I do – but if you’re a big fish gonna make money out of me it’s probably fair to pay me too. Friendly little prod. If you suspect this is about you then it probably is, HuffPo, Daily Mail, I’m looking at you.



Almonds: Blitz into a pesto with greens, garlic, lemon, oil and salt. Cook with sugar and spices. Make almond milk. Cook into a passanda. Toss through salad. Chop and add oats and sugar and bake in granola.

Apples: Sweeter apples make a great apple butter, there are lots of recipes available online for it. Stew them until soft and use as a vegan egg replacer in cakes. Dried apples are good too, slice and bake in the bottom of the oven to dry out then store in a jar for a few months.

Aubergines: Baba ghanoush, aubergine curry, miso aubs, aub and kidney bean burgers, roast aub soup, aub and lentil pasta sauce…

Avocado (bruised/freckly): Some brown bruised bits are fine, use your judgement. Excellent mashed in guacamole with lots of lemon or lime, you won’t even see the bruises by the time it’s all thumped together.

Baking powder: Lost its fizz? You can use it to clean things with, like stubborn pots, the oven, whites in the machine, etc. Some folks clean their teeth with it (!), others their microwaves. Horses for courses I guess!

Bananas: Dry them, mash and freze them, make banana pancakes, banana muffins, banana bread, mix with oats and bake for banana granola, lob in a smoothie with oats and milk for a morning power breakfast…

Banana skins: Tape to the bottom of your foot for verrucas like my mum used to. (Hey, it worked). Other suggestions on Twitter included using them to extract splinters, and drying them out to make shoes. Yes really.

Beansprouts: Easy to freeze! Just freeze half when you get a bag so they stay at their best. Can be cooked from frozen in a hot pan so heck, freeze them all.

Beetroot: Pickle them, freeze them, juice them, soup them, crisp them, falafel them, burger them, roast them, bake them into a cake, grate into a magical looking slaw, and for the really wrinkly ones boil them in a pan of rice or pasta to turn it pink and surprise the kids (or yourself).

Blueberries: Freeze them when you get them, anything they work in they’ll work in frozen as they’re so tiiiny. Bake in pancakes and muffins. Dry out in the bottom of a warm oven and snack on. Snack on them frozen, come to that!

Bok choy: Separate it from the base, wash and freeze it. High water content in the stalk means it freezes well. Use in soups and stir fries from frozen.

Bread: Roux, cheese, break up bread, stir, dish, cheese top, bake. Mac-n-cheese/bread pud hybrid would be IMMENSE. Do it! Also freeze half the loaf when you buy it so it stays in good nick. Use for toast, pappa al pomodoro, bread pudding, breadcrumbs, bread sauce, etc.

Broccoli: If it’s losing its colour it’s also losing its goodness, so act quickly. Blanch it and freeze it to use later. Blitz raw in a blender and add to salad, or blanch and cool and make a pesto by adding lemon, garlic, oil, nuts or seeds. Pesto can be frozen and used later, or kept in the fridge for around a week. There’s always broccoli soup, too!

Broccoli stems: Slice and stir fry, or make a great soup. Fry for a few mins to start them off for a better flavour. Gorgeous cooked until soft with crushed garlic, salt, lemon and chilli as a side dish, too.

Butternut squash: See ‘squash’


Cabbage: Pickle it! Slice thin, boil in water with 1 tsp each sugar and salt. Jar, Add vinegar, fridge, enjoy.

Cake (stale): Make a basic semi freddo, (recipe on my blog), crumble pud, fold through, freeze, enjoy all year. Make cake pops. Slice and make a trifle or tiramisu.

Caraway seeds: Fry them and store in oil to infuse and keep in the fridge. Add to sugar and infuse for bakes. Breads. Biscuits. Toast and use to top salads. Add to rice when cooking to accompany curries.

Carrots: Grate or julienne, and pickle them. Especially delicious with indian spices, garlic, white wine vinegar, mustard seed, and salt. Oof. Also ribbon with a veg peeler and toss through pasta.

Cauliflower: Blitz raw into tabbouleh. Roast with turmeric. Ottolenghi has some wicked ways with cauli, he’s my brassica hero, so look up his Guardian recipes and ignore any fancy ingredients if you don’t have them.

Celeriac: Roast for soup, make a celeriac dauphinoise, grate into slaw, dice and fold through mac n cheese…

Celery (leaves): Pop in water in the fridge to infuse for a very yummy drink, or blitz into pesto, or add to juices and smoothies.

Celery (wilting): Soak it in cold water overnight to refresh it then roast it and blitz with spuds and stock for a gorgeous soup.

Cereals (gone soft): Most can be rescued but there will be some exceptions. Shake them onto a baking tray, bake at 140C for about 20 mins, let cool, and they should be good as new. If not, make them into crispie cakes or rocky road or fridge cake, and scour poundshops for decent cereal-storage containers so it doesn’t happen again!

Chard: I am obsessed with chard. Massage with oil and salt and lemon to soften it, top a pizza, make salad, pesto, drop it into soups, make a saag aloo, and use the stalks like celery.

Cheese: Cheese can be frozen but it goes a bit crumbly, so grate it and use from frozen for best results.

Clementines: See ‘Satsumas’

Condensed milk: Amazing in a risotto base or carbonara but temper with something sharp like lots of lemon to balance. Dollop into strong coffee. Make fudge or extra-rich caramel sauce or Scottish tablet.

Coriander: Just freeze it or dry it when you get it, and use it like that. Much simpler than finding it soggy in the fridge.

Cottage cheese: You can freeze it because of sloshy texture. Just defrost in the fridge overnight before use. Or lob in an omelette.

Courgettes: Can be made into fritters, ratatouille, roasted for soup or pasta sauce, chips, battered and deep fried, pickled, and someone has a very popular courgette gratin recipe…!

Cucumber (soft): If it isn’t actually slimy, slice and freeze to add to water or gin/vodka based drinks. If it’s too squashy it’s beyond help this time, but generally the exposed end wastes first, so cut a bit off then give it a prod to see how gar down the damage goes. Or pickle it in white wine vinegar with salt and mustard and fennel seeds.





Garlic (dried up): Excellent. Pop it in a jar, and you have yourself some dried garlic. Use in anything slow cooked, like soup, stocks, curries, casseroles, stews.

Garlic (sprouting): Pop it somewhere sunny and let it grow, if you’re curious. The green shoots are delicious lightly fried – like a cross between garlic and a tender spring onion. Use cooked to top soup, in soup, in hummus (again, cook it first), stir fried, but make sure you cook it. Raw sprouted anything can cause serious stomach upsets and worse for lots of reasons too gross to go into here. I’m not in the business of scaremongering but I’ve had raw sprouted stuff twice in my life and both times I was horribly sick for days. So cook them. Please. The raw garlic shoots you buy in fancy shops are a kind of chive, not grown like this.

Herbs: Freeze or dry the other half and use later on. Stalks can be blitzed with oil + lemon for salad dressings, keep in the fridge and use within a week.

Hummus: Makes an excellent pasta sauce hot or cold with veggies. Or mix with mac n cheese. Or top pizza with it as a vegan alternative to cheese. Have it on toast, too, it’s yummy melting into a slice of warm toast…




Kale: Kale pesto, or wash and freeze it to use later. Good in soups (I have a kale and barley recipe) and curries, and saag aloo. I drop it into pasta sauces and casseroles blitzed into tiny pieces too.

Ketchup: Use it in place of tomato puree in most recipes. Can be frozen in an ice cube tray and used from frozen in soups, stews and casseroles, too.

Kohlrabi: Was my Grandad’s fave freaky little vegetable. Good as mash, roasted, in a salad, dauphinoise-style, or grated in a slaw.


Lemons/Limes (whole):

Lemons/Limes (squeezed out): Dry them in the bottom of the oven or on top of a radiator and keep to use as firelighters, the oils burn off and smell amazing, and if they are on a BBQ, they impart a great little flavour too.

Lettuce: Slice, oil, lemon, salt, toss through pasta for surprisingly delicious pasta salad. Or cook with peas, french style. Also great tossed into a pea soup sliced thinly at the end.


Mayo: Use in place of butter when mashing potatoes for a richer taste if you struggle to get through a jar. Use instead of butter for cheese on toast, plain hot toast, or sandwiches, too.

Milk: If it’s only just turning you can add it to natural yoghurt to make your own yoghurt. Store in the fridge and keep an eye (or nose) on it. You can also use it in place of buttermilk in soda bread and scones.

Mushrooms: Best thing is to dry them. It intensifies their flavour and they can keep for a year in a jar. Simply leave to dry on a baking tray for a few days, or pop in the bottom of the oven when it’s on for something else. They make an excellent earthy stock too, just slow cook with herbs and an onion, a carrot if you have it, and a pinch of salt for an excellent base for soup or risotto.


Olives: Tapenade! Also can be dried, blitzed & kept for months. I have been known to serve dessicated olives with a cheese course just because I can, and people always loved them. Also great sprinkled on a risotto, or added to stews, casseroles and soups for a deep tangy flavour.

Oranges: See ‘Satsumas’


Pasta (cooked): See ‘spaghetti’

Peppers: Roast and blitz into a pasta sauce with tomato and onion, or sneak into pizza sauce. Freeze either in ice cubes and use as required.

Pickled cabage: I’m thinking drop it into a beet soup and cook off the vinegar… Yum!

Pizza: Breakfast. Like a superior cheese on toast. Or dice small and bake and add to soup like intense little croutons. You’ll thank me.

Plums (unripe): Stick them in the microwave wrapped in a thin tea towel for 2 min on defrost. Voila.

Plums (squishy): Boil up with a little sugar and lemon to make a compote. Store in the fridge or freezer and add to yoghurt, granola, toast, porridge, bircher, cakes, etc.


Rice: COOL IT COMPLETELY. Add an egg (gram flour if vegan) and chill it. Fry in patties next morning for amazing brunch. Also see ‘bibimbap’ for ideas from Korea of how to sex up fried rice. Oof.

Roast potatoes: Have them cold in a potato salad, hot in saag aloo, blitz for soup, make a spud curry, slice and refry for potato sandwiches like my Aunty Helen used to make.

Rocket: Rocket makes an excellent fiery pesto. Add oil, lemon, garlic, S&P, cheese, nuts or seeds. Freeze for months or fridge for 7-10 days.

Satsumas: Boil up and simmer for a compote to spread on toast or add to birchers, or make small marmalade; equal weight fruit to sugar, boil, simmer, jar, fridge, enjoy. Also delicious in a curd, find a simple lemon curd recipe and replace the lemons with satsumas and off you go.

Spaghetti (cooked): Chop it up small and start a minestrone soup. Can of tomatoes, stock, carrots, peas or greens, go.

Spinach: Freeze half of it when you buy it to prevent the sludgey bottom of the bag. Use in pesto, soup, curry, casseroles, tagines – I put it in everything!

Spring onion/scallion tops: Slice and add to oil with garlic, lemon, ginger, chilli, salt/soy = sexy spicy asian-style dressing for noodles, stir fries, salads and veg. Slice and add to mash for colcannon, too.

Squash: Dice it and blanch it and freeze it. Chips. Mash. Risotto. Soup. Mix into hummus. Grate it and make a rosti. Posh bubble and squeak. Pasta sauce with chilli and cheese. Curry with chickpeas and spinach.

Sweetcorn: Shuck it and freeze it and use it from frozen. Dry the middles and donate to friends with guinea pigs – mine loved to gnaw on them!

Tahini: Make halva. Lots of halva. And send me some.

Taramasalata: Makes a great pasta sauce warm with lemon. Add a mashed egg and some spinach/kale for luxury.

Toast: Pappa al pomodoro is excellent made with toast. I do it with SBs discarded half eaten toast if it’s only had butter or marmite on.

Tomatoes: Just cook slowly with a few cloves of garlic, dash of vinegar or lemon and a pinch of salt for the best pasta sauce. Or make a panzanella! Or blitz/mash for passata and freeze it until you need it.



Weetabix crumbs or similar: These are very good in a crumble topping! Just store in a small bag or jar until needed. If you bake your own bread they can be added to the flour too.


Yoghurt: If not too far gone, add salt and mashed garlic, pour into a teatowel, hang in the fridge over a bowl to strain overnight, and you have labneh. Experiment with spices like cumin and chilli, za’atar if you have it, lemon zest and pepper if you haven’t. (I don’t have za’atar but someone might!)

Zested citrus fruits: Slice them and freeze them whole and use in water/alcoholic drinks. Or cook immediately into compote or a curd before they harden.

What do you struggle to use up? If I can answer it I’ll add it to the list – just comment below!

Jack Monroe. On Twitter/Instagram @MxJackMonroe.

  My new book, Cooking on a Bootstrap, is now available to order HERE.

This blog is free to those who need it, and always will be, but it does of course incur costs to run and keep it running. If you use it and benefit, enjoy it, and would like to keep it going, please consider popping something in the tip jar, and thankyou.

Categories: NEWS, Recipes & Food


    • Why are “bones” missing from your list? We put them in a freezer bag with leftover veg cuttings etc to boil up in our slow cooker and make broth. After you’ve made your own broth you’ll never use those little salt and brown food colouring cubes again.

  1. This is an amazing list Jack, thank you!

    Other suggestions for carrots:

    Carrot cake – (even if they look a bit yucky, just peel and grate them and shove them in, they’ll be great!)
    Carrot jam – carrots, sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon. Perfect on toast!

  2. Your hard work was worth it because these ideas are great. Thankyou. Re Spring onions (and a few other veggies) These can also be regrown in water on your windowsill. Worth doing an online search to check it out. Again, thanks for your endless creativity and inspiration. Keep well. X

  3. Red cabbage! They are always massive which doesn’t help. Potatoes always seem to go green and/or sprouty before I get through a bag of them.

    • If you’re doing braised red cabbage use the whole one and when cooked portion it up and freeze. Freezes really well cooked and you just need to reheat it on the hob or covered in the bottom of the oven. It takes just as long to cook loads as a little in the first place so might as well make a lot ☺

    • I grate uncooked or slightly cooked potatoes and freeze them. You can do a number of things with them like make hash browns or potato pancakes.
      Shred your cabbage and quick steam it and freeze it. Make it easier to throw it into a side dish. I use an old Scandinavian cookbook to find all my cabbage recipes.

    • Thank you Jack! re potatoes – grab some free brown mushroom bags from the supermarket (good to put your cheap mushroom into in the fridge) and take your pots out of the plastic bags which they hate, and put into brown paper bags instead. Try to store the bags somewhere cool. We are still eating potatoes which we dug up last October, and although you need to check them regularly they are still good!

    • Place ur sprouting potatoes in a bag with compost and grow more that’s what we do. And we have potatoes most of the year

  4. Jack.
    Surely there’s a thick leaflet if not a book in this.

    Perhaps paid for by whatever UK government agency overseeing the stuff that gets composted?

    Or perhaps the government would rather distribute it to homeless people who find these foods in skips? Sorry, my cynicism is showing.

      • Great suggestion with the pizza croutons but my favourite leftover technique is taking any leftover cooked potatoes and mixing together with egg to make potato cakes – with an infinite number of variations according to whatever the leftover god has left in your fridge. … and maybe there should be a separate list of things which taste delicious the next day straight out of the fridge
        .. and quite a lot about food safety

  5. Melon
    (I’ve done this with a honeydew my daughter was insisting on throwing away as over-ripe, but I thought it under-ripe – I had to use it immediately or she’d throw it away again)

    Cut it open, scoop out all the seeds. Then cut out all the good melon and chop into bits. Chuck into a liquidizer or blender. Add some ginger marmalade. For me, with a seriously sweet tooth I’d add some sucralose granules, but most wouldn’t. When blended to a puree, freeze. Ginger and Melon Sorbet – wonderful for desert after a curry.

  6. Red cabbage – I just use the whole lot to make a Christmas-type red cabbage dish with apples and cinnamon and onions then freeze it in batches. It lasts me the whole year round!
    Spinach – if you use it for cooking, then buy it frozen. Three bags for two pounds from my local freezer shop and apparently just as nutritious.
    Banana skins – as someone says, chop up and feed the roses. Helps the flowering.
    I always automatically freeze half a cake when I make one. Saves me from my self!
    This might raise eyebrows but if I have something that I really won’t use, I leave it in the field for the foxes / birds. Not in the garden for the rats!! I would rather they ate it than it went to total waste, especially in hard weather. Mind you, an old cabbage, meant for the deer, was ignored by everyone for a very long time a few winters back.

  7. Fantastic idea. Lots and lots of people need to see this list! Food waste is shocking, both for the planet and for one’s pocket.

    Whole lemons: I zest them and freeze the zest in ice cube trays with just a little bit of water; and then juice them and freeze the juice, also in ice cube trays, so that I can make lemonade or bake lemon cakes and muffins whenever I want.

    If you have a little bit of leftover spag bol (with or without the spag) ie not enough for a whole portion, I like adding it to a tin of tomato soup for a more substantial lunch or light dinner.

    Wilted lettuce – add it into a tin of veg soup for a bit of extra oomph (or make your own soup).

    Potatoes: latkes, colcannon, use leftover mash to make fishcakes, pan haggerty (it’s a Geordie recipe – sliced potatoes, onions and cheese fried in layers – you can add bacon and other veg if you’re feeling flash, or use a cheese sauce rather than just grated cheese), potato soup (can add extra veg eg celery or leeks if you have them), potato and pea curry

    When I have a bit of extra cauli or broccoli, I blanch it and turn it into a gratin with cubed potatoes, some onion, a tin of white beans (well, I usually use dried beans but tinned is a lot faster) and a chopped tomato, all mixed up in a cheese sauce and baked for half an hour or so.

    Rarely, I have found myself with some leftover steak (normally because I buy a big tray and portion it up and there’s a bit left over) – I chop it into little chunks, quickly fry it up and mix it into a mac n cheese for a special treat.

  8. Thank you Jack your hard work is once again amazing, nothing much gets wasted in our house since reading your fantastic blog. Keep up the good work please xxx

  9. Couple extra ideas:

    – bananas: any old, brown, tired looking banana will work well to replace one egg in a cake mix. Just mash and add t your cake mix
    – cheese: if you have 3-4 bits and bobs of cheese sitting in your fridge old and dry but still edible, two options to get rid of them are pizza (dice and add to pizza toppings, experiment with various combinations) and potato bake/ gratin (grate the cheese if hard enough, if not dice it and scatter it on top of the potatoes, pop into oven to melt and “gratinate”)

  10. Can I add for leftover beetroot – use it in cakes. Lots of recipes out there for chocolate beetroot cakes usually needing cooked beetroot. Nigella has a fabulous recipe in her Christmas book for a cranberry fruit cake which uses grated raw beetroot – it’s lovely and not just fir Christmas. Perfect for leftover ones from bunches. You generally have to buy them in bunches I find!

  11. Hummus – throw into bean stew, pasta sauce, ratatouille (fantastic!). I’m interested in the raw sprouts because I’ve never (yet) had a problem. I eat raw home sprouted brown lentils a lot in winter salads when not enough is growing in the garden.

    • For green tomatoes I usually make a jam or pickle them. The jam is good with cheese:) or I cook it until it is almost hard and dry it out for a special treat.
      Use sugar, lemon juice and zest, leftover vanilla, a bit of cinnamon, ginger, and honestly whatever spice you like, it goes well with a wide array of “sweet” spices (I use anise, cloves, sometimes orange juice and zest, even a pinch of black pepper). You have to constantly stir and taste, I always use different tomato-to-sugar ratio, it really depends on your vegetables. This recipe also works with the ripe ones, too, and I have an “orange” tomato tree, so I can make a funky version:)

  12. You mention caviar – whilst its not cheap as chips cheap, you can buy little jars of it in Sainsburys for about three quid – think its called lumpfish caviar. It’s very nice. I like a tiny bit on top of tzatziki on top of either a bilini or a slice of deep fried cauliflower floret. But as you only use a tiny little bit, I often end up with half a jar……..I just start off with another batch of tzatziki on toast the next day for breakfast but now really curious as to what other uses I could put it to.

    • Forgot to mention that caviar with scrambled eggs is pretty good too and cheaper than smoked salmon

    • great to have this caviar on baked potatoes with cottage cheese, cream cheese or soured cream. you can also buy it in Lidl, I haven’t had it for a while, something I might get again after reading these posts

  13. I hate leaving bits stuck in jars. When I’m down to the scrapings in peanut butter, I add rice vinegar, light soy and sesame oil, stick it in the microwave for 30 seconds then give it a good shake = satay style dressing for stir fry. With marmite I just pour in a little boiling water, give it a good shake and add it to stews for a great savoury flavour. Also, I never throw away pickle juice, just save it all in a big jar then use it to make more pickles 🙂

    • I hate leaving bit stuck in jars. With Grainy Mustard I’m not too fastidious about cleaning the jar out, as I add some oil and vinegar, or oil and Lemon juice. Maybe some herbs a bit of salt and pepper, put the lid on. Shake the jar and I have a salad dressing that cleans the jar for me.

      I’ll be trying the Satay style stir fry sauce trick with the peanut butter jar.

    • You can also make almond meal/flour with this. Just spread it over a baking tray and bake on the lowest setting until dry (turning the meal every 5-10 minutes).
      Cheaper than buying both almond milk AND almond flour 🙂
      You can also do this with coconut meat.

    • Dry it out in bottom of oven on as low as poss, then blitz up and use as almond flour. Another idea, pulp hummus, or put as is in cookies, pancakes, smoothies. Or in banana bread, raw energy balls, flapjacks, porridge. It’s a versatile ingredient. I even saw,a recipe for freezer fudge! >

  14. Jack,

    I just shared your great work with my Danish facebook friends.


    Liselotte, Copenhagen

  15. I keep ending up with half a small tin of tomato purée, can I freeze it? Great ideas here, I don’t waste a lot as there is always the dog (for things it’s safe for them to eat!) and soup. Thank you!

    • This is a chronic issue at my house, so I have learned to scoop tablespoons full onto a baking tray, then stick that into the freezer, then when solid I can put my little mountains of tomato heaven in a freezer bag and always have tablespoonfuls of tomato past at my disposal!

  16. It would be so brilliant as a book or leaflet. I have used your website for years, since the first few words and thoughts trickled into recipes for us to gobble up. It’s meant I can afford to feed us well. I have at least one of your recipes (usually tweaked, but still yours in essence!) in every week’s menu, and you taught me how to think about food differently.

    I’m not entirely sure how many people I’ve sent your blog to – how many I’ve worked with who are struggling to eat sensibly on a tiny budget or the friends who have been unsure where to start with turning their food habits around, but I’ve seen its influence there too. I’ve watched, quietly, as you’ve struggled with money and identity and life and forged something really rather beautiful.

    I guess it feels like I should probably say something because it would be silly not to! My husband and I are really grateful for the way you’ve so faithfully shared your experiences and recipes and zest for food.

    Keep cooking, you marvelbean.



  17. Potatoes I decant from their plastic bag into a material bag (that I made from old fabric ) and make sure no light can get to them then they last longer as the light makes them go green and start to grow

      • I use old hessian bags, the kind you can buy near the tills, when they’ve started to go a bit saggy. Pop them on the floor in the pantry and they do a good job of keeping most root veg fresh for longer.

  18. Marmite. When you’ve got to the bottom of the jar and can’t scrape any more out, put the jar with lid to one side until you’re making a soup/stew/risotto/chilli etc. Half fill the jar with hot water, put the lid on and shake the contents to melt the Marmite then use the liqour in the cooking to add an extra savoury flavour. Same with honey and jam for sweet dishes. For peanut butter, used warmed cooking oil.

  19. And on the subject of being paid for your work, why does the Guardian not acknowledge you in its features last week on eating well on a low budget?

  20. Apples can be stewed and sugar added to make apple crumble or apple pie. My Mum always does this with the apples that are going off in the fruit bowl 🙂 Brilliant idea and you should definitely write a book out of this!

  21. If your potatoes are looking a bit sad make up a pile of mash and freeze in individual portions.

  22. Bread getting dry is good crumbed and frozen for use later in nut roasts or mixed with grated cheese as a topping on things like vegetable bakes.
    If milk is too off for other things, like custard or milk puddings, I boil it to make it separate, then drip it through a coffee filter paper or muslin. The curds can be mixed with garlic, herbs, a bit of salt to make a basic (though not very tasty) soft cheese, or mixed into things like dips or sweetened to eat with stewed fruit. The whey can be added to stock for soup.
    Sprouting potatoes: peel, slice and cook before they get worse, then freeze for use in soups or mash. (I currently have boxes of these, stored from last summer’s harvest, they’ve sprouted very early with the mild winter.)
    Pumpkin: the bits hollowed out at Halloween, and the shell after a couple of days with a candle in, always make soup. Our pumpkin glut was sliced and frozen, or cooked, pureed and frozen, to use in soups, muffins, cupcakes and bread.
    Limp lettuce is ok in blended soup – with onion, potato, and other greens if you have them.
    Cucumber going soft works ok in gazpacho.

  23. Thank you Jack! My Dad often gives us stuff from his allotment and its always way more than the two of us can manage , but neither of us like throwing food away , so this list is very very welcome!!!

    I too think it would be a brilliant book!!

  24. i freeze feta – we dont eat a lot of it, but i make a pizza with pesto, spinach, feta, pinenuts/nuts, and cheese and it only uses 1/2 a pack feta so i freeze the rest for next time…..

  25. This is brilliant 😊 bean water ( from canned chick peas etc) freeze and use as a vegan egg replacer seriously, even meringues! Soya milk u wont finish – boil – add lemon – drain in a tea towel over a seive – tofu – I put marinade on and freeze it straight away. Lettuce in curry with other greens works as well as in pesto. Left over porridge makes awesome pancakes, muffins. Biscuit crumbs also work in crumble topping – cracker crumbs for savoury ones or as a binder in burgers etc. I’ve made huge batches of white/cheese/parsley sauce before and frozen them in small portions when faced with a milk glut. All bread goods ie croissants muffins crumpets make really cool kind of bread and butter puds with marmalade, chocolate or dried fruit added. You’ve probably thought of these!!!

    • Brilliant idea with using excess soya milk to make tofu! I normally freeze it and try to find some sauce to throw it in but that doesnt usually work well as it splits when frozen. Thanks for the tip!

  26. Brilliant list, thank you so much. Onion skins and potato peelings, obviously well scrubbed, make a great addition to vegetable stock.

    • You shouldn’t put potato in stock as they soak up the flavour and don’t impart any of their own. You could bake them with a little bit of oil to make crispy chips though!

  27. Left over breadcrumbs, half chewed crusts etc. Blitz and mix with equal quantity by weight of grated Cheddar or other hard cheese. Dash of hot water to make stiff paste. Dollop dessertspoonsful onto baking tray like rock cakes and bake until beginning to brown. Known as Crumbskis in my house and loved by children. You can add a finely chopped onion or experiment !

  28. Wonderful! Beans & rice, freeze for later use. Milk can be frozen, possibly in ice cube trays for adding to sauces. Peppers can be chopped & frozen for cooking later, as can chopped onions.

  29. I thought I didn’t need to read this list but how wrong was I? Loads of ideas I’d never have thought of in a million years! thank you. 🙂

  30. Hey Jack! I’ve only got as far as caraway seeds and I’m already hungry/desperate to start cooking! Caraway seeds in a leek, onion (anything else that’s spare) cobbler are amazing! Keep on doing what you’re doing, you are an inspiration! You’re also my go to recipe book for cooking, and gifting for my 5 grown/student children! Love and thanks, Julie xxx

    On Monday, 8 February 2016, COOKING ON A BOOTSTRAP by JACK MONROE wrote:

    > Jack Monroe posted: “This piece started after an article in the > Independent about the top 10 foods that we apparently throw away in the UK. > I took to Twitter to ask people what usually ended up in their bin, and > then spent a whole day and night answering hundreds of queries -” >

  31. Leftover chips? I’ve tried them diced in a Spanish omelette, but not great. Maybe with South Indian curry spices.

  32. ps (boiled) egg and potato curry!!! My pregnancy craving, amazingly fabulous!!!! Julie xxx

    On Monday, 8 February 2016, COOKING ON A BOOTSTRAP by JACK MONROE wrote:

    > Jack Monroe posted: “This piece started after an article in the > Independent about the top 10 foods that we apparently throw away in the UK. > I took to Twitter to ask people what usually ended up in their bin, and > then spent a whole day and night answering hundreds of queries -” >

  33. Wow this is just brilliant. Will be reading this piece and putting many of the suggestions into action. Love it, thanks Jack and all you other contributors…

  34. These are some of my faves:

    Whole citrus fruit: slice and freeze to use in drinks (especially good with gin!)

    Cauliflower/broccoli stem, carrot peelings, Brussels sprouts leaves: chop roughly and freeze. Then when you have enough fry up with onion and garlic, then boil up to make soups.

    Melon, berries, pineapple, kiwi, plums…: I buy most fruit when cheap, chop it up and freeze ready for breakfast smoothies… very few fruits won’t work if this is what you’re doing with them!

  35. Lemons that are going out/soft can be used for plenty of things – cleaning (pop a half in the sink instead of the plug for a bit of a freshen up), facemasks (to reduce the appearance of dark spots/blemishes), hair lightening, add the juice to a smoothie, or plonk a lemon half or quarter in a hot drink.

    Corn on the cob can be easily frozen and then grilled – normally I taste a difference in frozen food, but not corn. Corn husks also make a fab stock, especially for veggie alternatives.

    Courgettes can be spiralised into pasta! Cauliflower – simply cut away the bits that are turning, chuck the good bits in a blender and create cauliflower rice.

    I tend to pick the good bits of spinach out of a bag that’s going and use them in a smoothie.

    Milk can be frozen and defrosted, plus there’s nothing better than ice cold milk.

    I always turn mushy fruit into smoothies, bananas are better in a smoothie when they’re extra ripe as they’re so sweet. I freeze strawberries for smoothies too.

    I’m struggling with carrots – tried to freeze some last week but when defrosting they were too mushy… I had to put them in a soup.

    • You might try drying them in a slow oven. i plump them up in cold water and use in stews and roasts. Dehydrating is a wonderful way to save your excess and takes up so little room.

  36. How about dried fruit? I have quite a bit which is a long time past its use-by just tidied out a cupboard and found it) but wonder what can go wrong… Should I just make another couple of Christmas puds for this year?

  37. I drink pickle juice neat too, especially from roll mops! Have ya tried Marmite and peanut butter sandwiches yet Jack? I had them in Australia, with Vegemite obviously! Like me you love both these things so I hope you’ve given it a go!

  38. Avocados that no longer look pleasing can be whipped up with cocoa and maple syrup to make vegan chocolate mousse. Juiced lemon halves should be frozen — then you can use them as ice cubes, or when you need lemon water to keep your veggies from going brown. I once froze enough leftover grapefruit, orange and lemon peels to make the Women’s Institute leftover mixed peel marmalade. And remember, almost any leftover thing can be wrapped in crepes or filo, and people will be so delighted with the exterior wrapping that they won’t question the inside too much. (Good luck with the book. I have a 15-page pamphlet on leftovers and almost-ready-to-throw-away food that I wrote for my office’s “One Planet Living Day”, which I would be happy to share for a small mention in your forthcoming book!)

  39. I have a Q for you! Quince: Here in Chile they eat them raw with salt after bruising them quite horrifically! Or cook until they turn dark red with sugar and cardamom and serve with plain yogurt or cheese. Or finally, use as an air “freshener”, they give off a pleasant scent as they sit in the fruit bowl or basket.

  40. I always thought you had to blanch beansprouts? Can you just freeze them as they come? That’d be fantastic because I like the idea of making sandwich bags of veg for stirfry and keeping them in the freezer.

    Thanks for all your hardwork making this amazing list Jack 🙂

  41. This couldn’t have been better timed for me. I now waste very little and mostly plan my meals around the next thing that must be eaten. I also freeze what I can as soon as I get it home so there’s less chance of waste. However, there’s always odd bits and bobs I’ve forgotten about that have ultimately been ending up in the bin – with this list I am now aiming for zero food waste! 🙂
    Thanks for your hard (unpaid) work. I hope you realise how many families are eating better and are struggling less with money because of your blog. There are so many people like me out there so grateful for your cooking inspiration. x

  42. Oh, forgot to ask, any good suggestions for raspberries and strawberries? My daughter loves them but we never seem to get through a whole punnet before they start to turn. We have both sat in the fridge right now!
    Can you just freeze them? I know some things don’t freeze well if not cooked first…

    • I freeze raspberries as they are – I have a number of canes in the garden and can’t eat them quickly enough in season, so I either make jam or freeze them to add to yogurt/ice cream/semi freddo etc later. Haven’t tried it with strawberries, but then I don’t grow them and if I buy them they don’t last long enough to need freezing

    • Strawberries don’t really freeze well, they go mushy and horrible. Better to make a puree with some sugar and freeze that. Then you can eat it later on ice cream, or make smoothies with it.

      • If you make smoothies, as I do, I never prep my strawberries beyond freezing them whole. I then use the like ice cubes. If the greens aren’t all dried up, the real smoothie advocates include the green cap also. I have done so an the are soinimal in volume you can’t even tell they are in the smoothie – and you get the benefit of “the green”.

    • Strawberries go a bit mushy when frozen (raspberries go soft but are better than strawberries) but would be OK for cooking with afterwards. Alternatively, make them into sauce/purée/compote before freezing, then just defrost and serve with muesli and yoghurt or over icecream or in a crumble or whatever.

    • Make ice cream with the strawberries – mash them up with a potato masher, mix in cream, sugar and lemon or lime juice and zest. Bung in the freezer and stir every couple of hours to avoid it forming massive ice crystals until it reaches ice cream consistency. Delicious. If you blended the strawberries instead of mashing them you could probably sub out the cream for water and make sorbets. Or you could freeze them and put them in smoothies. Don’t defrost them though, as they go weird and mushy. Raspberries are fine frozen then defrosted, just slightly juicier, so I would just bung them in the freezer and then have them in cereal or on cakes or whatever.

  43. Turmeric is not on your list. I do note that on your second picture down from the top (the one with the jar of pickles), in the immediate background is a jar labeled “TURM IN VOODY”.
    It looks like turmeric, how have you preserved it? Is this Turmeric in Vodka? I have to buy it in a 16 ounce container and I can never use it all before it goes bad. How do you preserve it? Thanks.

    • You can freeze turmeric roots same as you can ginger, then grate what you need. Ginger can be grated and stored in sherry or rice wine in airtight jars, same for turmeric I would think

  44. My best reuse tip is rissoles/burgers from leftover dhal, mash potatoes, (bubble and squeak!) sweet potatoes, all kinds of interesting mixes can be made – gram flour and some spices to make pakoras, herbs and an egg or flour to bind

  45. Gluts of produce whether from the garden, offers in supermarkets or market stalls can be really worthwhile. I’ve just been drying loads of onions, some were going off and needed processing, I also cooked loads down, (soffitto) for freezing in small batches. one lot I cooked for a very long time and reduced to a kind of onion concentrate and used like stock cubes. damaged potatoes I parboil and then freeze – then you can roast straight from frozen. works a treat.

  46. This is brilliant, thank you! I get a veg box about three weeks in the month, which is amazing and my primary source of food–but I am only one person and have a tendency to let the root vegetables sit in the fridge/cupboard while I use up the ones that will go off quickest. Then by the time I’ve used all of those up, the roots are starting to go soft and are a bit past their best. I’ve just printed this out to store in my kitchen for all of those times.

    Pretty much my favourite food in the world is a stirfry with noodles/rice + green veg of any kind + garlic/ginger/soy sauce (whichever I have on hand) + fried egg on top. This is currently how I use up broccoli and brussels sprouts (both blanched). I also find that I can roast almost any past-its-best veg (other than leafy greens) with herbs and garlic, and keep it in the fridge for several days. I can dip into the pot throughout the week and serve it as a delicious side with most meals.

    • Yeah greens, rice, sesame oil egg is something I eat more often than I care to admit. Its bimbimbap basically – and perfect with a bit of siracha!

      Love this list – I use broccoli stalks and cauliflower leaves – not sure why people throw those out. But tell me who in the world ever has LEFT OVER ROAST POTATOES??

  47. You mightn’t often had leftover double cream!! but we sometimes buy it when it is reduced to pennies in our local supermarket but needs eating that day. After we have poshed up our frozen or tinned fruit, I put it in the food processor (or use an electric whisk) add a small amount of salt to taste and whip it until it goes into a solid lump of butter. Squeeze your new pat of fresh butter through an old tea towel or similiar. Don’t throw away the liquid – it is great used in pancakes or scones instead of milk. If you don’t have an electric whisk or food processor you can put it in a large scewtop jar and shake for a long time. This is a great activity for a lot of kids jumping around and passing the jar one to another – teaches them a little about solids/liquids tires them out and then you can spread the resulting home-made butter on their toast.

  48. Bananas and natural yoghurt on the turn can make a revitalising facemask for tired skin. Just mash together with honey to make a rough paste, slap it on for 15mins then rinse. The anti-oxident and exfoliating properties contained in these ingredients are said to help banish wrinkles. So as another option, if you think you can’t stomach it, wear it.

  49. I’ve been thriftily stashing away breadcrumbs in the freezer but then forgetting to use them. Anyone got a good recipe for a _lot_ of breadcrumbs?

    • Try equal quantities of breadcrumbs, rolled oats, brown sugar and butter or margarine, mixed well together, and use for a crumble topping. Great.

    • I use them as toppings and thickeners! As a topping, they’re good on a pasta bake (straight from the freezer), lightly fried or toasted and added to salad as an alternative to croutons or basically added to anything to add crunch/texture or to make it more substantial. They’re also pretty handy as a thickener for things like burgers and falafels (use in place of flour), and I’ve even chucked them in tomato sauce as a kind of imitation pappa al pomodoro.

      • Bread Pudding. A very old recipe, in a handwritten recipe book.
        About 1 lb stale bread
        6 oz mixed dried fruit
        4 oz sugar
        2 heaped teaspoons mixed spice
        4 oz suet or margarine (I have also used cleaned dripping but would not use margarine)
        2 eggs beaten
        Soak the stale bread in hot water for about an hour. Then take it out of the wster, squeeze as dry as you can and put into a mixing bowl. Add the dried fruit, sugar, spice and suet or fat. Mix well together by hand and add the beaten eggs. The mixture should now be quite wet and sloppy. Grease a baking tin and tip the mixture into it. Cook for 1 1/2 – 2 hrs gas 3/335°F until nicely browned on top. Can be eaten hot or cold.

        When ever I have lots of stale bread in the freezer I make this for a friend’s husband who takes slices to eat while logging.

  50. I always have leftover pulp from making almond milk. I save it in my freezer till I get a pan’s worth, dehydrate it and grind it in my blender to make almond meal flour. I try to sub for part of the flour in baked goods.

  51. I sometimes buy short shelf life double cream from the reduced shelf in the supermarket and then don’t finish it quickly enough! If you can beg, borrow, or otherwise acquire some booze from a rich friend, then you can make a fabulous ice cream: proportions 100ml cream, 1 tablespoon sugar (any old sugar, to taste!) 1tbs of any high strength booze you can lay your hands on, preferably 40% or higher (friend’s holiday impulse purchase?) – beat the cream till floppy, beat in the sugar, then the booze. Freeze. And that’s it. If the alcohol/sugar content is high enough, it won’t freeze solid, and you won’t notice the sweet sticky nature in a frozen mix. I regard this as also helping my friends to use up their holiday impulse purchases. Keep it where the kids won’t find it though!

  52. If you make curd with satsumas it helps if you add some lemon juice. It’s a bit bland otherwise. Great column!

  53. Potato peelings make great crisps. I like spuds with their skins on but prefer them without when roasting or making mash. Scrub potatoes and get rid of any bruises, roots, bad bits and green bits. Peel spuds. Lay peelings on a baking tray. Spray with a little oil – you really don’t need a lot. Sprinkle with salt, curry powder, smoked paprika, whatever floats your boat. Bake at highest oven temp for 10-15 minutes and serve.

  54. Kale, when wilted, can be washed, chopped and placed in a covered container in the fridge with a little water at the bottom. It will be crispy and refreshed later in the day or next day. Great to use fried with onions and tomatoes and a very small amount of soup stock.

  55. I live in France so feel obliged to remind you that, yes, you freeze wine. Maybe you consider it up there with caviar, but here it’s relatively cheap. Freeze is as ice cubes if there’s only dribs and drabs left for use in stews or spagbol or freeze larger quantities in plastic container or ziplock bag for use in coq au vin, boeuf bourguignonish recipes. Any food with a bit of wine sloshed in comes out good.

  56. Kale stems? Have you found anything that works well?
    I was thinking they’d work as a chimmichurri. Pickled and diced small maybe a good relish? Or pickled compote

    • Reheat it in a hot oven! Might not be as fluffy as first time round but with Vega and gravy, does it matter??

  57. Withered apples? Chop and add to same quantity of potatoes, boil up and make apple mashed potatoes, delicious!

  58. I keep all my onion, leeks, celery, carrot and parsnip tops for stock. I freeze in a container until I have enough, then put in a chicken carcass and cover with hot water, whatever herbs I have and some salt and pepper! I also freeze chicken bones for this.

  59. Lemons – I slice them and freeze them ready for iced lemon in a drink. I also cut them in big wedges and freeze them, you can grate the zest from frozen then squeeze them into your dish.

  60. I love chard as well, so here are some more ideas- the leaves can be used like spinach, soften in a little oil and garlic and add to egg for a yummy omelette. I also like it with chickpeas- add the stalks (peeled and chopped) and the leaves to some sautéed onion and garlic, add a good spoon of paprika, and cook with the chickpeas.

  61. Condensed milk can be made into a flan- one small tin condensed milk, use the tin for two measures of normal milk, and mix well with three eggs. Put in oven proof dish and place in a tray of water in oven at 180 until it starts to brown on top, 45 min- 1 hour.

  62. Just to let you know banana skins really do work for verrucas. Old wives tale but it worked on mine years ago. Just a small square taped to your foot. Best not do it in summer though

  63. Floppy Lettuce – If I have a lettuce that is a little limp then I put it in a bowl of cold water with a lump of ordinary house coal (fire coal) I put it in the fridge overnight then the next day it has crisped up nicely, this is what my great grandmother used to do she died at the age of 93 about 20 years ago. I have her spend thrift ways and hate throwing things out. I also love seasoned fried lettuce (olive oil of course)

  64. Lots of brilliant ideas – thanks. I mostly make soup with leftovers, but may well be more creative now. Particularly like the freezing feta suggestion, the 2nd half of a pack is one of the few things that often gat wasted in my house. One thing I think has not yet been mentioned is stock from roast or raw chicken carcasses. I freeze them until I have 2 or more, then make my stock in a pressure cooker with onion, celery snd carrots. Make a great base for all sorts of chunky or smooth veg soups.

  65. This is incredible. Thank you. 🙂

    Milk – lots or on the turn: PANEER. Bring to the boil, trickle in juice of 1 small lemon per 2 pints while stirring enthusiastically, drain well in a tea towel (which you’ve sterilised by dunking in boiling water) over a colander, squeeze more moisture out, hang up to drip.

  66. If you use a steamer to cook broccoli (I’ve got a microwave one, which is better than a stove-top one), chop or slice the stems thinly first and steam for 2 minutes before adding the florets, salt lightly and then steam the whole lot for another 3-4 minutes. All the broccoli ends up cooked to the same extent, that way – and no wasted stems.

    I made a yogurt pie the other day with leftovers: half a carton of too-old yogurt, beaten up with some ageing cream cheese and a spoonful of honey. Pour it over a base made from stale (or overcooked) cookies – crushed into crumbs, mixed with a little sugar and ground ginger, then stuck together by adding some melted butter. Add a little ground nutmeg or cinnamon, then bake for about 15 minutes in a moderate oven (about gas 5-6), cool and then chill in the fridge.

    All fruit gluts from the garden that don’t have other uses become compote: washed, drained and cooked until boiling with a spoonful of natural sugar,then cooled slightly. Putting that hot into jars (which have just been washed and rinsed with very hot water) preserves it for the short term, until fresh fruit is in short supply.

  67. These are fantastic, thank you!

    For the person asking about breadcrumbs, you can fry them in butter or oil until crisp and use them as an alternative to parmesan on pasta. You can also use them as a sort of crumble topping–again, mixed with some butter and then with some sugar stirred in.

    In Halloween pumpkin season, I’ve learnt not to hollow out pumpkins because they go mouldy so quickly once you have. I decorate mine with a black marker pen and shapes cut from white paper instead, then the rind stays whole and they keep for months. You can’t put a candle in them, though, of course!

    When I’ve made nut milks in the past (mostly for visiting vegans), I’ve mixed the leftover nut pulp with oats etc and baked to make granola (which you can then serve with the nut milk). Jack’s recipe for peanut butter granola would work fabulously with this.

    I threw away a soggy swede the other day, left over from Xmas. Now I feel bad!

  68. I’ve always regarded myself as good at using up leftovers but some of these ideas are really brilliant and I’ll definitely try them. I particularly like the idea of making potato peelings into crisps. I don’t peel potatoes but my husband does and it always breaks my heart to throw them away. But from now on I’ll be making crisps. Also like the idea of turning cream into butter.

    • Love Food Hate Waste has a terrific recipe for tired veggies/stalks Vegetable “offcut” bhajis by Nisha Katona

  69. Egg shells. Wash, then dry them. Grind up into powder. Add to food for extra calcium. Feed back to chickens. Use intact shells to plant seeds in instead of seed started pots

  70. Re-home some gorgeous ex commercial chickens, they are great at turning food waste, peelings etc into eggs and fertiliser.

  71. After last year’s bumper apple harvest I added quarters of apples to lentil stews with great success. Apparently we used to eat apples instead of potatoes in the middle ages.? (Hence potatoes being ‘pommes de terre’ in French or ‘Erdapfel’ in German – earth apples).
    Old bananas always end up in chocolate banana cake, smoothies or curries.
    Squeezed lemons get used to clean lime off taps and showerheads.
    Frozen mashed potatoes go into potato cakes or cobbler scones.
    Great to get some new ideas. Here’s a challenge for you – grainy, overripe pears? Yuk!

  72. Lemons/lime wedges – freeze and add to drinks in summer for flavour, coolness, and no dilution!
    Cream: use in a sauce with pasta, to make salted caramel, melt with equal weight of chocolate to make ganache or truffles, whip with sugar and freeze in dollops on a silicone sheet – once frozen, seal in air-tight bag and top hot chocolate

  73. Ever tried spaghetti omelette? I found d it in BBC good food and it’s a brie way of using up small amounts of left over spaghetti

  74. I keep slightly mushy bananas in the freezer (peeled). They’re great for addng to smoothies whizzed in the blender or alone like frozen creAmy bananey yoghurt.

  75. Cauliflower leaves!
    I’ve never met anyone outside my family who uses them.

    Buy a cauliflower with a nice shroud of leaves and use them like spring greens/just cook them with the cauliflower heart.
    Boiled/steamed/added to stew etc.

  76. I am loving these ideas! So many great tips. Another good one for bananas is to freeze them with the skins on and then when you want them remove from the fridge for about 10-15 mins and then blend them. This turns them into amazing vegan Icecream! I like to add cocoa powder and it tastes just like chocolate icecream. Its even better with a blob of Peanut butter on top.

    Good to you on your vegan journy 🙂

  77. Parsnips, swede, spuds or leftover mash can be made into a soup if cooked up with stock, leeks and a bit of lemon juice /zest.. Blitz it and add some leftover cream or yogurt if you have any, it’s just as good without!

  78. I have a (rich) friend who often travels & gives me her leftover groceries. I really fall down on what to do with marscapone. We don’t eat desserts much, so it there something savoury to do with it?
    Left over wine freezes brilliantly in a ziplock bag, and goes into soups, stews, pastas, etc.
    Cream, including whipping cream (35%) also freezes well, and the whipping stuff can be thawed & whipped. Other cream goes into soups, stews, pastas, mac & cheese. Leftover salads with dressing can usually be made into soup.

    Thank you everyone for this!! I needed it!!

    • Mascarpone — just put little spoonfuls on a pizza before you cook it, or stir it into soups as a general thickener / enrichener (is that a word?). I don’t think it has a strong taste, it just has a lovely rich texture so it’s pretty flexible.

  79. I was brought up by a mother who grew up during WW2, so I absolutely hate throwing anything away because of the inbred guilt. This is a fantastic list of alternative uses, some of which I knew, but many of which are new to me. Thank you Jack and everyone else who has contributed. I will be trying a lot of these, though I have to say Linda’s ice cream suggestions a few comments above are inspiring and I will definitely be trying that out with some of the strange beverages left behind by my (now adult) kids. The news will probably bring them home more often to share the results.

  80. Would really appreciate some ideas for grapes. Sometimes they come home a bit bruised after all day in a lunchbox other times people eat them for a few days and stop as soon as they loose their appeal. I some times cut up into a salad but…

    • freeze them, & add to baked desserts, like crisps. Roast with butter/marg & sugar for dessert. Fill a jar with them & top with a spoonful of sugar, 2/3 booze, & the rest boiling water. Let sit for a few months, & serve as dessert.(no need to refrigerate, due to alcohol in booze).
      Probably could pickle, tho I’ve never done that. I have done the other things

    • You can make a dessert pizza by cutting grapes in half and placing on a pizza crust over a soft cheese. The roasting of the grapes intensifies the sweetness and if one end is bad, compost it.
      In addition add so-so condition grapes to roasting pork and chicken dishes. The roasted grapes taste delicious.The roasting juices will sweeten the dish and the roasted grapes are great to eat.
      If you juice, freeze and let them become your “ice cubes”.
      I used to make grape jam (not jelly) out of over-ripe green grapes. Tough to get skins in proper suspension, but it was good.
      Use in a fruit based BBQ sauce in place of another fruit. Run them through a blender skin and all. Cook a little longer to reduce fluids.
      If canning apple or peach sauce, drop whole grapes as you fill jars to extend mix and add a nice surprise to a dessert dish. Worked out very well for me. The grapes will cook enough during the canning (jarring) process.
      Hope this helps. Just a few ideas, all of which I have used.

      • I’m a +1 for adding to roasts and grape jam. I also fling mine in a gravy for roast meats (or did when I was a roast meats kinda person) and they would be excellent blitzed in a nut roast, a sweet base for a rice pudding, or added to a crumble. And soup. Any earthy soup that needs a lift, like mushroom, or meat, or a spicy soup. Or use in place of peaches in my peach and chickpea curry. Ooh the possibilities.

    • Claire, I have successfully frozen grapes and then used them (still frozen) as a snack when the weather is very hot. Very refreshing! Or as ice cubes. Works best with seedless ones, obviously.

  81. Leftover beans, any kind (not green beans) can be mashed up and fried in a tablespoon or so of oil. Top with grated cheese. I’ve done pinto, black beans, navy, and kidney. Refried beans! Yum!

  82. Damsons make brilliant crumbles, Jack. I found some windfalls in the autumn and I stewed them with an apple I had lying about. I had made your peanut butter granola and had only a little bit so I used that as the crumble topping. It was so good. I’ve just had my Mum’s damson jam on top of porridge made with Tesco value oats. So good.

    • Peel, cut in thumb-sized chunks and freeze. Then it’s ready the next time you need some.

  83. I put lime/lemon skins in a bottle with white vinegar and use it to clean kitchen counters, bathroom, dashboard, windows etc. Just leave for about nine days before first use. The smell is amazing! Sweet and citrussy. Manufacturers of commercial lemon/lime scents don’t even come close to imitating it.

  84. A couple more suggestions for rice – obviously, fried rice which works best with leftover/overnight rice anyway, cooked with water/stock to make rice congee (a savoury rice porridge, also called ‘jook’) which can be eaten alone or with condiments on the side, cooked with milk or plant-based milks, some vanilla and cinnamon to make rice pudding, or if you only have a tiny handful of leftover cooked rice it’s great added to soups or stews to thicken them up and give them more body with added starch!

  85. Onions – mine were in the pantry and one got mushy (that got chucked) but I didn’t know what to do with the ones that sprouted? Are they still OK to eat or am I going to suffer from some intense GI issues if I cook with them?

    As for stale cereal – do what my mom does. Heat up a flavor-neutral oil in a saucepan. Add mustard seed and cumin and wait for it to fizz and pop. Dump in cereal (Cornflakes, Rice Krispies, Cheerios…) and stir like mad. Add red chili powder, turmeric, salt, sugar and if you’re feeling a bit wild – unsweetened cocoa powder. Toss until the spices cover the cereal. Remove from heat and munch on to your little heart’s content.

  86. Anything you will eat that is left laying around the kitchen can be made into a frittata- just throw everything together, add a few whisked eggs and some milk or cream, salt and pepper and cook on the stove till set (or bake in the oven till set)

  87. Thanks for all these thoughts, folks. A question: is there any reason why I shouldn’t use the oil in jars of sun-dried tomatoes etc for cooking with? I have used SDT oil and anchovy oil on pasta or roasted vegetables with success, but always feel a wee bit squeamish about it.

    Ditto the syrup that fruit is canned in…is it ok to use it for example as liquid for making jelly desserts, or to dilute fruit juices, or to poach other fruit in, or does that strike people as yucky? If I’m poaching fruit myself, I do tend to save my poaching liquid for future poaching or to cook with, and occasionally there is a recipe (like Whittingstall’s great Sticky Quince and Ginger Cake ( where I always save some of the glaze for myself because it gells when it’s cool and is so beautiful to eat on toast.

    • I always use the oil from jars of sun dried tomatoes etc – would be a waste not to and is perfect for pasta sauces as already flavoured. I don’t see why you couldn’t use the juice or syrup from canned fruit either – I don’t have much canned fruit but always use the juice from the canned pineapple in the sweet and sour sauce

  88. What about Chillies? Found a sad little pile of them at the bottom of my fridge today – what can I do with them to store them for later? Can they be frozen maybe?

    • Yes, chillies can be successfully frozen & don’t need to be thawed before chopping – or you can grate them from frozen

  89. Jack, you’re a freakin’ marvel. Chucking out food is probably my absolute worst habit, and I’ve been trying (in between seriously huge hospitalising brain-farts that don’t give much time for such things) to kick it. I think you’ve just given me the real way forward :p

    Also, your make-me-better mug has helped shift one of the nastiest coldy-flu-things I’ve had for a long time. You’re a genius, and completely fabulous. Thank you!

  90. Sure wish someone could have answered my question on TURMERIC dated Feb. 8th in the above blog responses.. Sigh!

    • Like ginger root. Freeze it and grate it as required. I have also grated fresh ginger, frozen it on a tray then crumbled it into a bag in the freezer. This would work for turmeric. Also can store grated fresh ginger by covering with sherry (my friend) or rice wine (me) and storing in a sealed glass jar in the fridge. This should work for turmeric and you could use vodka. Depends how you want to use your turmeric.

  91. I’m a student so struggle to get through things cheaper to buy in bulk, like ginger and such, when cooking for only one person. So I put fresh ginger and chilies in the freezer and grate or chop them into my dishes straight from frozen,keeps the flavour and is way more convenient as they last so long! Thanks for these tips, Jack.

  92. I am unable to throw food away, and as I am lucky enough to have a garden, I can compost vegetable and fruit peelings etc… (I had forgotten about the banana skin/verruca thing, but it worked when my son had a verruca when he was little, much to my amazement!). The dry outer onion skins I chuck in the kindling pile for our woodburner, but they can also be used for dyeing.
    Anyway, one tip I have, is to use egg-shells in the garden, (or in a local park or woods). I chuck the shells in left-over washing-up water to soften and remove the inner membrane and then leave the shells to dry. Once dry, the shells are easy to scrunch up and sprinkle over the soil in the garden. It’s supposed to deter slugs and snails by creating sharp bits that they don’t want to slime over, in my experience that doesn’t work, at least not on our slugs! Even so, the shells add calcium to the soil, and I often see the garden birds eating them, presumably because they need extra calcium when they are laying.
    Other than that we have reduced our food waste to zero, and using compost made from vegetable and fruit peelings and skins is so unbelievably satisfying, especially when I find self-seeded pepper plants!

  93. Those mixed stir fry bags, when it’s going a bit brown and soggy. Any ideas on something a little more inspired than just chucking it into a bog standard stir fry?

  94. Freeze bananas whizz in blender or food processor, makes a lovely ice cream that tastes similar to vanilla ice cream, the banana flavour seems to change, then you can add in anything else, cocoa powder to make it chocolate etc. Avocado into chocolate mousse. Desiccated coconut or nuts whizz up and after a while you get nut butters. Only a small amount of various nuts left, make it mixed nut butter. Whizz some nut butter with water, you get almond milk for example. If not have powerful blender, soak overnight in water. Cherry tomatoes, oven roast and mash up with garlic n oil lovely sauce.

  95. Citrus Fruit – if I only need the juice I grate the rind first and freeze in an ice cube tray for future reference.
    Likewise, if the recipe calls for rind only, then I squeeze the juice and freeze in ice cube trays before it spoils in the fridge.

  96. Condensed milk: Amazing in a risotto base or carbonara but temper with something sharp like lots of lemon to balance. Dollop into strong coffee…
    I’m assuming you mean evaporated milk? I wouldn’t like condensed milk in my risotto.. maybe rice pudding, though!

Leave a Reply