top 10 fruit and veg wasted and how to avoid the bin

Food Waste
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Food waste is money, resources and time wasted. We want to help you reduce your food waste so we asked our Foost audience what are the most common fruit and vegetables to end up in your compost or bin. The top ten results are below along with tips for how to store (for longer life) and how to use it up when the fruit or vegetable starts looking sad (and before it’s too late).

Apples

Apples are a great snack on their own! Our favourite is making apple slinkies. 

Apples are great when paired with peanut butter, why not try our microwave apple?

My mum’s favourite is grated apple, banana and kiwi on porridge.

How to store?

To prolong the life of apples, its best to keep them in the fridge crisper.

Why not freeze your apples? If you are looking in your fridge and thinking  ‘uh oh my family won’t eat all those in time’ you can freeze apples. To freeze: peel and core the apples, soak apple slices in lemon juice for 5 minutes, then drain. Arrange on a large lined baking tray and freeze overnight, then transfer slices to a freezer bag or air tight container. Frozen apples will last for up to 12 months.

Apples tend to go a little brown when cut, which sometimes can look a little unappetising (although it’s nothing more than the colour changing). Here’s a quick trick to reduce browning: dissolve ⅛ teaspoon of salt into 1 cup of water. Add the apple slices and let them soak for a few minutes. Make sure to give them a quick rinse in fresh water after you drain them to avoid a salty taste.

Recipes for using up sad apples

Apple salsa, stewed apples, crumble.

Bananas

You can eat bananas raw or cooked. They are great on their own, cut into circles with a sprinkle of coconut, in porridge, on toast with peanut butter and cinnamon, in muffins or bliss balls.

How to store?

Store bananas at room temperature and away from other produce, this prevents bruising and stops them from ripening the other fruits in your bowl. Top tip: buy a mix of green and yellow bananas to help them last longer. To freeze: peel and cut bananas (thick slices), and line on a baking tray. Flash freeze (freeze on a lined tray) for about 2 hours and then transfer frozen slices into a freezer bag or air tight container. Bananas can last up to 6 months in the freezer.

Recipes for using up sad bananas

Smoothies! Over-ripe bananas are also great in banana bread, choc banana bread, muesli cookies, pancakes or muesli bars.

Broccoli stem

Broccoli stems are often overlooked and tossed  aside, but they are both delicious and nurtritious.

How to store?

Store in the fridge for up to 7 days. You can freeze broccoli, all you have to do is: blanch florets and diced stems for 3-5 minutes. Cool broccoli in ice water and drain. Then package in freezer bags or air tight container (make sure broccoli is dry before storing).

Recipes for using up broccoli and broccoli stems 

There are heaps of ways you can use your broccoli stem! Steam it, stir fry it, use it in soup or dice it in fried rice. Broccoli that’s a little sad can be made into soup or cheesy broccoli and cauliflower quiche , veggie gratin or veggie tots.

Herbs

Herbs can be added into just about anything but often a bunch goes a long way and is sometimes a little to much to use before they start looking sad.

How to store?

To make your herbs last longer you can cut the bottom of the stems off and store them in a glass of water (just a little bit of water in the bottom). This can increase their life to up to 3 weeks. You can freeze herbs by laying them on a baking tray and snap freeze for two hours before placing in a freezer bag, make sure you take any excess air out of the bag before freezing. You can also dice herbs and place into ice cube trays. Top with olive oil and freeze. Now you have some flavoured oil to use in cooking. Frozen herbs can last up to 12 months. 

To dry your own fresh herbs, gather 3-6 stems of herb, tie them and hang upside down in a dark room for a few weeks (sunlight can effect the flavour and colour). Dried herbs can last around 6 months.

Recipe ideas for using herbs

You can add herbs to any meal.  Add them on top of your button mushrooms , make your own pesto, mix into pasta sauces, or add into soups.  Herbs are great for seasoning meat (examples: rosemary for lamb and basil with tomato based meals). Top tip: it is best to add dried or frozen herbs at the beginning of your cooking, and fresh herbs towards the end of the cooking time, or garnish with fresh.

Kiwi

Kiwi is such a fun fruit. Vibrant in colour, it’s a tasty snack on its own, or in a rainbow salad. Did you know the peel is edible. I eat kiwi like an apple, peel and all.

How to store?

Store kiwi fruit at room temperature away from direct sunlight until your desired ripeness (some people like them softer and others like them a little harder). Once ripe, store in the fridge. Kiwi fruit will last up to 4 weeks in the fridge, but once ripe at room temperature they will only last days. Freezing is always an option to avoid food waste, to freeze kiwi all you need to do is peel and cut kiwifruit into slices. Arrange the slices on a baking sheet and freeze overnight. Then transfer to a freezer bag or air tight container. They will last for up to 12 months in the freezer. Frozen kiwi is great in smoothies or eat it like an icy pole. 

Recipe ideas for using sad kiwi

Add kiwi fruit into smoothies, stewed kiwi and apple is delicious or try making kiwi chips.

Lettuce

Hands up if you love crunchy lettuce? How do we keep the crunch or use it up when it starts to wilt just a little.

How to store?

Whole lettuces are best stored in the lower drawer of the fridge, ideally wrapped in a tea towel or plastic bag. Lettuce usually lasts up to 10 days in the fridge if well stored.

Recipes to use up lettuce 

Add lettuce into sandwiches and into salads.  You can also add lettuce leaves into a juice or smoothie; apple, lettuce and a touch of ginger in a lovely combo. You can also stir try lettuce in your favourite sauce (think oil, soy, garlic and a dash of sugar or in some oyster sauce).

Pears

Pears are tricky, it is hard to get that perfect ripeness, often going from super hard to too soft in the blink of an eye.

How to store?

If pears are not ripe, leave at room temperature until they are ripe, then transfer to the fridge (if you remember). Pears usually last 4 days at room temperature when ripe. To freeze pears, cut and place pieces on a tray, flash freeze for around 2 hours and then transfer into a freezer bag or air tight container. Pears can stay frozen for up to 12 months. Add frozen pear to your smoothies or defrost to make a pear and apple pie or crumble or stewed pears. 

Recipes to use up sad pears

Stewed pears, cooked pears on porridge, crumble, pear and date muffins or on pizza with walnuts, goats cheese and prosciutto.

Spinach

Spinach is great, you can put it into so many recipes, even smoothies.

How to store?

Store spinach in a container in the fridge and it will last up to 7 days. A piece of paper towel on top of the spinach can help reduce the moisture.  To freeze,  cook spinach down for a few minutes in a frypan with a splash of water. Place spinach in an ice cube tray and into freezer. Once frozen, remove from the ice cube tray, and transfer into a freezer bag or air tight container. You can also freeze baby spinach leaves as it, just ensure they are dry. Simply pop into a freezer bag or container (to prevent clumping you can flash freeze the leaves beforehand).

Recipe ideas for using up spinach

Try adding spinach into smoothies, like our monster smoothie, or mango tango. Add spinach into sandwiches, toasties, pastas and salads, spinach works great in pancakes. Incorporate spinach into cheese and vegemite scrolls or into breakfast enchiladas.

Strawberries

Strawberries are a great fruit to have handy, but they don’t always last as long as we like.

How to store?

Store in the refrigerator, they will last up to 7 days. Tip: don’t wash them with water and then place in the fridge, wash the strawberries before you eat them, this will help prolong their life in the fridge. If you want to freeze strawberries, all you need to do is freeze in a single layer on a lined baking tray. Once solid, place in a freezer bag or air tight container. Frozen strawberries blitzed with milk make a great pink milk snack.

Recipes for strawberries going a little sad

Try: chia jam, jam slice, strawberry muffins, jammingtons, or strawberry and dark chocolate muesli bar.

Zucchini

Just like spinach, zucchini is a great veggie to add to so many foods, even muffins and cakes.

How to store?

Store zucchini in a plastic or brown paper bag in the refrigerator crisper drawer, zucchini will last up to 5 days (sometimes longer). If you think you won’t get to use it all up, you can freeze them, just cut off ends, cut into chunks and blanch (in boiling water) for 3 minutes, then place in ice water until cool. Lay on a lined baking sheet for 1-2hrs. Once frozen, transfer to a freezer bag or air tight container. Zucchini will last frozen for up to 12 months.

Recipe ideas for zucchini

You can add zucchini into pasta dishes, frittata or soups. Roast them into zucchini pizza bites or make zucchini chips. Make halloumi, zucchini and corn fritters, zucchini noodles ‘zoodles’, lemon and blueberry muffins or muesli bars.

 

General tips for reducing food waste:

  1. Wash, scrub but don’t peel your veg (when possible)
  2. Menu plan (read our blogs here)
  3. Try and buy what you need (check the fridge, freezer and cupboard before shopping)
  4. Use the freezer
  5. Eat leftovers for lunch
  6. Store food correctly
  7. Bananas will help ripen fruit quickly, if you want to avoid this, store fruit separately from bananas
  8. Have recipes and ideas for when things don’t go to plan:
    – A freezer scraps bag to make stock
    – Dice or blitz any sad veg and make it base of soup or pasta sauce
    – Dice and stew any sad fruit
    – Freeze leftover fruit for smoothies

Read more of our food waste tips here or check out our collection of #wasteless recipes here.

Do you have tips for reducing food waste? We’d love to hear them! Let us know on social media: Facebook or Instagram

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