Recipes for reducing food waste

Fruit leather

Fruit leather – kids love fruit leather snacks, but have you ever tried making your own? At this time of year there are so many apples around, I peel, chop and cook them down with any other fruit I have around (blackberries earlier) or fruit that’s past it’s best that I have frozen in the freezer. After cooking, puree them and spread a layer about 5mm thick on a lined baking tray then leave it the oven on the lowest temperature setting possible for about 8 hours until it peels off the parchment easily and then chop into strips with a pair of scissors. – Elizabeth S.

Curry soup

If you have a small amount of leftover curry that’s not enough for a meal, bulk out with tinned tomatoes and stock and blend with a stick blender. If you have leftover rice add that too, then heat until piping. Makes a delicious mulligatawny soup!

Lettuce and pea soup

SusCott member Glynis Pilbeam writes: This recipe from the National Trust can be adapted to use up outside leaves or bolted lettuce (which you’ll know about if you grow your own):

I use outside leaves of lettuce and/or bolted lettuce. Instead of frozen peas I use split green peas or you can use yellow split peas but the soup is not so green. You cook the split peas first for 30 minutes in boiling water separately. Then start recipe above at the point where you cook the onion.  Add the peas at the point where it says add frozen peas. I only use mint when it is in season.

Two-in-one veg

Beetroot is a great two-in-one veg. It’s closely related to chard and spinach beet and the leaves are just as tasty and succulent, if you can find a bunch with nice fresh ones left on.

Carrot tops are a recent two-in-one discovery for me – it’s always seemed a pity to waste those lovely ferny fronds, but they’re good to eat so you don’t have to! Make an easy Carrot Top Pesto with oil, garlic, walnuts and parmesan – as in this Riverford recipe:

Plenty of other ideas out there for turning those undervalued carrot tops into something delicious, including recipes for carrot top soups, chimichurri etc.

Wait for next spring for another gourmet two-in-one treat – broad beans eaten whole in their pods. But you’ll have to grow your own for this as it’s only suitable for beans picked really young and fresh.

For a wealth of resourceful recipes using potentially wasted veg parts – such as banana skins, kale and cauliflower stalks, bruised stone fruit – try the Guardian’s ‘Waste Not’ articles by Tom Hunt, chef and climate change campaigner:

Don’t waste windfall apples!

One of our members has written down his tips for juicing windfall apples

Banana, Chocolate Ice Cream – Lucy Robinson

Serves 4

3 very ripe bananas, peeled, sliced and frozen solid.

2 tablespoons cacao powder

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons milk (any sort of dairy or non-dairy milk)

Place the bananas, cacao and cinnamon in the food processor or blender and whizz together till very smooth and creamy. Add a little milk if needed to help everything blend together. Best eaten straight away.

Recipes for using up bread – Christine Ward

Here are some basic things you can do:

  • breadcrumbs (for crunchy toppings, crispy coatings, binding burgers and meatballs, bread sauce for roast chicken)
  • croutons (baked with olive oil and garlic for soups and Caesar salads)
  • melba toast (crusts removed and thinly sliced and baked in a cool oven until crispy)
  • French toast (dipped in beaten egg and fried in butter)

Then there are plenty of delicious recipes (mostly desserts) which use bread and many actually be better for using stale or old bread:

(If the bread is mouldy you can use your judgement as to whether to cut off the mould if it is only on some parts of the outside of an unsliced loaf.)