People are busy. Whether you’re rounding up the little ones, racing around the house or running flat out at work, life gets in the way and things get forgotten about. This includes those bendy carrots in the fridge or the bag of potatoes at the back of the store cupboard.
As part of our recent series about food waste with Toast Ale and eating wonky veg with OddBox we talked a lot about not wasting food. So it got us thinking that we needed to clean up our cupboards here in Eco & Beyond test kitchen and see what tasty treats we could create.
Here’s a handful of recipes and tips for using up leftovers and turning waste into delicious meals, side dishes or snacks.
Versatile Recipes that Use Leftovers
Each week we receive a delivery of wonky and surplus fruit and veg from Oddbox. For a number of months, without fail, each box would contain a bag of misshapen and marked potatoes. There were too many for us to eat so they were often consigned to the back of the cupboard.
We dusted off those spuds and fried them up with some diced veg that had been lingering in the fridge. It made a great vegan meal that you can easily adapt for vegetarians or meat eaters.
Check out the full recipe here: Very Versatile Leftover Potato and Veg Hash
Vegetables Past Their Best Make Great Dips
Do you, like many of us, have a drawer full of long forgotten veg in your fridge? You had a plan for it but then something came up. And then something else. And another thing. Before you know it your green beans are brown beans and your carrots are limper than… you know.
If this story sounds a bit specific, that’s because it’s true. We found some rather funky looking broad beans and some bruised and bendy carrots in the fridge. We had the best intentions to cook them but life got in the way. They were certainly past their best but this kind of veg is brilliant for blending into soups, smoothies, juices or dips.
Make Long Lasting Products Like Jams, Jellies and Chutneys
If you’ve got perishable produce like fruit and veg to use up, a great way to prolong their life is to turn them into something longer lasting.
If you’ve got some cucumbers that need using, turn them into delicious dill pickles. If you’ve got some cabbage and chilli paste kicking around, why not try making Kimchi? This classic Korean dish of fermented, spiced cabbage might not sound very appealing but trust us, it’s delicious.
Do you have a shelf in your fridge that’s packed with half-full jars of jams, chutneys and marmalades? We certainly do. The great thing is they last for ages because of the high sugar content which effectively preserves the ingredients within. Jams, jellies and marmalades won’t keep forever but it’s a great way to turn fruit or veg into a long lasting condiment.
We had a large bag of tiny red onions that had been rejected from supermarkets for being too small. After what seemed like a lifetime of peeling, chopping and tears streaming down faces, we slow cooked the finely sliced onions into a sticky, jam-like consistency.
There’s not much more to this dish as it’s wonderfully simple. But, if you want all the details, check out the Red Onion Marmalade recipe in full.
Sometimes all you need is a spark of inspiration to turn some forgotten store cupboard ingredients into a tasty treat. Have a hunt around the kitchen and see what you can come up with. If you have any tips for using up leftovers or upcycling food we’d love to hear about them. Drop us a line to let us know.