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Eight ways to make fresh produce go further

We know it’s not always possible to get your hands on all the fresh veg and fruit you want. So when you have found what you were looking for, you want to make the most of it. Here are our suggestions.

  1. Carrot tops and celery leaves

    Carrot tops and celery leaves are edible. The former taste a bit like parsley, while the latter have an aniseed flavour. Try chopping them up, then throwing into the pan with a load of other veg towards the end of cooking this stir-fried Brussels sprouts with leeks and carrots. If your carrots have gone soft, trim and discard the ends, then soak in a bowl of iced water to rehydrate and crisp them up. 

    Carrot tops and celery leaves
  2. Citrus fruit

    If you’re not going to zest a citrus fruit, pare the rind into strips and freeze to use another time, perhaps as a garnish in summer drinks like this watermelon and lime mocktail.

    Citrus fruit
  3. Root vegetables

    Don’t throw away peelings from root vegetables like potatoes, carrots, parsnips and beetroot – they’re the tastiest bit! Scrub the whole vegetables first, then peel and toss the peelings in a little vegetable oil on a baking tray; scatter with a pinch of salt and chilli powder if you have it, then bake in a medium-hot oven until crisp, tossing once or twice as they cook. Voilà: a bonus snack!

    Root vegetables
  4. Beetroot stalks

    Beetroot stalks and leaves can be cooked as you would any leafy green. Wash well, then fry with oil and garlic. Stir into pasta or grain-based dishes like this beetroot risotto.

    Beetroot stalks
  5. Cauliflower leaves

    Don’t chuck cauliflower leaves – they can also be cooked like other leafy greens. Cut into thick strips, rub with vegetable oil, season, then roast in a hot oven for 15 mins or until crisp. They’re great with dips like houmous. Don’t neglect the stems, either: dice them, then cook the same way as the florets.

    Cauliflower leaves
  6. Onions

    Store onions in a dry, dark place away from potatoes (both release gases that make the other spoil). Store halved onions in an airtight container in the fridge, so they can’t transfer their flavour. If your onions start to go soft, chop them and freeze for a future recipe like these onion bhajis. Onion roots and papery skins can add flavour to stock – freeze (with any other veg trimmings) until you have enough.

  7. Bananas

    Give overripe bananas a new lease of life by freezing (peeled), slicing, then blitzing in a blender for instant frozen banana ice cream.

  8. Broccoli stems

    Broccoli stems are too good to lose – slice finely and use in stir-fries, or any veg soup or sauce. Or use a vegetable peeler to make fine shavings to add raw to any salad. This broccoli and peanut butter soup is an especially good option.

    Broccoli stems