Transform your leftovers: readers share their best tips

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Not sure what to do with that ripe banana in your fruit bowl, the half loaf of ciabatta in the bread bin or the leftovers from your Sunday roast? We asked our resourceful readers how they make the most out of all their lovely ingredients. By cutting back on the amount of food you waste, you’ll have more pounds left in your purse for treats too.
“Chop up bananas that are about to go off and freeze them. They make a tasty frozen sweet treat!” Donated by Carol S to Love Food Hate Waste

“When making a salad, cut and wash a whole lettuce and put half aside to save for later. Cover with a damp piece of kitchen paper before covering with cling film or putting in a sealed container. This helps to prolongs the life of the salad leaves.” Donated by Robin to Love Food Hate Waste 

“I love treating myself to quality breads at the weekend. I don’t waste a slice! I bake leftovers and the crusts in olive oil and herbs for homemade croutons which add flavour and crunch to homemade soups and salads or I make breadcrumbs and save them in the freezer for recipes on another day” Donated by Tara to Love Food Hate Waste

“If you’ve rock-hard brown sugar or crystallised honey, place in a microwaveable bowl and give it a quick blast of approximately 30 seconds on high in the microwave. This will bring it back to their normal state.” Donated by Caroline to Love Food Hate Waste 

“Pots of unfinished sour cream-based dips become great sauces in pies and bakes! I make a lovely fish pie with an onion and garlic dip. Just spoon on top of the filling, cover with pastry and pop in the oven.” Donated by Lydia to Love Food Hate Waste

“Save the stalks from your spinach leaves and stir-fry them with soy sauce, sesame seeds, and a touch of sesame oil for a delicious side dish. Make sure they're still a bit crunchy when you take them out of the pan.”Donated by Melissa to Love Food Hate Waste

“Mix left over pesto with butter and freeze in individual portions. Use the pesto butter on steak, chicken and lamb. Mix some garlic into it as well for a great tasting butter and spread on a toasted baguette.” Donated by Sarah to Love Food Hate Waste

“For potatoes that are looking tired slice them into wedges and coat in olive oil and bake. Cayenne pepper is great if you like it spicy. Once cooked and cooled, 'open freeze' on a baking tray and then transfer to a freezer bag.  Take out a handful whenever you need some and cook for 15-20 minutes until piping hot.”Donated by Carol to Love Food Hate Waste

“Have a go at making your own flavoured yoghurts. Use natural yoghurt and mix it with any other squashy fruits from the fruit bowl.  The kids will love having a dabble at making up their own flavours.” Donated by Love Food Hate Waste

“Homemade Piccalilli is a welcome addition to the condiments tray and smartens up traditional sandwiches and cold cuts. Make a batch and decant into glass jars, decorate with pretty labels and you’ve the perfect homemade gift.” Donated by Tara to Love Food Hate Waste. See our Piccalilli recipe 

“Don’t waste leftover beef and lamb. Mince it up and make a cottage or Shepherd’s pie. Top with mashed potato and serve with veg for a healthy leftovers dinner.” Donated by Lesley to Love Food Hate Waste. ("Use up leftover meat within 2 days of cooking. Read Leftover lessons for advice on how to use up your leftover ingredients." 

“Keep track of your can dates. Once a year I use a black marker pen and write the year on the top of all of the canned food in my cupboard.  The following year, I do the same using the current year.  This way, I can see at a glance what is old needs using up the quickest.” Donated by Carol to Love Food Hate Waste

“Clear out your biscuit tin and make a yummy refrigerator cake. This is especially good after Christmas when you might find lots of biscuits, nuts and chocolate in your cupboards.” Donated by Suzie to Love Food Hate Waste

“Use up couscous the next day by mixing with chopped cucumber, tomatoes and herbs for a cheap lunch at work. Or try heating gently with honey or maple syrup, dried fruit and nuts and yoghurt or cream for breakfast.”Donated by Georgina to Love Food Hate Waste

“I freeze leftover mashed potato in bags and use it for bubble and squeak or Shepherd’s pie topping.” Donated by Cathy to Love Food Hate Waste

“After cooking a roast, pour the excess roast meat juices into an ice cube tray, let it cool and then freeze. Pop out one of two cubes when needed and add to an instant gravy granules mix for a delicious homemade gravy”Donated by Sue to Love Food Hate Waste (Read leftover lessons for advice on how to use up your leftover ingredients) 

“Use up spare apples with a delicious baked apple dessert. Core and stuff an apple with dried fruit, brown sugar and a little butter and cinnamon. Then bake in the oven for about an hour. A little water in the dish keeps them moist.” Donated by The Women's Institute to Love Food Hate Waste

“Add bananas to a curry.  They are best with vegetables or lentils - the banana adds fruitiness without being overpowering.” Donated by Love Food Hate Waste Try our recipe for banana curry 

“Save your morning’s brewed coffee for an afternoon's ice coffee or latte! I'm now carrying a jar of brewed coffee to work for my afternoon pick-me-up.” Donated by Sandy to Love Food Hate Waste

“If you have a glut of strawberries, lay them out individually on a tray and pop them into your freezer. When they’re firm, transfer into bags. Strawberries are not the best fruits for freezing, because they become mushy when defrosted, but they can be used in ice creams, trifles and soufflés. Another way of keeping them is to whiz them in a food processor or blender with 2-3 tablespoons of caster sugar and then freeze for an instant strawberry compote.” Donated by Caroline to Love Food Hate Waste
With thanks to Love Food Hate Waste

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