Love your leftovers - tips from our fans

    25 Jun 2018

    Using one day’s dinner as the next day’s lunch is the most common way for Earthwise fans to deal with leftovers — and what’s more, it’s a healthy way to eat and saves you money to boot. When we asked our Facebook fans for their favourite way to avoid food waste, we were amazed by the range of ideas that came back: frugal, whacky, practical and creative — we got the lot! Here’s a just a sample of our favourites.

    Make leftovers the main event

    Conjure breakfast skillets out of uneaten roasted veg or throw leftovers into quiches, fritters, pies, stir fries, soup, casseroles, risottos, omelettes, bubble & squeak, toasted sandwiches, pizza and savoury muffins. We love Kirsty’s family tradition: ‘I label and freeze leftovers… and once a month we have a leftovers buffet dinner.’

    Lunchbox leavings, no trouble

    Does your child take his/her sandwich for a walk to school and back each day? If so, Sharon has a great tip for you: “Any sandwiches that come home uneaten, just butter on the outside and place them in the toastie maker. Mine think I spoil them with freshly made toasties every day. HINT: it works best if they don’t see you doing it.”

    Leftover life hacks

    Turning roast bones and veggie off-cuts into stock for soup or risottos is a firm favourite. Some fans add gelatin and give their dogs a mealtime treat. Excess fruit can be made into crumbles, pies or home-made jam and surplus garden produce frozen to make meals in the off-season. As Bekz says ‘The freezer and a heat sealing machine are your friends.’

    Adding broccoli stems in stews, coleslaws, casseroles, pasta sauces and pies, makes the most of nutrients we normally throw away – just chop stalks up finely and throw them in. Try buying frozen veggies instead of fresh – they’ll always be on-hand at a moment’s notice; they are easy to portion, and you won’t be left with wrinkly, soft produce lurking at the back of the veggie drawer.

    Feeding the extended family

    Chooks, the family dog, cat or rabbit – even a friend’s pig – all benefit from the food that Earthwise fans can’t eat. Many use leftovers to feed worm farms or turn them into food for the garden using compost bins or Bokashi buckets. As an alternative, we love Gevana’s example: she just gives her extended family a whistle. ‘Text the cousins — automatic hoovers!’

    Know your portions

    Another common approach is to get ahead of the game and prevent waste by cooking less. ‘I try to know my portions – particularly pasta and rice. I used to cook enough to feed thousands,’ confesses Hannah. Jessica watches her portion control and makes sure there’s enough left for lunch the next day: “I prepare enough food for us plus one.”

    Go bananas!

    Many fans hold on to banana skins to feed the veggie patch. Peels provide a rich source of potassium, phosphorus, calcium and a bunch of other minerals – so why throw them out? There are plenty of ways to go bananas with the skins: try making banana tea by filling a mason jar with water and some peels; just let it sit for 48 hours, then use the tea to water house plants or veggies. Alternatively, chop banana peels up into small pieces (0.5cm) to kick-start the composting process and dig them into the soil. You can even lay whole peels into a trench before you plant veggie seeds. Just place the seeds on top and cover with soil, the peels will decompose slowly, providing your seedlings with a rich fertilizer.

    We’ll leave the last word to Ann, who suggests a completely different use for banana peel: ‘Banana skins are good for polishing shoes – I tried it and it works!’