Chefs zero waste tips for using up veg thats about to go off in your fridge
Recent research reveals that the average family wastes up to £720 of food per year, and that fruits and vegetables are the most wasted foods.
And, let's be honest, we all have a watery cucumber or some wilted spinach in the crisper drawer.
But, there are plenty of ways you can reduce food waste in your house and use up bits and bobs before you have to throw them away.
Recipe box chefs over at Gousto shared their favourite ways to reduce food waste and get those last bits out of your fridge.
They took some of the “best and brightest springtime ingredients” to demonstrate their favourite techniques.
Popular as a natural food colouring, beetroot is a real winner for the health fanatics out there, as it contains lots of iron, potassium and Vitamin C. Here are Gousto’s top creative ways to get it into your diet:
Try roasting your beetroot with some honey and walnuts to create a Honey Roast Beetroot with Feta & Spinach Bulgur. Roasting beetroot lessens the bitter flavour, and goes very well with carrots and sweet potatoes.
Still feeling the need for something a little more warming in the evening? Beetroot & Mushroom Ragù is made by finely chopping the beetroot and bubbling away in a rich, delicious mushroom and carrot stew.
Grating into a burger
Friday night burgers don’t have to be junk food. Lean into the sweetness of your beetroot and grate it into a delicious Beetroot Burger with Tarragon Mayo.
Use the greens
Beetroot tops can be used as a substitute for, or to compliment, greens, such as spinach, swiss chard and bok choy.
They can be steamed, sauteed, braised, added to soups or even eaten raw. Sauteeing the stems with a little garlic, orange and shallot is a great way to have them tender and crisp.
The leaves can be a perfect addition to a stir fry, with some olive oil, garlic, sugar, seasoning and at the last second, red wine vinegar. Simply finely chop and add it to the pan, in place of spinach, kale or other greens.
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The Senior Chefs at Gousto love using up cucumbers by getting creative, whether that’s pickling, sautéing or ribboning, there are loads of versatile ways to get the hydration and vitamin K from cucumbers.
Grate into a yoghurt dip
It’s as easy as it sounds, simply grate your cucumber into pieces before stirring into yoghurt for a refreshing dip for toasted pitta or as a salad dressing.
Senior Chef Jordan Moore’s best tip for accentuating the crunch before grating is to leave the cucumber with salt for 20 minutes, then rinse the salt off and squeeze out any moisture with a kitchen towel.
Give it a quick pickle
Gousto loves to pickle cucumbers, cut the cucumber in half lengthways and finely slice, then soak in rice vinegar, sugar and a pinch of salt.
Cook your cucumber
Cucumber is particularly tasty sautéed with a bit of oil and salt. Using butter or sesame oil is highly recommended, as the cucumber pairs well with nutty flavours. Remember, try to avoid peeling your cucumbers, as the skin is full of nutrients and adds extra crunch.
Food waste tip: limp cucumbers can also be revived by slicing off the end and standing in a bowl of cold water for a few minutes – they’ll be back to their crunchy glory in no time!
An iconic green veg, spinach is known for being loaded with health benefits, such as vitamin K, magnesium and calcium, and is a go-to way of adding an extra vitamin hit to dishes. However, an uneaten, or half-eaten, bag of spinach quickly goes soggy, as our green smoothies can only take so much!
Give it an Asian twist
Pairing spinach with sesame oil and garlic transform the flavours to give it an Asian-inspired twist.
Stir into rice or pasta
Use up leftover spinach by wilting the spinach into cooked rice or pasta. It adds some extra texture and health benefits too.
Sautéed or steamed spinach shrinks up surprisingly quickly, so don’t be afraid to add plenty to your dishes.
Stir your spinach over a high heat until it’s wilted, as a higher heat will help any liquid it releases to evaporate quickly. This is definitely worth doing, if you want to avoid wet or slimy spinach.
Food waste tip: blending up spinach with some sautéed garlic, onion and stock to make a delicious sauce is another way to use up any leftovers. Remember, you can always freeze spinach for up to 6 months, after blanching, and simply add to any curries, as and when.
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