In last week’s blog, I gave you some tips for reducing your food waste, saving calories and saving ££££s. I hope you found them useful. This week, we’ve got some more ideas about how to reduce our food waste, particularly vegetables and fruit.

We’re all urged to eat a minimum of five portions of fruit and vegetables every day and the Fruit and Vegetable Basket is a mainstay of the Slimtone Lifestyle Plan. Vegetables are low in fat, high in fibre and rich in many other valuable nutrients. They also have a high water content which, as well as being low in G.I., satisfies the appetite with a minimum of calories. And they taste great too!

But I wonder how many of us do our shopping once a week, stock up on a delicious array of fruit and veg, but end the week with some sad looking produce that goes straight into the bin! Let me help.

Carrots: if your carrots have gone soft and limp, give them a new lease of life by chopping a slice of both ends and placing them in cold water and then keeping them in the fridge.

Broccoli: the same thing works for broccoli too – keep it fresh by placing the stems in a glass of water in the fridge.

Peppers: if you only use half a pepper, the remaining half will last longer if you leave the stalk and seeds intact and keep it in the fridge.

Salad leaves: stop salad leaves from going limp by simply placing a piece of kitchen roll in the bag and fastening with a clip before popping in the bottom of the fridge.

Avocado: rub lemon juice on the unused half and wrap up tightly with cling film and you’ll find it keeps much longer in the fridge.

Tomatoes: whole cherry tomatoes can be frozen and used straight from the freezer.

Potatoes: keep potatoes in a cloth bag, ideally in a dark and cool place – away from onions. If they start to sprout, don’t worry, simply knock off the sprouting bits, as well as cutting off any green bits and the rest is fine to eat. Remember, you can freeze cooked potatoes too – frozen boiled potatoes can be roasted straight from the freezer and frozen mashed potatoes are ideal for corned beef hash or to top a Shepherd’s Pie.

Onions: again keep these in a cloth bag in the dark and cool – and away from potatoes as they are not very good cupboard mates! Only keep cut onions in the fridge, wrapped up tightly or in a sealed container.

Butternut squash: another vegetable that likes to be kept in the cool and dark – it doesn’t need to be in the fridge unless it has been cut.

Chris’s Limp Soup
Simply open the fridge and prepare all the old, limp and jaded vegetables. Pop them into a saucepan with a stock cube. When cooked, blitz and make into a delicious soup or sauce.

Citrus fruits: lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruits all last weeks longer if you keep them in the fridge. Take them out of the fridge and let them get to room temperature before you use them. Freeze slices of lemon or orange to use in drinks – straight from the freezer!  

Apples: last longer in the fridge than in the fruit bowl too.

Bananas: keep bananas in the fruit bowl, but separate from other fruit as the gas released by bananas will make everything ripen more quickly. (Quick tip: if you need an avocado to ripen more quickly, put it next to a banana!). If a banana is starting to go speckly, peel it and freeze to use in smoothies, curries and other recipes.

Finally, as a special treat, why not try these delicious Chocolate & Beetroot Brownies!
Makes 16 – approx. 110 calories per Brownie

Place 250g/9oz cooked beetroot in a food processor and blend until smooth. Add 84g/3oz light margarine, 200g/7oz flour, 56g/2oz cocoa powder, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 3 beaten eggs and 112g/4oz castor sugar and blend again. Pour the mixture into a 24cm silicone mould and bake in the centre of a preheated oven, 150C/300F/Gas 2 for 30-35 minutes until cooked. When cool, cut into 16 pieces. Mmmm, delicious!

I’d love to hear your favourite leftovers recipes – post on our Facebook page or email me so that we can share them in class.

Marie x  

P.S. Don’t forget about our Melting Snowman promotion in face-to-face classes. Did you know that if you lose just one pound every week, you’ll have lost 2 stone by the end of the year! So come along and claim your sticker for every pound you lose and that snowman will soon disappear under those sparkling diamond stickers!

P.P.S. Our Sainsbury classes have moved! These classes are now held at The Caeffatri on Coity Road on a Tuesday evening at 5.00 – 6.30pm and on Friday morning at 10.00 – 11.30am. You are welcome to come along. Click here, for details of all our classes.