Reuse: Food Waste Part 3

17 May 2018
Now that you've got your food home, after planing and shopping with some food waste awareness, it's time to eat it. But what to do if the plans go awry? What extra steps can we take to keep food waste to a minimum?

Confession time: finding useful ways to use up bits of leftover food is a bit of an obsession of mine. I'm always saving random bits of food in the fridge or freezer to reuse at a later date.

The tips below cover using up food that is not going to get used up in time and also using up the bits of food that sometimes get left behind. Please share any other ideas in the comments below - I'm keen to learn a few new strategies myself.

Fruits and Vegetables

  • If veg is looking a little sad or close to spoiling freeze whole and add to blended soups. Or grate/chop to add to fritters, muffins, quiche, name it.
  • For sad looking fruit or half eaten specimens :
    • cook up and store in the fridge for up to 5 days or pop in the freezer. Stir through yoghurt or pop on your cereal. 
    • make a fruit sauce or syrup to put on your weekend pancakes.
    • Add to cakes, muffins or pikelets.
  • Plant your food scraps and regrow some more food
  • Fruit scrap vinegar
  • Save vegie scraps and sad herbs in the freezer and use for liquid stock.
  • Dehydrate vegie scraps to make your own homemade stock powder - I haven't tried this yet but it's on the 'to do' list.
  • Make a small batch of preserves or try a fridge pickle.
  • Eat your peels and stems (personally I prefer the stems of broccoli to the head)
  • Citrus fruit:
    • Juice and zest then store in the freezer for use in baking, dressings or wherever you like
    • Cut in slices or wedges and freeze to add to drinks in summer
    • Peels can be used to make citrus vinegar.


  • Freeze it - all dairy products can be frozen. The texture might change a little when you defrost but it'll be fine in cooking.
  • Cream that's a little on the turn can be used to make (delicious) scones.
  • Turn milk into yoghurt, custard or white sauce.
  • Turn yoghurt into labne or frozen yoghurt.
  • Grate cheese and freeze it for sprinkling around as needed.
  • Parmesan rinds are delicious in soups to add flavour - particularly minestrone.


  • Turn into bread crumbs or croutons.
  • Make strata or bread and butter pudding.
  • Look to peasant dishes around the world - Pain perdu (French Toast) translates directly to lost bread and the Italians have soups and salads to enjoy.
  • Use in pesto or pangrattato.
  • Flat breads and wraps can be crisped up in the oven and used as crackers.
  • Got a few bread slices on the stale side - spread with garlic butter, put on a tray and pop in the oven for garlic bread to go with dinner (or wrap in foil and stick it in the freezer to add to a future dinner that needs a little extra).

Meat and bones

  • Turn into tasty stock or trendy bone broth.
  • Make get ahead gravy with bones and meat scraps (plus your vegie scraps from above).
  • Small bits of leftover cooked or cured meats are great for adding to pizza or pasta
  • Skin and fat scraps can be used as flavour bombs in your cooking. Last year I saved the skin from my Christmas ham and I use small amounts in stews, soups and homemade baked beans to add an awesome flavour punch.


  • Use up a lot of eggs in any number of recipes - quiche, omelettes, impossible pie etc.
    • Egg whites: pavlova/meringues, macaroons (not to be confused with macarons).
    • Egg yolks: Bearnaise/hollandaise sauce, custard.
  • Boil and store in the fridge for up to a week.
  • Freeze em' up for use in cooking later.
  • Eggshells can actually be eaten - I'm not recommending it but once my daughter started eating an eggshell and I had to quickly google to make sure it was safe. Thought I'd add a nice extreme food waste reduction tip in here for you. 


  • Use pickle juice anywhere savoury that vinegar is welcome.
  • Leftover oil from antipasto veg adds great flavour to dressings and dishes.
  • Cooking water from meat and veg can be used as a base for soup or stock.
  • Random meal scraps (a big one when you have kids) can be turned into fritters or added to pikelets/muffins (and then re-presented to said kids!). Or freeze up your bits and pieces to add to your next blended soup or appropriate casserole.
  • Leftover cereal and porridge can be added to many baked goods (or fed to your kids the next day and the next until they finish it!!).

Ok, over to you. Any random food saving habits at your house?

Further resources:
15 creative uses for food scraps
22  budget friendly recipes to use food scraps
Using food scraps and a few recipes - pickled watermelon rind is pretty tasty (says the pickle fiend).

Food waste series
Intro: Part 1
Reduce: Part 2
Reuse: Part 4
Food waste: the Australian picture


  1. Wow, you've covered the lot! Can't really add anything... Have seen the stock powder recipe before but haven't tried yet either, and Rhonda at Down to Earth does the same too I think. Neither have I tried freezing eggs but always freeze cheese and milk I buy on sale. Leftover rice makes better fried rice than fresh made. I use calcium carbonate (aka eggshells) in my toothpowder but haven't tried grinding my own shells!

    1. Yes, leftover rice definitely does make the best fried rice - I often freeze excess rice and it really makes for a quick fried rice.
      Let us know if you give the shells a go in the tooth powder - it'd definitely be a unique reuse.

  2. Hi Laura, thank you for some great ideas for minimising food waste. I recently found a book at Savers by Sally Wise called "Leftover Makeovers:Quick and Fabulous Food from your Fridge and Pantry". It has many ideas for turning almost any kind of leftover into something new and delicious.
    I had to laugh at the idea of feeding kids their leftovers day after day until finished. When my daughter was a toddler she sometimes didn't eat all her evening meal only to have it brought out again later when she complained that she was hungry. She is a young adult now and still remembers this happening.
    Husbands and teenage sons are also very useful as they are rather eager and efficient leftover consumers. Having backyard chickens and a compost system means that almost nothing here goes in the rubbish bin. It is surprising what can actually be added to the compost heap.
    I imagine that the weather is getting cooler in Canberra. Here in Adelaide we are having some cold nights and mornings. It is perfect weather for using up those tired looking veggies and herbs in the fridge and turning them into a hot and delicious soup or stew. Slightly stale home-made sourdough bread turned into garlic bread or just toasted becomes the best accompaniment.
    Regards, Maria.

    1. Thanks for the book tip Maria. I like Sally Wise's stuff so I'll have to see if they have that one at the library.
      Sometimes husbands can be too eager to help out with leftovers around here and food that's been earmarked for other uses can sometimes disappear!
      Yes, it's definitely getting cooler around here. We've had our first few frost and temps dipping below zero. Lots of warming porridge and hearty soups and stews on the menu.

  3. Laura, lots of good tips there. I did have a look at the link to the homemade stock powder but it seems to be a lot of work cooking the veggies first on low heat for two hours before putting them in the oven. Our stove is old and isn't very energy efficient so I would use another method I think. I also make ricotta cheese from milk as it is so easy to do.

    1. I've also seen the home made stock done by simply dehydrating the veg - which could be a better option if you had one.
      Good tip on the ricotta - a very tasty use of excess milk.

  4. Wow! I've met my kindred spirit. I'm really obsessed about food waste too and gained a few new things from you. I'm particularly good at freezing food for future use though. Thanks for a practical blog.

    1. Thanks for the lovely comment and thanks for stopping by. Hope some of the tips come in handy - you can never have too many ideas for utilising random food bits right!

  5. Lots of great ideas, Laura. For eggshells, I wash and dry them then crush them for the compost. Great source of calcium for the garden. Meg☺

    1. Yes, that's our standard use for them! Hope you had a lovely trip to Melbourne Meg.


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