250,000 tonnes of the food that goes to waste every year in the UK is still edible – enough for 650 million meals. (The Courtauld 2025 baseline and restated household food waste figures, WRAP, 2018)
A huge amount of this is fresh vegetables so below are some tips to save them becoming a sad, soggy mess in your fridge.
1. Store fresh herbs properly.
Keep herbs such as coriander, basil or parsley in a glass jar in the fridge filled with a a couple of inches of fresh water. Snip off the ends of the stems before you do this. These are the herbs I use most often and it really gives them a longer life – just remember to replace the water every few days.
2. Don’t chuck those broccoli stalks.
Use broccoli stalks in curries, pasta sauce or stews – they have a really delicious and mild flavour and aren’t as easy to overcook as florets. You can also use them in a veggie soup if you prefer.
3. Don’t be a slave to recipes.
When you’re making something like a veggie stew or curry, feel free to throw in any vegetables you have in your fridge like a spare carrot or half a red pepper.
4. Store fresh chillies and ginger in the freezer.
I learnt this kitchen hack from my mother. If you’re not using them regularly, fresh chillies and ginger should be kept in the freezer. They can be chopped and added straight to the pan or you can grate the ginger in.
5. Sauté the tough stems of dark leafy greens.
It’s all too easy to throw away the hardy steams of greens such as cavolo nero, collard greens or kale. You’re missing a trick here as they are super nutritious and fibrous and taste great after they are lightly sautéed. My go-to combination is garlic, soya sauce and a squeeze of lemon.
6. Don’t store onions and potatoes together.
I‘ve made this mistake many times. The potatoes start sprouting very quickly. Store in a cool, dry place, separately.
7. Swap salad leaves for rocket leaves.
I find rocket (arugula to Americans) to last quite a while in my fridge. It is much better in salads than limp lettuce and more nutritious too.
8. Make the most of cauliflower leaves.
Add the leaves at the bottom of your cauliflower to a stir-fry. They are totally edible and a bit like cabbage leaves.