5 tips for using more and binning less – working towards zero-waste …

Before you head for the recycling bin, here are some things you can do to use and eat more of your fruit and veg …

1. Eat more of the veg!

Whenever you slice and cook broccoli, how much of the stem do you throw into your food waste bin? There are the same amounts of nutrients in those broccoli stalks as there are in the florets and, although tougher, by slicing the stem into smaller pieces you can cook it for the same amount of time as the rest of the plant. You can add carrot tops as a salad garnish (a bit like fennel leaves), beetroot leaves are as delicious as spinach, and cauliflower leaves are delicious baked and served as a side dish.

Regrow your vegetable scraps … carrot tops can be placed into jars of water, and you can harvest the leaves for your salads this way. Leeks, onions and celery can be regrown entirely from the base in a glass of water.

2. Save sad-looking salads

Limp lettuces and spinach leaves can be kept fresher for longer by simply removing any brown leaves and placing the remaining ones in a bowl of cold water for around 20 mins.

Kale and chard can be kept fresher for longer by filling a glass with water and standing the stalks upright – they look pretty too.

3. Make fruit last a little longer

When you buy vegetables and fruit with skins, like apples and courgettes, soak them in cider vinegar before you put them away. Fill your sink up with cold water and drop in a couple of tablespoons of cider vinegar. Soak the fruit for 15 minutes, scrub the skins gently with a cloth. Rinse and then dry.

This is a natural way to kill off unwanted bacteria, which will cause food to turn moldy over time. Although this isn’t a permanent solution, it will extend their shelf life and give you more time to use your veg.

4. Lemon left-overs are great for home-cleaning

Before you throw lemon halves away, consider using them around the home. Lemon juice is a great cleaner. Put a left-over lemon half in your dishwasher (on the upper shelf, or tucked in the cutlery tray) for a subtle zesty-clean finish. You can also use lemon juice to clean chrome taps, microwaves insides and doors, worktops and chopping boards. Half a lemon left in the fridge door gives off a pleasantly fresh odour too.

Don’t use lemon on anything brass-plated or made of natural stone, however, as it’s too acidic.

5. Black bananas aren’t just for bread

We have a delicious recipe for vegan berry ice cream – the perfect way to use up overripe bananas.