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

Before you head for the compost bin, here are some things you can do to get more out of your fruit and veg …

1. Root to flower eating

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 and flavour 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 tasty as spinach, and cauliflower leaves are delicious seasoned, baked and served as a side dish.

2. Veggie regeneration

Re-grow your vegetable scraps … yes, really. Carrot tops can be placed into jars of water, and you can harvest the leaves that grow for your salads. Leeks, onions and celery can be regrown entirely from the base in a glass of water.

3. Save sad-looking salads

Limp lettuce and spinach leaves can be given a quick make-over 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.

4. Stave off the rot

When you buy vegetables and fruit that have a skin, like apples and courgettes, soak them in diluted 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 dry.

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

5. Make your home sparkle with lemon leftovers

Before you throw lemon halves away, consider using them around the home. Lemon juice is a great cleaner. Put a leftover 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, inside microwaves, worktops and chopping boards. Half a lemon left in the fridge door gives off a pleasantly fresh aroma too.

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

And one for luck … cool bananas!

Black bananas aren’t just for baking. We have a delicious recipe for vegan berry ice cream – a suprisingly scumptious and healthy way to use up over-ripe bananas.