1. Buy whole vegetables, there’s a use for almost every part
It’s not often you can buy carrots or beetroots with their tops on, but they are out there. If we snap them up, we can encourage sellers to provide them like that so we can get more goodness from each crop. Fresh carrot tops are great in pesto’s (as part of the parsley family, they have a mild parsley flavour), beetroot leaves are delicious in soups, salads or wherever you would use spinach.
2. Use up leftover veg in soups and stews
I’m pretty sure my answer in most interviews to at least one question is “soups and stews!” and here I go again… When you have a surplus of veggies, then making them into soups and stews is the perfect way to enjoy them in a way that’s good for digestion without having to crunch and munch for hours! There are so many flavours and styles of soup, so it’s one way of adding variety to a glut of too much of the same veggies some months or a mish mash of veggies odds and ends during others.
3. Consider composting
Consider composting if you have a garden or using the food collection recycling facilities so that your food waste becomes green waste. Having moved from a flat to a garden 18 months ago, I’ve taken full advantage of having a compost heap — and in lockdown I treated myself to a wormery! My best friend lives on the same road but within a building that doesn’t have a food waste collection, so I’ve started to collect her food waste too which feels good all round for both of us.
4. THINK BEFORE YOU PEEL
When you’re tired and in a hurry, peeling vegetables is, well, unappealing — right? The good news is, there’s often no need to peel, as this part of many fruits and veggies — especially potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, pears, apples and aubergine — is packed with essential nutrients like antioxidants, vitamins and hearty fibre.
Besides all the nutritional benefits, fruit and veggie skin also adds a fantastic touch of flavour and texture to your meal. So we encourage you to skip the peeling next time and give it a simple scrub instead. You’ll save time and enjoy a better meal because of it.
5. HARNESS THE POWER OF WATER
Here’s one you probably weren’t expecting: never throw away your cooking water; recycle it instead. Many of the vitamins and minerals that are drained from vegetables in cooking are retained in the water, giving you the perfect base for more flavourful and creamy soups, sauces and gravies. At the very least, it’ll save you a trip to the supermarket.
6. Food thats ripe for reuse
You know what it’s like — two stir-fries and a casserole later and you still haven’t managed to use all the vegetables in your fridge. And now they’re starting to lose that first flush of youth. Well, that slightly overripe produce still has a viable, delicious future in your next smoothie. And if they’re radishes, cucumbers, mushrooms or tomatoes, they’re ripe for a good pickling with a little vinegar, salt and water. Not sure how to go about pickling your veggies? No worries, we’ve got a simple guide for you here.
7. MAKE A MEAL (OR TWO) OF IT
The best thing about cooking up hearty helpings of casseroles, stews and other one-pot dinners? The leftovers.
At ZENB, we’re huge fans and proponents of cooking big meals that produce days of leftovers. Not to mention, it’s also a smart way to make sure you’re using up all of the veggies in your fridge, while at the same time saving you hours of time.
8. KEEPING IT CLEAN
It’s easy to waste food in a cluttered kitchen. When the kitchen’s a mess, it’s easier to overlook anything that’s pushed to the back of the shelf, as well as the fruits and vegetables that sink to the bottom of the fridge. The best way to avoid this is to simply clean your kitchen and appliances regularly. Before long, you’ll see that decluttering is a key ingredient in the recipe for using your cooking time efficiently. That’s because a clean kitchen and fridge helps you see exactly what you have and where you have it, instead of spending valuable minutes looking for something.
Jasmine Hemsley is an author, cook and wellness expert with a philosophy on life that we totally love.
Keep your eyes peeled for new content on her Instagram @jasminehemsley. We’ve heard she’s got some big projects in the pipeline!