15 simple summer food waste hacks to help you waste less

11th May 2018

Get to grips with these extremely easy summer hacks from our friends at the food-waste fighting app OLIO and you’ll be a surplus food hero in no time.

fruit lolly, a very simple food waste hack

As Ella Fitzgerald once sang, ‘Summertime and the living is easy’. We wholeheartedly agree, especially when our weekends are filled with sitting in parks and gardens with friends and family, stuffing our faces together.

Whether it’s a picnic, barbecue or dinner party, there’s always plenty of food going around and in some cases, too much. We’ve all been to picnics where there’s been a couple of pots of hummus leftover or barbecues with abundant burger buns.

So before summer breathes its last gasp, here are our top food waste hacks that will help you salvage and revive those al fresco favourites.

1. When life gives you lemons…

lemon ice cubes summer food waste hack

…pop them in an ice-cube tray and make (you guessed it!) lemon ice cubes. Also, be sure to grate the rinds, bag them up and freeze them to be used for cold drinks, salads, pasta, pizza, and smoothies. There are more antioxidants in the rinds than the lemon juice itself.

2. Be kind to your rinds

watermelon rind pickle food waste hack

After you’ve scooped and eaten that refreshing watermelon, reconsider what you do with the rind. It’s super healthy, containing blood-building chlorophyll, and is very versatile. The rinds are a great food waste gem of an ingredient, perfect for making slaw, jams, chutneys and pickles.

3. Strawberry meals forever

Strawberry smoothie food hack

If those strawberries are entering the mushy twilight of their lives, don’t bin them – blend them! They’re the perfect consistency for making slushies, smoothies and syrups.

4. (Roast) potato salad

food waste tip: roast up leftover salad

Potato salad pile-up at your latest picnic? If you’re fed up of eating it in its current form, give it a new lease of life and roast in the oven for twenty-five minutes. It actually works rather well.

5. The super-punch-bowl

summer watermelon punch bowl

Impress your party guests with your fruit carving creativity. Turn those hollowed out pineapples and watermelons into the ultimate tropical punch bowls.

6. Grape idea

frozen grapes food waste hack

If your grapes are looking a little wrinkly, pop them in the freezer and serve as a cooling snack. They also make a ‘grape’ alternative to ice cubes.

7. Too many baps?

hot dog bread pudding

via Created by Diane

Have each of your guests brought a pack of baps to the BBQ and now you have enough to supply burger van for a week? Rather than fill the entirety of your freezer with them, why not repurpose into delectable desserts? Burger baps and buns are perfect for making lemon bread puddings or pineapple upside down cakes.

8. Bring on the bubbles

red wine poached pears

If there’s ever a (rare) occasion when you have leftover bubbly after a party, don’t consign those flat, half-filled bottles down the sink. Champagne, prosecco and sparkling wine can be used for all manner of things. You can use the bubbly to poach pears or fish, as well as making creamy sauces, best served with seafood.

9. Freeze wine and you’ll be fine

red wine poached pears

Once you’ve salvaged the bubbly, check the red and white wine bottles. Pour the dregs into an ice cube tray for future flavour bombs. They’ll be great for stews, marinades and gravy.

10. Sausage party

sausage pasta food waste hack

Sausage surplus? Simply chop them up and put them in an omelette or sprinkle into pasta or onto a pizza. Just make sure meat hasn’t been sitting out for over two hours (one hour if it is hotter than room temperature) before saving!

11. Got beef?

taco food waste hack

A missed steak is never a mistake. Consider it your gain. If you have extra beef patties, use them to bulk up stews and soups, or for a Mexican spin, crumble into fajitas and tacos.

12. Corn star

corn chowder

via Delicious Magazine

Did you know, in the UK alone we throw away 16,000 tonnes of sweet corn away every year? Yesterday’s corn-on-cob can be today’s supper. Why not fight the food waste and whip up some fritters, make a warming bowl of corn and smoked haddock chowder or add the kernels to salads, relishes, and zingy salsas.

13. Pop that fruit

fruit pop

Homemade ice pops are a deliciously fun way of using up leftover fruit. Simply pour fruit juice or yoghurt into the ice moulds and then add pieces of fresh fruit. For grown-up folks, make boozy ice pops by using Sangria or Campari as a substitute.

14. Don’t-know-what-to-do-with dip?

leftover dip pasta food waste hack

Don’t be dismayed by the accumulation of your post-party dips. Welcome them with open arms, for they are resourceful treasures. Mix guacamole alongside garlic, lemon, basil, and toss with linguine or spaghetti for a quick-fix, mid-week meal. Leftover hummus? Spread onto toasted flatbreads and top with a Greek salad.

15. That’s a wrap

ssam Korean lettuce wrap

In Korean cuisine is a dish called ‘ssam’, which literally translates as ‘wrapped’. Ssam is a Korean lettuce wrap made of boldly flavoured seasoned meat or tofu, zingy sauce (ssamjang) and kimchi. Add rice to the little lettuce package to make what they call, ‘Ssam Bap’ (wrapped rice). No excuses for those leftover salad leaves.

This article comes courtesy of food-waste pioneers OLIO – the free app that connects neighbours with each other and local businesses so surplus food can be shared, not thrown away. Know a waste-busting tip we’ve missed? Share the knowledge in the comments below!

This article was originally published in June 2017 and has since been updated.

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