How to reduce your fruit and veggie waste and save up to $2,500 per year

Be honest, how many veggies go into your bin every week? Vegetables and bagged salads are in the top five most wasted foods in Australia; and the average Australian household throws out $2,000 - $2,500 worth of food per year! Here are some helpful tips to reduce your veggie waste and save.

April 14, 2022

Smarter fruit and vegetable shopping

Meal plan and only buy what you need. Plan meals around using perishable vegetables first and store-cupboard items towards the end of the week.

  • Make a shopping list with specific amounts, such as ‘enough lettuce for five lunches’.  
  • Remember buying in bulk or grabbing something that is marked down isn’t cheaper if half of it ends up in the bin. Buy only what you can realistically use before it expires.
  • You can also buy vegetables, such as tomatoes, before they are ripe to eat later in the week.  
  • Shop at farmers markets early because the heat of the day can alter quality or speed up ripening.
  • Steer clear of vegetables that are bruised or damaged.
  • Grow your own herbs – only grow the ones you will use, or they will go to waste.  

Check out our tips:  Growing herbs  

Storage solutions for fruit and vegetables

  • Wash vegetables just before you use them, as moisture can speed up the ageing process.
  • Wrap celery and broccoli in aluminium foil and store in the fridge.
  • Tear up (don’t cut) a whole lettuce and store in a glass jar with a folded piece of kitchen paper at the bottom. This will last for up to 10 days. Wash just before using.  
  • Store potatoes in a cool, dry, and dark location. This will prevent them turning green and sprouting.
  • Store mushrooms in a paper bag and out of the fridge.
  • Treat herbs like flowers and store in a cup or jar with the stems in water.
  • Plan to use veggies such as herbs, sprouts, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, green beans, leafy greens, lima beans, mushrooms, and peas within couple days of purchase. These have a shorter shelf life.  
  • Store vegetables that can wilt (such as leafy greens, carrots, cucumbers, and broccoli) in the crisper drawer of the fridge. Line your crisper drawer with paper towel and it will also absorb any moisture, making your fruit and vegetables last a little longer. Just replace the paper towel regularly.
  • Revive limp greens, or root vegetables that have lost some firmness, by soaking them for about half an hour in iced water.  

Don’t throw away those leftovers!

  • Love daily smoothies? Chop and divide any leftover veg, add some fruit, and freeze in individual bags to make smoothie packs. Just tip the bagful in the blender, add your liquid and blend!
  • Turn overripe tomatoes into home-made tomato sauce for pasta.
  • Save veg tops and peels for making vegetable stock – you can freeze them until you are ready use them.
  • Chop up any herbs, chillies or garlic and freeze with oil or butter in an ice cube tray for use later.
  • Rather than peeling vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, and beetroot, give them a good scrub and use the whole thing, then there is no waste.  

(Sources: Ozharvest, fightfoodwastecrc.com.au)
Money Saving Hacks