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Stories from Eat-Drink, Nourish

Creative Tips to Use Up the Leftover Foods in Your Fridge

by Voices Wellness 28 Mar 2022
Photo: Unsplash

Make the most of your leftover fruits and vegetables by using them in delicious drinks and dishes. By culinary nutritionist CAROLINE CHOW; edited by SAMANTHA FRANCIS.

Is your refrigerator filled with an abundance of leftover fruits and vegetables that look sad and slightly wilted? Instead of letting them go to waste only for you to inevitably toss them into the trash bin, try some of these creative ways to repurpose them and satiate your belly.

According to the National Environment Agency, food waste accounts for 11 percent of Singapore’s total waste produced—a common problem in both home and commercial kitchens. While it’s easy to toss away last night’s dinner or a bunch of leftover herbs just because you don’t know what to do with them, there are several ways to reuse them so that they become the star of your next meal.

Avocadoes

These bright green fruits have a relatively short shelf life of about three to four days when kept out fresh and up to a week when stored in the fridge. To prolong the life span of ripe avocados, throw them into the freezer, whole and unpeeled. The next time you need an avocado, simply run one under warm water then let thaw on the counter for 15 minutes. Slice and enjoy with a drizzle of honey or whip up some guacamole.

Photo: Meghan Telpner

Cabbage

A little can go a long way for this budget-friendly leafy vegetable. Use up excess by making homemade probiotic-packed sauerkraut or kimchi. A quick coleslaw mixed with thinly sliced carrots makes a lovely side dish too.

Herbs

It’s not unusual to find yourself left with half-used bundles of herbs after trying out new recipes. Why not make a tasty green goddess dressing? This recipe uses a good mix of parsley and basil, or whatever herbs you have on hand. Kill two birds with one stone by using your ripe avocadoes too.

Assorted vegetables

If you open your fridge only to be greeted by a random variety of vegetable odds and ends, try making a lentil curry or dal like this one, which will easily use up four cups of vegetables. The recipe can be easily adaptable to any veggies you decide to use.

Photo: Saltnpepperhere

Eggs

Perhaps they were on sale, and you brought a carton too many. Use them up with easy dinner recipes like this gyudon (Japanese beef bowl), this Chinese shrimp and egg stir-fry, and impress your guests with a delicious dairy-free crème caramel dessert.

Char siu (Chinese BBQ pork), Chinese sausage, or other BBQ meats

Delicious whether served on their own or atop rice, these versatile sources of protein are wonderful chopped and added to fried rice dishes or used in egg roll fillings.

Photo: Minimalist Baker

Fruits

Freezing fresh fruits are a wonderfully economical way to stock up when more pricey fruits like berries are on sale. Simply spread the fruit out onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and freeze overnight, before transferring them into a freezer bag for use later in smoothies or juices. If you prefer not to freeze the fruits, you can try a juice recipe like this one that can be easily made in a blender. 

Over-ripe bananas

Great for making banana bread, over-ripened bananas, in particular, are a great staple to have on hand. Simply peel and freeze overnight in a similar manner to the fruits mentioned above. They can be used to make a healthier, dairy-free milkshake like this one or a banana “nice cream”.

Read Caroline’s blog here.

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