15 simple, sizzling food hacks that will make you waste less this summer

15 simple, sizzling food hacks that will make you waste less this summer

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

Whether it’s a picnic, barbeque 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 barbeques with abundant burger buns.

Here are our top food hacks that will help you salvage and revive those al fresco favourites.

1. When life hands you lemons…


…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


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 ingredient for making slaw, jams, chutneys and pickles.

3. Strawberry meals forever


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

Proof: leftover potato salad —> crispy fried taters.

A video posted by Paula Forbes (@paula_forbes) on

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

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

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. Excess baps?


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. Keep it poppin’

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.

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

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. Burger me

beef tacos

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


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 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. Summer on a stick

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. The post-party dip


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. Heaps of hummus? Spread onto toasted flatbreads and top with a Greek salad.

15. That’s a wrap


In Korean cuisine, they have 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.

What are you favourite waste-busting tips this Summer? Let us know with a comment below.

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