I hate wasting food. Some press trips I go on focus on food and wine, so I've picked up some useful tips along the way. It's a fact, everyone can learn to make tasty meals from some things that might otherwise be thrown out. Take vegetables for instance – do you bin parts you don't consider edible or that look less than fresh?
Herbs that have had their day
Drooping parsley? Basil that's on its way out? Don't chuck them in the bin. You can grow your own super-plant from these wilting specimens. Just pop them in a cup of water for a few days until roots start to appear, then plant them in good soil a flower pot. When you next buy a bunch of herbs you could put them into a freezer bag and roll it like a sausage before freezing. Then slice what you need when you want to use.
You don't think they're appetising? Well, the stalk contains more calcium than the rest of the vegetable. All you do is remove the outer peel, then shred the rest. Broccoli leaves are edible too.
Okay, bendy carrots aren't great as they are but are a great addition to soups or stews, And if you boil the tops in water with dried herbs and sea salt, you've got a tasty stock for soups or sauces. In fact, that applies to any bits of vegetables that would otherwise go to waste. The resultant stock can be frozen.
Cook with a little garlic, olive oil, sea salt and water to make a kind of pesto. It’s good served hot on pasta.
So you forgot about that box of cornflakes sitting at the back of the cupboard. Ohoh, they've gone soft. No problem. Toast them in the oven to crisp them up then crush them, use a food processor if you wish and use as crumbs to coat chicken or fish.
Limp Salad Leaves
Use in a stir fry with some olive or sesame oil, soy sauce and garlic.
Blitz in the processor to make breadcrumbs, pop them in a freezer bag and freeze until you need them. Or make a bread sauce by adding some cream, a bay leaf and chopped onion.
......and when you've eaten the Parmesan and are about to bin the rind - think - doesn't it make more sense to add it to a soup, stew or risotto? Adds fantastic flavour (do remember to remove it before serving though!)
I'm Gilly, award winning journalist, travel writer and author of 11 books. My byline appears in national and regional newspapers and magazines. See website gillypickup.co.uk