Save food, save money

Getting the most out of fruit and veg saves money as well as food waste

Story by Ellie Williams | @reusabell
Image by Erin Chapman | @erins_illustrations

My mum has always been the “waste not want not” type and taught us to appreciate what we have and where it came from. When I moved out of home in 2018 with my boyfriend, I wanted to eat fresher food as opposed to frozen veg but with that the costs went up. So I’d get creative, like chop up broccoli stalks to make food go further, and it still tasted great.

Fruit seemed to be a big expense too. I would get frustrated when I found a mouldy tangerine in the fruit bowl because it was one less snack I could take to work. I solved this by rotating the fruit round often and anything going squishy (that realistically neither of us would eat) I’d chop up and put in the freezer for a smoothie. This was a massive turning point for us and meant we were still getting nutrients, not wasting and ultimately saving our money. I thought if I can do this with fruit then what can I do with vegetables?

From there I would keep an old ice cream tub or a ziplock bag in the freezer, one for fruit and one for veggies. The veg tub quickly filled up with onion roots, tops of tomatoes, green bits of leeks, and carrot peels so I’d start making a soup out of it all, then pasta sauces, then curries and so on. They were gorgeous!

One of my favourite finds from saving food is freezing fresh herbs. I remember buying a bag of chopped coriander from the freezer isle in a supermarket which costed me about £4 and it was a complete waste of money because there was hardly anything in there! I figured I could prepare herbs myself in the same way for a fraction of the price which was a huge success.

There have been mixed attitudes towards what I was doing; some people were very encouraging and were happy to see me wasting less. My boyfriend is coming around to being more zero waste and encourages me a lot, but he isn’t all that interested in making food himself because he knows I’ll do it! I think it might be a common male attitude to just throw something away without thinking because it’s too much effort.

However, some people felt that I was being “stingy”, or I was saving rubbish which they found disgusting, completely missing the point of WHY I was doing this. Food is expensive because someone has worked hard to grow it for our convenience, so I like using up the whole thing and make the work worth it.

Published by foodwastestories

Sharing stories to tackle root causes of food waste. Plus food waste tips, long reads, and reviews! Follow on Instagram @foodwaste.stories

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