Colourful fruit and vegies are versatile and delicious - but they fade! Here's our tips on how to get the most out of your produce so you can reduce food waste and save money; from planning and storage to experimenting with the whole plant. Enjoy!

Plan your meals

Fresh fruit and vegies have a relatively short shelf life compared to other foods that sit happily in the pantry or can be frozen. So it makes sense to plan your meals around what needs to be used up! If this level of planning is not your bag, try starting with shopping a bit more consciously. If you can’t think of two dishes you’re going to make this week with an ingredient, choose something else! Learn more about meal planning (or get one ready made) over here.

Canned, dried and frozen

We’ve got a whole section of the website devoted to singing the praises of these pantry heroes over here. So we’ll just quickly mention that these pre-prepared and shelf-stable packs of goodness are great to have on hand for speedy dinners. And are way less likely to go off while you think of what to do with them!

Store it right

Different fruits and vegies need different conditions to stay their best for longer. We’ve got a detailed guide over here, but here’s a quick guide to common fruit and veg. Note: fruit and vegies don’t need to be stored in the fridge to be safe to eat, but it makes them last a lot longer!   

pear
Apples and pears
Store them in the fridge
citrus
Citrus
Store them in the fridge
Grapes and strawberry
Berries and grapes
Store them in the fridge
Carrots sliced
Carrots
Store them in the fridge
zuchinnis
Zucchini and squash
Store them in the fridge
snow peas
Fresh beans and peas
Store them in the fridge
red capsicum
Capsicum
Store them in the fridge
Broccoli and cauliflower
Broccoli and cauliflower
Store them in the fridge
Mushrooms
Mushrooms
Store them in the fridge in a paper bag
Banana
Bananas
Store them on the benchtop, away from other fruits
Avocado
Avocadoes
Store them on the benchtop to ripen, then fridge
Tomato
Tomatoes
Store them on the benchtop to ripen, then fridge
peach
Stone fruit
Store them on the benchtop to ripen, then fridge
potatoes
Potatoes and sweet potatoes
Store them somewhere cool and dark. Don't store in plastic bags.
Brown onion
Onions and garlic
Somewhere cool and dark. Don't store in plastic bags.
Salad leaves
Lettuce and salad greens
Store them in the fridge, with a piece of paper towel in the bag/container.
Fresh Herbs
Fresh herbs
Wrap in a damp paper towel and put in a container in the fridge.

 

Root-to-leaf cooking

Lots of us throw away perfectly good bits of fruit and vegies all the time! Here’s how to use the whole veg… root to leaf.

coriander

Fresh coriander – you can use the whole thing! Roots and stems are great in curries and stirfries, and the stems can be finely sliced and included wherever leaves are used

Brocoli and cauliflower

Broccoli and cauliflower – – it’s not all about the florets. The stalk is also yummy, cooked or raw. It takes a little longer to cook than the florets, so cut it smaller or start cooking it sooner. If the stalk is tough or bitter, just give it a quick peel. Keep peeling to shave the stalk into thin strips and throw it in a salad, or keep them chunky and have with dip.

Carrot
Vegies with skins – do you hate peeling carrots, potatoes and sweet potatoes? You can stop! Just give them a good wash and they’re ready to go. Try leaving the skin on pumpkin to roast. A real time saver and totally tasty.
Celery
Celery leaves – these are crisp and peppery, especially the young, pale leaves. Use them in a salad or sandwich (like you would rocket or radicchio).
Sliced mushrooms
Mushrooms – there’s no need to peel (or even wash). Just wipe them gently with a damp cloth. Use a pastry brush or similar if there’s any dirt. You can trim the ends if needed, but use the stems just like you use the caps.
Lemon zest
Citrus peel – if you’re eating or juicing some citrus, zest them first and put the zest in a zip-lock bag in the freezer. Then it’s ready to go to use in cakes, pastas, salads and more. 
Spring onions
Spring onions – you can use the whole thing, not just the white bit! Slice the greens thinly and use raw as a garnish or throw in at the end of cooking for a bit of pep!
Watermelon rinds
Watermelon rind – did you know you can pickle them? Watermelon rind  pickles are an American Southern classic, and are apparently great on a cheese board or with grilled meats. One to try this summer!
vege scraps
Onion skins, corn cobs carrot tops, zucchini ends and more – throw them in a ziplock in the freezer, and when you have enough, use them to make your very own stock. More instructions on how to do that over here.

Rescue it!

If you spot some fruit or veg that’s past its peak, try these rescue remedies before sending it to the bin, compost or worm farm.

Bananas

Bananas – overripe bananas are perfect in smoothies and banana cakes. They also freeze well if you’re not ready to bake just yet. Peel, remove any really gross bits, pop in a ziplock bag and freeze. Remember to label with the date and how many bananas are in there. 

Tomato

Tomatoes – past its peak for a salad or sandwich? Probably still good in a pasta sauce or soup.

Celery

Limp vegies – celery, carrots, broccoli and asparagus can all go a bit soft after a while. As long as they’re not mouldy or too far gone, trimming the end and standing in some cold water can work wonders!