How to have a less food waste summer

From carrot sandwiches, silky soups or salad leaf pesto - here's how to avoid food waste in summer with new recipe inspiration and storage ideas.

Being able to be out and about if possible is a real gift this summer, and we all want to make the most of opportunities to do so. Our fridges get neglected if we’re out of the house more though, which sometimes leads to unintended food waste when odds and ends don’t get used up.

Simple tips to reduce waste

– Having a shelf or container in the fridge for ‘use me first items’ can really help make sure things that need eating don’t get pushed to the back and ignored.

– Love your leftovers! Simple storage helps, beeswax wraps and Pyrex type fridge-to-oven containers with a tightfitting lid ensure leftovers are visible and easily usable.

– Invest in some plastic free basics – a refillable water bottle, reusable knife fork spoon and straw set, leakproof stainless steel box and reusable sandwich bag made from oil cloth help you use what you’ve already got rather than spending more on takeout lunches.

Bee bee wraps
Store food in plastic free wraps or containers and use it up in order of shelf life. 

– Free Apps like No Waste or Any List can help you manage your food, even creating shopping lists from recipes you like online said that you don’t buy more than you need.

– Look again at recipe boxes – they contain the exact ingredients for each dish with zero waste. Now boxes are available that are very low plastic, with returnable reusable packaging, and 100 per cent organic ingredients they are a great way to help reduce food waste – try Riverford’s new range.

For those items that get wasted most in summer, don’t let them languish in the salad drawer; try using these easy recipes to harness all that goodness, saving both money and waste:

Lettuce and mixed leaves

Lots of lettuce? Griddle or BBQ your Little Gems. Lettuce on a BBQ might sound like madness, but Little Gems won’t wilt or collapse but instead lightly char while retaining their distinctive crisp succulence. For instructions, click here.

BBQ little gem
Think outside the box for using up salad on the BBQ or as a pesto ingredient. 

Salad is something that is easily remembered just after it’s at its best, but don’t throw away if still serviceable. Instead of letting leftover leaves go slimy, blitz them into pesto. Great mixed through cooked pasta; swirled into soups; on baked potatoes; or spread in a sandwich. Enjoy however you fancy. Click here for the recipe.


Tomato glut? Put them centre-table with this tomato and white bean panzanella, a traditional Italian way of turning stale bread into salad by mixing it with juicy tomatoes, vinegar and oil. Here simple store cupboard ingredients like a tin of white beans make it a filling dish. For the recipe, click here.

A glut of tomatoes can be used in a rustic, Italian panzanella full of flavour. 

For a spoonable version of the salad, try a lush, silky panzanella tomato soup. It has all the key elements, but the bread is baked into croutons for added crunch. Click here for the recipe.

Making your own sun-dried tomatoes is easy to do at home in the oven, and a great way of using them when plentiful. Combined with fresh oregano, garlic and black pepper, the intensified flavour is just incredible. See below to watch Riverford chef James Evans making them in this Veg Hacks video:


Carrots arrive with their leafy tops still on? Try making carrot top chimichurri – a South American herb sauce that is an absolute superstar when paired with roasted or BBQ meat, vegetables or fish. To try the recipe, click here.

Carrot flapjacks are great for popping in a lunchbox or as an on-the-go snack. This recipe is very flexible; use up whatever bits of grateable cheese you have to hand, and you can also add in some sesame or pumpkin seeds, or a little grated apple for sweetness. Good to make with children, these savoury flapjacks also freeze brilliantly so make a double batch and keep some for another day. For the full recipe, click here.

Carrot sandwich
Carrots can be used in flapjacks, sandwiches, or just grated raw into a fresh salad seasoned with a squeeze of lemon. 

Carrot sandwiches are weird sounding but very uncomplicated and really tasty! Simply mix a handful of grated carrot with some crumbled cheddar and a spoonful of sweet chutney (mango works surprisingly well). Spread into a sarnie with some crisp salad leaf.


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    1. So surprisingly good – great to hear the carrot sandwich is a real winner in your house!


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