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Smart Ways to Use Leftover Food

Turn them into a delicious soup, congee or smoothie!

You don't have to throw them away. By Sylvia Tan

Freeze leftovers if they cannot be used immediately. Photo: Gilles Paire / 123rf.com

Fighting food wastage starts with a fresh look at leftovers.

To me, leftovers are a painless source of new meals. I use up what is available and do not go out to buy more food.

Chicken carcasses, prawn shells, fish bones, cheese rinds and ham bones are great for the stock pot.

They make delicious stocks, which need only vegetables to make a pot of soup, some leftover rice to make congee or noodles to make noodle soup.

I freeze these ingredients if I cannot use them immediately. I also save vegetable scraps, peelings and vegetables that are past their prime for the stock pot.

(Also read: How to Store Leftover Food Safely)

Even little bits of cooked pork or other meats are worth saving as they can make a delicious sauce for noodles, with mushrooms or bean sprouts.

Or I add them to omelettes or stir-fry dishes for a more substantial meal another day.

Stale bread is saved for breadcrumbs, biscuits reused as crumble topping and overripe bananas for smoothies.

Indeed, lots of foods can be frozen to cut down on wastage. I freeze bread, leftover rice, noodles and cooked dishes.

Vegetables are blanched, then frozen, if I cannot use them quickly enough.

(Also read: Whip Up A Three-Course Meal From Leftover Mandarin Oranges)

I follow a first-in, first-out policy, so that things are used before they "die" in the freezer. Ditto for canned and packaged goods in the larder.

In fact, I plan my meals around use-by dates so that food is hardly thrown away in my household, where we have an "eat leftovers" day every week.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 27, 2016, with the headline 'Cut wastage by freezing leftover food for stocks and stir-fry'.

Also read:

Make A Yummy Fat-Burning Smoothie From Leftover Pumpkin

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