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What size garden do you have? (approximately)

Healthy Household Habits


Notes prepared by Maria Ciavarella of My Green Garden, April 2024

Buying from a supermarket where the packaging is in pre-determined sizes can leave us with odds and ends languishing in the fridge or pantry. Who hasn’t cleaned out their fridge in the past and found some very sad and sorry foods well past their use-by date?

Here are my tips on what to do with these leftover bits that weren’t used up straight away in your cooking.

  1. LOVE YOUR LEFTOVERS If you’ve cooked too much for dinner, portion up the leftovers for an easy lunch the next day. Package them as you put them in the fridge so you can easily take them to work or for kids’ lunches in the busy morning rush.

You’d be surprised at what you can freeze and take out to use later.  Before you do, take note of these tips.

  • Whenever you put anything in the freezer and it isn’t obvious what it is (trust me, you think you’ll remember what it was!), LABEL the container. Get yourself a roll of masking tape and a sharpie marker kept in a handy place. Write down the CONTENTS, the AMOUNT and the DATE that it went in the freezer. This helps you keep the FIFO rule: First In, First Out, so that you use up your oldest frozen ingredients before the fresher ones.
  • If you are going to freeze fresh fruit and veg, always prepare them so that they’re ready to use straight from the freezer into your cooking eg celery is washed and cut into segments, because when it’s frozen it’s difficult to cut and when if you wait for it to defrost it’ll probably be mushy when you go to cut it.
DAIRY PRODUCTSYoghurt, cream, sour
cream, ricotta, cottage cheese
Defrost and use in cooking.
Hard cheeses
Egg whites
Hard cheeses Freeze and defrost well. Grated cheeses are important to freeze as they can go mouldy quickly in the fridge.
Egg whites Freeze easily to make meringues later.
CITRUS FRUITS Onions, halvesChop and freeze OR
will keep in fridge for up to a week. Store cut side down on a saucer.
Tomatoes, whole or cut; cherry tomatoes Freeze and then add to
soups, sauces or stocks later
Leftover tinned tomatoes and passata sauce Freeze in a jar and use up in sauces later
Celery leaves Bag up, freeze and use in making stock
Celery stalks Chop up and freeze. Use when needed in cooking or stocks.
Carrots, limp; or tops Chop up and freeze for making stocks.
Leeks and Spring onions, leafy part Chop up and freeze to add to stocks.
Leeks and Spring onions, root section Re-grow in a glass of water or in the garden
Ginger root Freeze whole. Easy to grate while frozen.
Rhubarb Cut into short lengths and freeze.
Avocado, over-ripe Guacamole or avocado dip, stored in fridge.
Garlic Separate into cloves and freeze, unpeeled.
Green beans, silverbeet Blanch before freezing
HERBS Soft leafed eg basil, parsley, coriander To extend fresh life: Wash, pat dry, store in fridge between dampened paper towel or
chux in an airtight container. If leftover, make chimichurri, pesto or herb mix and freeze in small portions.
FRUITS Berries, incl strawberries Freeze and use in smoothies, making jams, or ‘nice cream’
Bananas, over-ripe Cut up and freeze for easy addition to smoothies or to make cakes or ‘nice cream’
Apples, pears Stew lightly and freeze to use in crumbles, pies
Mangoes, stone fruits Chop up and freeze for smoothies
NUTS Walnuts, pine nuts, pecans, almond meal Store shelled nuts in freezer for longer life.
MEATS Roast chicken carcass Keep the bones in freezer for making stock.
SMALL GOODS Salami, ham, chorizo Freeze and use in cooking or pizza toppings
BREAD Day old stale bread Blitz in a food processor or blender for fresh
(panko) breadcrumbs.
Must be stored in freezer.
Dried out bread As above but can be stored in an airtight jar or container in the pantry.
Flat breads, stale Brush with oil, season with lemon pepper or garlic salt etc and bake in the oven at 160O for 5 minutes until crisp. Cut before baking or crack into pieces after for delicious crackers.
LEFTOVERS Soups Can freeze but might separate and become
watery. Blitz up a bit to bring together again.
Dried pasta in packets Combine all those odds and ends and make a pasta bake!
Caramel sauce, chocolate sauce Freezes and defrosts well




Gather as many vegetable odds and ends as you can and place in a stock pot or large saucepan. No need to defrost if frozen. The basics will include celery stalks and leaves, carrot pieces and onions. Other good vegetables to add might be cherry tomatoes, clean leek and spring onion trimmings, mushroom stalks, garlic; and herbs such as parsley, bay leaves, thyme or other aromatic herbs from your garden. Add some whole peppercorns. Season if you wish.

Cover with water and bring to the boil. Allow to simmer (even up to 2 hours) until the water content has reduced considerably. If you have a pressure cooker, this cuts down your cooking time considerably.

Allow to cool slightly before straining out the bits. Store your stock in the freezer in useable quantities, such as 250ml, 500ml or 1 litre amounts to use when a recipe calls for stock.

The cooked up vegetables from the stock could also be blended and made into a nutritious soup.


As above, but add also the bones and carcass from a roast chicken after you’ve finished the chicken; or purchase the inexpensive bags of chicken bones that a butcher will often have to sell.


Ask your butcher for beef bones for stock and then roast these in the oven before making them into a beef stock. Add your basic vegetables as well.



For every 2 cups of leafy herbs (parsley, basil, coriander), use 2 cloves of garlic, 2 tablespoons of pine nuts which you will need to pan fry in a dry (non-oiled) pan until golden (or substitute walnuts, pecans, or almonds); and blend all together with one quarter cup of olive oil in a food processor or blender. Season to taste.

If you have used basil, spoon this over cooked pasta and serve with parmesan cheese. Parsley or coriander pesto are good dolloped over grilled meats, chicken or fish.

Store in the fridge for up to a week or cover with a layer of olive oil and freeze in useable portions.



This is great on almost anything! Use any combination of the soft leafed herbs – the idea is not to buy anything but to use up what you’ve got.

Blend together

  • ½ cup mint leaves
  • ½ cup flat parsley
  • ¼ cup coriander leaves
  • ¼ cup oregano leaves
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard.


2 frozen bananas, peeled


  • Cocoa powder
  • Maple Syrup
  • Honey
  • Cinnamon powder
  • Frozen berries
  • Frozen mango cubes
  • Shredded coconut
  • Vanilla essence

Allow the frozen bananas to soften slightly and chop into chunks if not already.

  1. In a food processor or blender with a small bowl and steel blade, add the banana.
  2. Select your other chosen flavourings and add to the bananas.
  3. Process until smooth. You may need to stop the food processor and scrape down the bowl.
  4. Serve immediately or freeze in a container to enjoy later.