Cleaning out the fridge of all the food that's gone off is a thankless chore that can leave you feeling guilty at how much you've wasted.
But an author has revealed there is a way to easily reduce the amount of food waste by showing how you can use up scraps and leftovers that you would otherwise throw in the bin.
Ruth O'Rourke-Jones, of new book My Zero-Waste Kitchen, says with a few nifty tricks, you can avoid wasting the money you've spend on your groceries at the supermarkets.
From blending wilted greens into smoothies and using lettuce heads to grow new plants, to using a ripe banana peel to keep meat moist in the oven, these are the cleverest kitchen hacks to try next time you clear out the fridge and cupboards.
SAVE 'INEDIBLE' FOOD
When the greens start wilting, the tomatoes wrinkle, the cake goes stale and the strawberries shrivel, many people throw them away. But many foods still have a use even after they're no longer fresh, or taste as good as the day you bought them. Wilted greens, for example, can be blended into smoothies, while you can revive a piece of stale cake by storing it overnight in a container with a slice of bread or an apple.
Even when some foods grow mould, they can still be saved. Hard cheeses, dry-cured meats, and hard fruits can still be eaten as long as you cut off the mould at least 2,5cm below the surface of where it's growing.
However you should still throw away or compost softer food that has gone mouldy as the bacteria can penetrate more easily.
RE-USE SCRAPS AND LEFTOVERS
Most of us will throw out the head of lettuce after tearing off all the leaves but you can actually use the head to grow a whole new plant. Simply plant it in soil, water it and you should have a whole new head of lettuce. Banana peels can be added to a baking tray in the oven to help keep meat moist while it's cooking. And carrot leaves and leftover parsley stalks can be used to make a sauce, or pesto.
FREEZE WHAT YOU CAN
Most of us know to save leftovers by freezing them for a quick and easy midweek dinner. But there are plenty of other ingredients you can freeze that may otherwise get wasted after you have finished cooking.
Leftover cooking wine can be frozen in ice cube trays to use next time you make a dish, while root vegetables that are starting to go off can also be frozen as they can be made into soups.
Cake can also be frozen to make sure you always have a supply of sweet treats, as well as uncooked brown rice, hard cheese and even nuts.
If you know you're not going to be able to use food before it goes off, the freezer can act as a pause button and eliminate waste.