Jamie Oliver: 11 hacks to help you make the most of your leftovers and cut food waste

10th Oct 18 | Lifestyle

The chef has teamed up with Hotpoint on a new initiative to tackle food waste.


The top three food items that most commonly end up in the bin are bread, bagged salad and fresh vegetables, and in Europe alone, 8.8 million tonnes of food is wasted each year.

Frustratingly, 53% of that waste happens in our homes, hence why Jamie Oliver, an ambassador for Hotpoint, is supporting the brand’s Fresh Thinking For Forgotten Food campaign.

The idea is to encourage people to get to grips with leftovers, and realise their taste potential.

As such, Hotpoint are running a pop-up restaurant in East London until tomorrow, serving food made using the ingredients that are most wasted, with proceeds (it’s a ‘pay what you feel’ set up) going to charity FoodCycle.

But if you can’t make it to the Fresh Thinking cafe, here are some tricks and tips for cutting food waste in your own kitchen…

1. Think outside the (bread) box. Bread is one of the things we waste the most, but it can be used in so many ways; in bread pudding, bread sauce, in stuffings. Oliver’s wife Jools loves Pangritata – crispy breadcrumbs made using stale bread, flavoured with garlic and thyme, which Italians often use to top pasta with, in place of cheese, which can be expensive.

2. Be patient with veg. A lot of veggies end up in the bin when they look past their best, but often, they’ve still got loads of flavour. “Working on a veg stall, you’d see the Brits come out in the morning to buy the fresh, firm tomatoes. But my boss, at the end of the day, would give the tomatoes away,” remembers Oliver, “and you’d see the Portuguese, the Italians, the Greeks come out, because they’d know that by the end of the day, they were ripe.”

3. If in doubt, make pesto. “It’s so easy, so delicious, even my kids make it,” says Oliver. It’s a great way to use up leftover herbs, and can be made with practically any nuts you have to hand.

4. Save every last bit of pasta. Don’t chuck out random little bits left in the bottom of a packet, add them all to one jar. “That’s my soup pasta jar for minestrone – it’s kinda beautiful.”

5. Freeze cheese! “My cheese drawer can be a bit random,” says Oliver, “so once a week or so, I grate all those random bits and put them in the freezer together.” It makes for a great cheese medley to top mac and cheese or lasagne with.

6. Make ice lollies. “Give a kid a brownie and 15 seconds later they want another one – same with cookies – but an ice lolly can keep a kid busy for 12 minutes! And they’re satisfying.” Oliver is forever pouring leftover smoothie mix into plastic ice-lolly moulds.

7. Freeze any herbs on the turn in ice cube trays, in oil, to then add to dishes while you’re cooking. “They’re little flavour bombs.”

8. Got a glut of chillies? “You can grate frozen chillies direct into the pan for a spice hit.”

9. Invest in ziplock freezer bags: “You want your freezer working really hard.”

10. Repot supermarket herbs you’ve bought so that they can grow, to save splurging on bagged herbs. “Just divide them into separate plants and give them some fresh soil.”

11. Pickle and jar leftover veggies. Also, “pickling liquor can be reused, or even used in place of your usual vinegar when dressing salads”.

To find out more about Hotpoint’s food waste initiative visit freshthinking.hotpoint.co.uk.

© Press Association 2018