• Salt-preserved citrus skins (Murdoch Books / Alan Benson)Source: Murdoch Books / Alan Benson
One person's trash is another person's Tuesday night meal—here's how to make it yours. #ZeroWasteWeek
4 Sep 2018 - 11:58 AM  UPDATED 20 Mar 2020 - 2:45 PM

Use the tops and leaves

Carrot top pesto

If you grow carrots, or are lucky enough to buy them with the tops still intact, then you should treasure these frilly fronds: they're a natural substitute for parsley, with a similar bitter-green and sweet herbaceous flavour, so work perfectly in a pesto. 

Turnip top and goat’s cheese frittata

When topping omelettes, tarts and frittatas, think beyond using regular herbs and try using vegetable tops from beetroot, carrots, radish and celery. Instead of using basil or thyme on this goat's cheese frittata, chef Matthew Evens throws on some torn turnip tops.  

Pumpkin leaves

Anyone who grows pumpkin knows they can grow rampantly, quickly turning your backyard into a pumpkin patch. You probably know you can dry and roast the seeds for a snack, and roast the peel into chips, but did you know you can also use the leaves for a tasty side dish? The leaves are cut finely and wilted in oil like any other greens. If you don't have pumpkin growing and want to try this dish (as well as help someone else keep their patch under control), ask your local greengrocer or supplier at the farmers market to source you some. 

Don't want to end up with a pile of leftovers tossed in the bin? Read this.
The vast majority of Australians throw about a quarter of their food in the bin at this time of year. Find out how we can eliminate food waste for good.

Preserve the peel

Salt-preserved citrus skins

You can use these skins whenever a recipe calls for preserved lemons or citrus peel, such as in tagines, marinades, and dressings (more ideas here). They're used widely in Middle-Eastern and Meditteranean cooking, so very good to have on-hand. 

Candied citrus zest

This sweet version of preserved citrus zest could be used for an elegant garnish for cakes, sliced and added to cookies and muffins, mixed through homemade ice-cream before freezing, or dipped in chocolate for a simple and stylish dessert with coffee.

Pickle produce in excess, or on the verge of turning bad

Roasted pickled eggplant

Overdone the quantities of your roasted veggies at dinner? No problem, you can pickle them. 

Roasted pickled eggplant

Pickled red grapes

Intrigued? You should be! Pickled grapes are super to make, and the ingredient you never knew your salad/ pasta/ roast vegetable side dish was missing.

Roadside quick pickled veggies

This pickle is as simple as (1) place cut veggies into a jar, (2) mix together pickle brine, (3) pour brine over vegetables.

6 genius ways to use up your leftovers
The clever waste warriors from Cornersmith share recipes and tips for cutting waste and saving money.

Find new uses for bones, gristle and offcuts 

Salmon pâté

Typical salmon bin ends like belly and tails get turned into a dish fit for champagne and canapes. 

Fish head curry (gulai kepala ikan)

The fish head is nothing to fear—or throw out. It's full of meat (particularly in the cheeks), and larger ones are enough to feed several as a main dish with some sides and steamed rice.


Stock is one of the best ways to use up vegetable scraps and meat offcuts and bones. If you don't have the time to do it immediately, throw the bones, vegetables etc. that you plan to use for the stock into the freezer for the next rainy stock-making day. Try a chicken stock, fish stock, or vegetable stock.

Get creative

Veggie scrap crackers

These crackers literally use the scraps that you may not have ever thought could get a second chance—juicer scraps. If you don't own a juicer, you can grate any leftover vegetables that need using. 

No-waste ice cubes

Being resourceful sure can look pretty. 

Get resourceful
Preserved eggplant

This eggplant recipe is gold. Easy and delicious and well worth a try at the end of summer when eggplant is plentiful and cheap.

Quick kitchen-scrap pickle

Quick pickling is a great way to use up any vegetables in the fridge at the end of the week, as well as those leftover vegie stems – cauliflower, beetroot, broccoli and kale stems all make really delicious pickles!

Pink pickled eggs

In this recipe, you can make a brine or use the brine from another preserve to lightly pickle your eggs. 

Cheat’s preserved lemons (or limes, or oranges …)

This is an instant version of preserved lemons I discovered in Anna Hansen’s The Modern Pantry cookbook and it’s a brilliant way of getting that potent, salty burst of citrus into dishes when you haven’t homemade preserved lemons to hand or you don’t want to shell out for the generally substandard and ridiculously expensive bought variety. And actually, I find this version brighter and more versatile – the juice is salty, but not overly so, and has an intense, citrusy flavour which makes it ideal in dressings or just drizzled over some fish or chicken to brighten it up. 

Spiced persimmon jam

If every season had a matching jam, then autumn’s would be this one. Mix the pulp of ripe persimmons, star anise, cinnamon, brown sugar (and lemon to thicken) and voila: an exotic jam so tasty it will become a seasonal tradition in your house too.