We’re so used to chucking away anything that looks less than glossy and just-ripe, but there’s plenty of value left in most fresh produce when it’s ‘on the turn’
Waste less and save more with these ideas for using up ingredients on the turn. For more ideas, check out Sainsbury's Food Rescue site that's bursting with ideas.
1. Tomatoes on the turn
Actually, the softer and riper tomatoes become, the sweeter and juicier they are. They might not look at their best to serve fresh or cut into salads – or even in traditional sliced-bread sandwiches – but you could roast them with a little rosemary, sea salt and olive oil for a wonderful veg accompaniment or pasta sauce base.
Also, if you have a courgette in the fridge that’s starting to wrinkle, and a bit of time, you have the perfect ingredients for our homemade courgette, tomato & ricotta bread recipe. Try it – you’ll be waiting for your veg to over-mature next time!
2. Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb
This traditional fruit, available almost all year round now that you can get the forced as well as the field-grown variety, cooks down to velvety lusciousness, and if it’s been hanging around for a bit too long you can still transform it into a delicious dessert. Try the ginger & rhubarb fool recipe for an impressive end to a dinner party. It’s easy enough to serve up as a midweek supper pud, too.
3. Too many chestnuts?
So often, more chestnuts are sold than can possibly be roasted and eaten during their season – but what can you do you with the leftover ones? As long as they have been stored well (preferably in the fridge for up to three weeks) and don’t smell bitter or have any black mould on the outsides, you can still cook them up into something tasty.
Try our creamy vegetable and chestnut gratin, which will also help you use up any surplus fresh broccoli and cauliflower.
4. Surge of celery
Celery can become a bit bendy and tired if not used quite soon after buying – but cooked down, the texture and flavour lend themselves to stews and soups, so don’t chuck it out!
Celery combines really well with cheese – not only on the cheeseboard, but as a hearty soup, too. You can use any strong-flavoured hard or semi-soft cheese. Stilton is ideal for its tang – and, if you have a good dash of double cream in the fridge, try our celery soup with Stilton recipe. (You could always use soured cream or crème frâiche in place of the double cream.)
5. Profusion of pears
When pears go a bit soft, they can become hard to eat without dripping juice everywhere - but cook them into a pud and they come back into their own.
For warming, filling, comforting pudding, look no further than our spiced pear bread & butter pudding. The recipe uses red pears for their attractively coloured skins, but William or Conference would also work well.
6. Pumpkin/squash on its way out?
Those of us who carve the traditional pumpkin for Halloween, and habitually throw out all the innards, are missing out on a really tasty, hearty and healthy soup.
Using just a few ingredients you’re likely to have in your store cupboard, plus a dollop or two of crème frâiche for extra luxury at the end, you can whizz up our curried pumpkin soup with very little effort.
Use the same recipe to use up old butternut squash too, adjusting the quantities according to the weight of the squash.
7. Mediterranean veg on the turn
Peppers, courgettes, tomatoes, onions – if you have any combination of these past their best, you can cook them into a ratatouille or pasta sauce. Or, why not make them into a healthy lunchbox salad?
Our recipe for roasted vegetable and ham pasta salad takes only minutes’ preparation and the veg cook themselves slowly in the oven, caramelising a little to add extra sweetness so you won’t need any extra dressing.
8. Wrinkly peaches
Soft fruits often go from firm and unyielding to soft, wrinkly and mushy in a matter of a couple of days.
As soon as you notice your peaches starting to wrinkle or shrink a bit, don’t consign them to the bin. Try making our easy peach pudding – it literally could not be simpler. You only have to halve and stone the peaches before baking them in the oven filled with a little jam – et voilà!
Add a spoonful of crème frâiche and some crushed biscuits for a luxurious, delicious treat.