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Use vegetables before it's too late

Updated on November 16, 2014

Open your fridge and think: how am I going to use all those fruits and vegetables before they rot?

Here's my answer....

I quite often open the fridge and think I have only a couple of days to use up the vegetables in there but what to do with them?

I hate wasting food, firstly because as my nana use to say, it's a sin, and secondly because I don't have a lot of money and food has to go a long way in my household!

I've got a few easy recipes in this article to use or conserve your vegetables for later use.

Hope you enjoy it!


Easy tomato chutney

A easy way to use up your tomatoes before they rot is to make some chutney. It's easy to make and will last for a couple of months.

Here's a simple recipe for tomato chutney:

1 red onion (finely chopped)

tomatoes ( about half a kg - chopped)

2 garlic cloves

fresh red chilli (as much or as little as you like)

about 1 teaspoon of ginger, but again depends on taste

sugar 100g

120 ml of wine vinegar

a couple of cardamon pods

sprinkle of paprika

Put all the ingredients in a heavy duty cast iron pot and bring to the boil. Simmer gently for about 1 hour. Boil vigorously for the last few minutes, stirring the mixture which should look "gooey" and dark. Transfer into sterilized containers when still hot and secure caps. Wait until cool and store in the fridge for up to two months.

Great with cheese, dip for celery, tortilla chips etc..... but I also use it as relish for roast meat (any!)

The picture on the side is one I made last week. I used a "recycled" jar and spruce it up with some material!!!

Italian style passata

If I have a lot or ripe tomatoes I make a passata to use with pasta.

First of all blanch the tomatoes until the skin comes loose. When cool remove all the skin and chop.

Finely chop one onion, a couple of celery stalks, 1 carrot and some basil. Quickly fry them in a cast iron pot and add the tomatoes. Add 1 teaspoon of sugar and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Cook for about 3 hours.

When still hot transfer into a sterile jar and keep in the fridge. I tend to use mine within a week but if you want to keep it for later date it can be frozen.

You can use passata as it is, or brown some mince and add the sauce, cook for 10 minutes and you have an instant bolognese for your pasta.


Apples, pears and mango

The above recipe for chutneys can of course be used with fruits such as apples, pears and, my favorite, mango.

Just replace the tomatoes with your chosen fruit and follow the chutney recipe.

Peppers and aubergines

If I have to use a large amount of peppers before they rot I roast them and preserve them.

Here's how I do it:

Roast the peppers under a hot grill until the skin is black and ready to peel off.

Wait until the peppers have cooled down and peel the skin off.

Slice the peppers and put in a sterile jar. Cover with olive oil and add a pinch of chilli powder and dry oregano.

The same can be done with aubergines. Slice them, grill the slices and preserve like the peppers.

Enjoy as a starter or snack!!!!


When I have a lot of onions to use quickly I pickle them. Pickled onions last ages but I tend to use mine up within 6 months.

Here's how I do it

For every 1Kg of onions you'll need:

1 pint of olive oil

1 pint white wine vinegar

1 tbsp salt

1 tbsp sugar

4 cloves

1 chilli pepper (chopped)

Put all the ingredients in a pan. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Separate the liquid from the solids and leave to cool down. When cold reunite the ingredients and put in a sterile jar.

Pickled onions don't need to be kept in the fridge. They will last months in you kitchen cupboard.

Canning Jars

You could use old jars but if I give my chutneys and preserves as presents I like to add a little special touch by using new jars!


Celery can of course be enjoyed as a lovely snack with some dips (or my tomato chutney....) but if I have to use it fast and have quite a bit I use it as a side dish that my kids absolutely adore:

I fry them!

Chop each stick into 3-4 inch chunks. Beat an egg and put celery in eggs and then breadcrumbs. Fry quickly, season and serve!


When bananas go a bit mushy and black I use them to make a banana cake.

Here's a simple recipe for banana cake:

3 oz margarine

4 oz sugar

1 egg

1 large or 2 small ripe bananas

6 oz wholemeal flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

Mix all together in a bowl, transfer in an baking tin and cook at medium temperature (about 180C) for about 1 hour.

Baking with fruits

This is a great book with fab recipes using all kind of fruits!

Have you got recipes to use up veggies quick? - Please share them here

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    • winter aconite profile image

      winter aconite 4 years ago

      @Gayle Dowell: That's a good idea, I wasn't sure whether bananas would keep in the freezer. Good to know! Thanks!

    • Gayle Dowell profile image

      Gayle Dowell 4 years ago from Kansas

      Great ideas. I usually put my overripe bananas straight in the freezer peeling and all then thaw out as needed for banana bread. Will try your banana cake recipe.

    • winter aconite profile image

      winter aconite 4 years ago

      @Dusty2 LM: I agree completely with you. I personally love soups, stews etc but my children are quite fussy. They love frittata and I tend to make it with zucchini and leeks. Agree, planning would prevent a lot of waste but although I've tried I just don't seem to be able to stick with the original plans. Thanks for your comment and stopping by!

    • Dusty2 LM profile image

      Dusty2 LM 4 years ago

      There is a whole array of things you can use veggies for before they go bad. You just have to be a little imaginative is all. Just because it is Spring or Summer doesn't mean you can't enjoy veggie soups or stews; stir fries, frittatas, quiches, etc. is other delicious ways of using veggies. So you see; just be creative and you can use veggies before they go bad. Another good way is plan out menus ahead of time and buy veggies just for a few nite dinners or meals because the extras will go to waste as well as the money spent. Hope this helps. Thank You for stopping by my Easy Frittata with Fresh Spring Vegetables lens and giving it a "thumbs up" as I really appreciate it. Bon Appetit!

    • Magda2012 profile image

      Magda2012 4 years ago

      the tomato chutney recipe is great. I should try it.

    • lisln profile image

      LorLinda 4 years ago from Denver Colorado

      I have the habit of not using the vegetable to often and yup it is to late. This is a great lens with lots of useful information thank you for sharing it.