Brisbane's top three most wasted foods - bread, bananas and broccoli

Bread, bananas and broccoli are the most commonly wasted foods in Brisbane, with about 17,000 tonnes sent to landfill each year.

Food waste is ultimately a result of poor planning, buying too much, and cooking too much food. When we throw away uneaten good, we are throwing away money and valuable resources. At the time it may not seem like much – two spotty bananas here, half a loaf of mouldy bread there, one forgotten broccoli at the back of your fridge – but over a year, it can cost households around $2200-3800.

Do more with bread, bananas and broccoli

Brisbane City Council is helping residents to save money and be more sustainable. Knowing where to start can feel overwhelming, but there are simple changes we can all make, starting with how we buy, store and cook bread, bananas and broccoli.

Reducing your food waste starts before you even leave home, by making a plan. Use a meal planner and remember to keep it simple to work around your lifestyles and commitments. When planning your menu, consider what you can do with the leftovers and using up what you have in your fridge, freezer and pantry by building these ingredients into your meal plan.

Bread

For many years, bread has been the number one most wasted food in Brisbane, due largely to our city's subtropical climate, which causes bread to go mouldy faster. Find information below on how you can save this item from ending up in your bin.

You might also like to read our article - Don't waste your dough with these food saving tips.

Shopping

  • Sourdough bread has a longer shelf life and is more resistant to mould than other breads. The bacteria that helps produce sourdough bread convert the linoleic acid in bread flour to a compound that has antifungal properties.
  • Some supermarkets and bakeries supply half loaves of bread. Consider buying a half loaf next time you shop.

Storage

  • Bread will go stale faster if it's stored in the fridge.
  • Depending on Brisbane's humidity, bread can be kept at room temperature for a few days.
  • The best way to keep bread fresh for longer is to store it in the freezer. Consider keeping some slices in a zip-lock bag or airtight container at room temperature for immediate use and storing the rest in the freezer.

Cooking ideas

  • Stale bread is great for making breadcrumbs, which can be frozen for future use and added to this delicious pasta bake, used to crumb chicken in this winter warming curry, or to add some crunch to this vegan mac and cheese. Check out other ways to use up leftover bread.
  • Go French with these sweet and savoury French toast recipes.
  • Did you know that you can make sandwiches from frozen bread? They will defrost by lunchtime, and your filling will be kept cool.

Bananas

Like bread, bananas ripen a lot faster in Brisbane's humid climate. Find out how you can get more out of this popular fruit.

You might also like to read our blog - Four ways banana peels can help your plants.

Shopping

  • Before you put bananas in your trolley, ask yourself 'why are you buying them'? Is it out of habit? Is your household really eating them? Do you need an entire bunch?
  • Choose bananas at different stages of ripeness, so they do not all ripen at once.
  • Where possible, don't buy a week's worth of bananas in one shop. Shop again if you need more bananas.

Storage

  • Store bananas on the bench away from other fruit and let them ripen at room temperature.
  • Once ripe, you can store bananas in the fridge. The skin will turn black, but they will still be fine to eat.
  • Wrap the stem of your banana or bunch of bananas with aluminium foil, plastic, or beeswax wraps. This method prevents a natural chemical gas called ethylene, produced during the ripening process, from reaching the other parts of the fruit and slows down the ripening process.
  • Peel, cut and freeze ripe bananas in a zip lock bag or airtight container to use in smoothies, baking, or ice-cream

Cooking ideas

Broccoli

Like many vegetables, broccoli is purchased with good intentions, but often gets forgotten and lost in the back of the fridge or the bottom of the crisper. Whether you prefer traditional broccoli, broccolini, or baby broccolini, you'll find broccoli saving ideas below.

Shopping

  • Have more than one way to use broccoli in your meal plan for the week. You might include a side of steamed broccoli when meal prepping lunches, or a side of broccolini with a meal. Don't just throw broccoli in your trolley without a plan to use it.

Storage

  • The best place for broccoli is in your fridge in high humidity. You can do this by placing broccoli in an airtight container, or a sealed bag with some water, or by storing it in your crisper drawer with the vent closed to create high humidity. Broccoli should be stored with other foods that 'wilt' like carrots, lettuce and other leafy greens.
  • If you don't get around to using your broccoli within a week of buying it, you can store it in the freezer by cutting it up, blanching it, and placing it in a sealed container or bag.

Cooking ideas

  • Did you know that broccoli can be eaten raw and is great in a salad? Don't forget about the stalks, which are full of fibre and can be used in all types of cooking from soups to fritters.
  • Cooked broccoli can be blitzed with milk and used as a creamy sauce for fish or chicken. It's perfect for winter warmers like this puff pastry-topped vegetable pie, or this soup.
  • Keep it simple with this stir fry, or these noodles or pasta.

Related links

Date posted:
Last updated: 2 June 2021
Topics: green