Back of the fridge: what to do with the foods you always end up chucking

We all have fridge bĂȘtes noires - the foods we buy enthusiastically, then bin a week later when they look ready to walk off the shelves. We asked Mumsnetters to share their worst examples - take a look at the repeat offenders, and try our handy recipes to use them up


1. Courgettes
courgette fritters

"I've been meaning to make a courgette ribbon pasta thing for the last, ooooh, six weeks, and have bought courgettes every week while out shopping, only to throw them away as I keep forgetting they exist as soon as they go into the fridge."

Why not try...?

Spicy courgette fritters

"Jerk seasoning is usually used to spice up chicken or meat, but it livens up these fritters nicely."

Courgette and bacon slices

"Very quick and easy to make, and make a change to sandwiches in the lunch box."

2. Bags of salad
spinach risotto

"Always bought with such good intentions..."

Why not try...?

Lettuce and pea risotto

"Delicious! Really full of flavour and a great way of using up lettuce."

Rocket pesto pasta

"An easy, summery recipe that kids can help with."

Quick spinach risotto

"A quick, healthy family favourite." 


3. Yoghurt
yoghurt cake

"Even though they're good bacteria I throw them away at even a couple of days over the use by date."

Why not try...?

Easy yoghurt cake 

"I have made this a dozen or more times and it has never failed me."

Yoghurt roast chicken

"The yogurt not only makes a delicious roasted skin, but also keeps more moisture in than any other roasting method I know."


4. Cucumbers


"I buy a cucumber every week. I throw away a cucumber every week. No idea why I continue to buy cucumbers on a weekly basis but I'm sure I'll be throwing out another one next week."

Why not try...?


"This is a great success with children and adults alike! easy and fun for kids to help make and great for their packed lunches too."

Cucumber mousse

"Delicious, and always well received starter, but very easy to make."


5. Cream cheese
garlic mushrooms

"Occasionally use a bit in cooking, then the rest grows a lovely layer of green mould over it."


Why not try...?

Garlic bread and cream cheese stuffed mushrooms

"Tried this - tasted good!"

Cream cheese pancakes

"A handy breakfast recipe to use up cream cheese."

6. Coleslaw

"Never gets finished off. Need mini tubs."

Why not try...?

Lamb tacos 

"Use coleslaw as a shortcut when filling taco shells."


7. Avocados
mango salad

"The biggest culprit in our home - they're literally hard as ice at 11:00, then at 11:01 they'e all mushy and damaged, caving in on the sides" 

Why not try...?

Chicken and avocado stroganoff

Mango and avocado salad

"Nice with BBQ meats."


8. Creme fraiche
mackerel pate

"It has so many uses, but I fail time and time again to investigate them."

Why not try...?

Chicken with tomatoes and creme fraiche

Smoked mackerel pate

"Sprinkle finely chopped parsley over the surface and serve with melba toast for retro fabulousness."


9. Fresh herbs
lentil salad

"I seem to end up throwing out part-used packs ... I need to get more organised and freeze them before they go all limp and icky."

Why not try...?

Red lentil and coriander salad

"A great salad for BBQs."

Breadcrumb parsley omelette

"Lots of filling is better then less."

Cottage cheese and chive pie

"Filling and satisfying: the kids love it."


10. Mushrooms
cheese and mushroom bake

"We love them, so we buy them; our son hates them so we have to use them with caution. We're not very good at managing this. Hence, frost-burned shrivelled mushrooms lurking in the fridge."

Why not try...?

Mushroom pilau rice

"Pretty close to - if not the same as - Indian restaurants' 'Mushroom Pilao Rice' dish." 

Cheesy leek and mushoom bake

"Quick to prepare and very nutritious!"


11. Cream
onion tart

"If I buy cream for a dish, half usually gets chucked in the bin."

Why not try...?

Onion cream tart

"Don't stay in the house with one of these on your own. Totally impossible to stop at one slice."

Braised creamy cabbage



But if there's one thing that never ends up getting chucked away....

wine being opened

"Never wine. Never ever wine."


Tips for using up leftovers

frozen lemon 

"I slice and freeze lemons when I buy them. They can be used in cold drinks from frozen and can be defrosted in the microwave if lemon juice is required."

"My other half is really good at planning meals to make sure everything gets used."

"Carrots and celery do last really well in the fridge, but if they're beginning to look limp, I dice them and freeze to use as a sofritto base with onion when making soup, casserole or whatever."

"I am happy to bake lots and any fruit or veg that remains can be turned into cake or bread."



Last updated: over 3 years ago