Getting the most from your produce is good for the planet and your purse.

Whether it’s storing them or eating them, these EcoMaxHacks will make sure you get the best value and longest life out of the produce you buy.

A for Avocados

You’ve finished your smashed avocado for breakfast… but if you haven’t used the whole fruit, what’s the best way to keep it fresh?

#EcoMaxHack – Don’t cut your avocados length ways. If you cut the tip off, there is less area to oxidise and go black. Scoop out what you need, put a quick squirt of lemon or lime over what is left, then pop it upside down inside a glass in the fridge.

There’s only unripe Avocados available and I need to use one now!

#EcoMaxHack – Avocados are picked unripe, strange, but true! Don’t despair, there is a super quick way to ripen them. Bananas give off a gas that speeds up the ripening, so put some in your fruit bowl with your avos and enjoy them sooner rather than later!

When Avocados are in season they are super cheap to buy… What’s the best way to store them so they won’t spoil?

#EcoMaxHack –  Don’t stress. Buy them unripe if you can and once they become ripe keep them in the fridge instead of on your kitchen counter and they will live for longer.

B for Basil

Oh how we have missed it! If you are like me you have been waiting eagerly for Spring so you can go back to having beautiful basil on everything… but what is the best way to store it?

#EcoMaxHack – Pop it in a glass of water and keep it on your kitchen bench, if you keep it out of the way of direct sunlight your Basil will stay alive and fresh for weeks! Over time the roots will grow and you can even plant it! Whatever you do, don’t put it in the fridge though – You will just end up with a soggy wasted mess!

C for Chilli

Chillies are SO easy to grow on your own, but they tend to all pop up at the same time and then you have a glut of them.

#EcoMaxHack –  Pop them in the freezer straight from the garden, save on plastics as you don’t even need to bag them. Chillies are much easier to chop when frozen and they will last for years, so you will always have a little fire in your freezer.

C for Cucumber

Summer is a time for salads and loads of healthy crunch, but are you getting all the benefits?

#EcoMaxHack – The dark green skin on Cucumbers contains the majority of its insoluble fibre, potassium and most of its vitamin K …so keep the skin on! But if you have to take it off, peel it in thin ribbons and use it as a pretty garnish on your salad.

D for Dill

The perfect compliment to fish and a glass of white wine and doesn’t that combo just scream Summer!  But once you’ve cooked up your storm,  you’ll usually have some herbs left over.

#EcoMaxHack – Dampen a tea towel and gently roll your bunch of dill inside of it, then store in the fridge and it will last for about 2 weeks. To keep it longer, chop the herbs up and place them in an ice cube tray with a little butter or oil, store in the freezer and use as and when you are cooking again.

E for Egg Shell

Throwing out egg shells is such a waste when there are so many clever uses for them!

#EcoMaxHack – Sprinkle broken shells around your baby veggie plants, this will stop snails and slugs destroying them because they don’t like crawling over their sharp edges.

Feed me Seymour… and watch your tomatoes grow!

#EcoMaxHack – Egg shells contain calcium, which tomatoes absolutely love. So when planting, put some shell in the hole and get a great calcium boost for your baby tomatoes, which will also help to combat blossom-end root.

Can’t clean the bottom of your tiny or odd shaped bottles…? Never fear, egg shell is here!

#EcoMaxHack – Egg shells are great for this! Just break them up, add some water and shake, rest for a little while then shake again. The tiny pieces will get into those hard to clean areas.

F for Figs

Warm summer Sundays with, friends, figs and cheese…a match made in heaven. But I can only buy them at the farmers market on Friday and they spoil so quickly – what can I do?!

#EcoMaxHack – Figs are about 80% water, so they can easily go mouldy. Store each one upright in an egg carton, nestled in its own cup and pop into the fridge. You can also freeze figs for up to a year in an airtight bag or container and surprise your friends by using them in winter!!

G for Garlic

Garlic is nature’s gift, warding off disease and making everything taste better. But remember, that all imported garlic has to be fumigated to enter Australia, so try and buy organic when you can.

#EcoMaxHack – Garlic lives longer when stored at around 20 degrees and in moderate humidity, so keeping it an upturned unglazed clay pot is perfect. Before it goes out of season, peel, mince and spread onto silicon sheet then freeze. Once it is frozen, break into smaller pieces and store it in an airtight container in the freezer. Garlic all year round!!!

#EcoMaxHack – The fastest way to peel garlic, ever!!! Place in jar , screw lid on and shake. Hey presto…job done. 

H for Honey

Skip buying pasteurized honey and go for the raw stuff. Pasteurizing a product means that it has been exposed to heat to kill off microorganisms and bacteria. However, that can also kill off the natural enzymes and cultures in honey which are so beneficial. Honey is so high in sugar naturally that it can never go bad, so get the raw, unprocessed kind instead.

#EcoMaxHack – Honey can actually be used as an antiseptic. It is packed with antimicrobial properties and can be used to treat cuts and even burns. Hospitals are even using it for antibiotic resistant bugs. It really is nature’s super hero!

#EcoMaxHack – lip balm is so easy to make you will wonder why you haven’t done it before. Simply mix some almond oil, beeswax and honey in a little pot and there you have it. Sweet simplicity.

I for Iceberg Lettuce

Iceburg Lettuce a summer favourite and the basis for all salads. Crisp cool and delicious.

#EcoMaxHack  Keep lettuce for longer by taking out the heart and storing in a dry cloth bag. If you wash it before you store, make sure you let the lettuce dry completely. Although it is easier to rinse the leaves just before using them, then shake them dry wrapped in a cotton tea towel.

J for Jelly and Jam

what better way to preserve your excess produce and its so simple to make!
So when life gives you too much mint, make mint jelly!

#EcoMaxHack – just add 2 cups of chopped fresh mint with ½ cup water, ½ a cup sugar and 4 cups of apple juice and boil gently till the sugar dissolves. Pour through a fine sieve or cloth into hot sterilized jars. For a touch of warmth add minced jalapenos or two while boiling.

Leftovers are a main source of waste. But this hack will have you hoping you have some leftovers so you can make this cheats Jam & Stale Sourdough.

#EcoMaxHack mix 1 egg with milk, vanilla and a little sugar. Drop a slice or two of stale bread into the liquid to soak it all up. In a small saucepan add your left over berries; strawberries, blueberries or any berries you have to hand with a dash of water. Stir over a low heat till they start to get soft and squishy. You can add a little sugar or honey to sweeten if you like.
For an extra flavour boost add some sweeter alcohol, champagne, rose, port or a liqueur that you might have lying around.  Heat a pan with some butter and brown your bread on both sides. Serve with the Jam, cream, ice cream or yogurt if you want. Yum!

K for Kiwi Fruit

Fruit salad and summer  are the best of friends… but are you getting your full does of vitamin C?

#EcoMaxHack Kiwi Fruit skin contains more flavonoids, antioxidants and vitamin C than the flesh and has double the fibre…  it is super easy to scrub off the little hairs and get enjoy all the good bits, while wasting less and being healthier at the same time!

L for Lemons

There are literally loads of uses for lemons and they are packed with vitamin C so they are very handy to have all year round.

#EcoMaxHack – When Lemons are in season they are cheap and plentiful, so squeeze and freeze them into ice cube trays, then tip into a container for later.

Lemons just add so much zing to dishes but how can I store them to use later you ask? ( VIDEO )

#EcoMaxHack  –First wash then dry whole lemons. Cut a cross in the top down to about 2/3rd of the lemon, push rock salt into these cuts and pack tightly into a jar. After a few days the juice will start to come out of the lemon and gradually fill the jar. Add a little extra juice to cover if you need to and then store in the fridge. The long you store then the softer the lemon gets and so delicious.

Whatever you do  don’t throw away your lemon peels!  With this hack you will never need to rinse aid in your dish washer again.

#EcoMaxHack – Simply add the left over peel to your dishwasher pop it under a cup or stab it onto one of the prongs. The acids in the peel will remove the soap residue. Glasses will sparkle and your plates will be squeaky clean.

M for Mushrooms

the meaty vegetable! So delicious raw or cooked with a little thyme, but how can you keep them from turning into a science experiment..?

#EcoMaxHack – Mushrooms need air circulation, so keep them in a cloth or paper bag, doing so will also absorb any excess moisture. Store the bag in the main part of your fridge and not in the crisper. Also don’t wash your mushies, just give them a brush with the soft edges of our Eco Max Tiger Veggie brush to remove any dirt before cooking.

M for Mint

It promotes digestion and can help settle an upset tummy as well as being refreshing and oh so easy to grow.

#EcoMaxHack – Minty ice cubes are the perfect addition to cold teas and are a refreshing change in water for summer. Simply pick mint leaves and freeze them with water in an ice cube tray! it looks impressive when entertaining and tastes great too!

Green is a calming colour and mint lives up to its hue. Mint soothes and calms itchy and infected skin. It has potent anti- inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties which work wonders on acne prone skin.

#EcoMaxHack – Try making a Minty Toner, it is so simple yet so effective. Combine a cup of fresh mint leaves with ¾ of cup of boiling water and ¼ of a cup of apple vinegar, cover and allow it to cool. Stain through some fine cotton muslin into a spray bottle and keep in the fridge. Use as a toner after cleansing or as a mist to keep cool.

N for Nasturtiums

They come in many shades of orange and yellow, are easy to grow, edible and you can even use them to reduce the symptoms of hay-fever!

#EcoMaxHack – Try a bit of local street foraging if you haven’t got them growing at home. Scatter the leaves and flowers for a pretty as a picture salad. With slight a peppery flavour, they will also give you an added hit of Vitamin A and C as well as carotene.

O for Onions 

Onions and barbecuing go together like sausages and tomato sauce – but did you know that they also work together as a cleaner? So don’t throw out that left over nub of onion!

#EcoMaxHack – The guests are arriving and the BBQ is dirty, enter onion to the rescue. You don’t need nasty chemicals, simply turn the grill to high and rub it down with half an onion. The moisture and natural antiseptic qualities of the onion will have it clean in no time. It also adds a nice flavour to the food your about to cook.

P for Potatoes

Still peeling your potatoes?… if you are you are missing out on lots of good stuff.

#EcoMaxHack – Potato skins are loaded with antioxidants and contain most of the vegetables vitamins and minerals … so become a scrubber and give one of our Eco Max Veggie brushes a go. Better for you and the planet.

Q for Quick tip!

Mother in laws have unfairly been given a bad rap, but this is one you will want to have around all the time!

#EcoMaxHack – Get some pot plants in your life! Sansevieria more commonly known as “mother in laws tongue” is the ideal office guest. It is a superb air purifier. Studies have consistently shown the plant to remove toxins such as formaldehyde, xylene, toluene, and nitrogen oxides which are commonly found in office spaces. And it’s almost impossible to kill, even if you don’t have a green thumb. All it needs is a bit of sunlight and the occasional drink of water. So get potting.

A Mother in laws tongue in your bedroom is the best!

#EcoMaxHack – Sorry for that image, but out of all the different oxygen producing plants,  Sansevieria or “mother in laws tongue” is unique as it converts a lot of CO2 (carbon dioxide) to O2 (oxygen) at night. With 6-8 plants per person you could survive in a completely air sealed room. So its about time you started sleeping with a mother in laws tongue. 

R for Radish

Waste not, want not, that’s what they say. So why throw it away, when you can use the lot.

#EcoMaxHack –  A little known fact, you can eat the leaves of Radishes. So why not try this easy Radish Leaf Pesto. Simply add 2-3 cups of radish leaves, 2 garlic cloves, 2 tablespoons olive oil and lemon into a food processor. Blend to a thick paste, add more oil if necessary. Then add 1 teaspoon sugar, 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese and 2 tablespoons pine nuts, salt and pepper to taste and hey presto…Radish leaf pesto!

S for Spring Onions

You need 2 for the recipe but they come in a great big bunch…what do I do with the rest?

#EcoMaxHack – Don’t put your Spring Onions in the fridge to wilt…plant them! A small pot on the window sill with your spring onion is not only pretty to look at but you will also have some to hand whenever your heart desires…

T for Tomatoes

Bring LaTomatina to your living room and try using Tomatoes on your skin.

#EcoMaxHack – the acids in tomato juice are awesome at cleaning and softening skin, while the lycopene helps eliminate free radicals.

For oily skin: mix equal parts fresh tomato juice and aloe vera juice.
For dry skin: use a ratio of 1 part tomato juice to 2 parts aloe vera juice.
Rub the mixture into your face, rinse with warm water and admire that rosy glow.


U for Ugly Vegetables

More fun by far and a great talking point…

#EcoMaxHack – Buy the odd shaped fruit and veg! It tastes exactly the same and doing so helps farmers and shows that you care about the resources used to grow your produce, plus they are often cheaper than their pretty counterparts. So start showing your unbiased love to all shapes and sizes.

V for Vanilla

Did you know Vanilla beans are actually the seeds of an orchid? They are also so much more than a sweet flavouring

#EcoMaxHack –  Something smelly in the fridge? find and discard the culprit, then wipe the fridge out with a few drops of vanilla on a damp cloth. Sweet smelling and naturally anti-bacterial.

Vanilla is rich in antioxidants making it a wonderful ingredient in this reviving, antibacterial face mask to help to combat pimples.

#EcoMaxHack – Combine the juice of 1 lemon with the seeds of 5 vanilla beans (cut lengthwise and scrape out seeds with a spoon), 3 tablespoons brown sugar and 3 drops of vanilla essential oil.  Mix well. Apply your Vanilla face scrub, avoiding your eyes and massage in a circular motion for a few minutes. Rinse with warm water, then splash with cold water to close your pores.

Have leftover pods? Don’t throw them away!  put them into a jar of sugar to add a beautiful vanilla flavour.

#EcoMaxHack – Combine 2 ounces vanilla extract and 2 ounces water in a small spray bottle; spritz onto your exposed skin. Bye-bye, bug bites.

W for Watermelon

They are summer summed up in a fruit, the bright sunny colour, the delicious flavour and the coolness of the flesh – but how else can you enjoy wonderful watermelon.

#EcoMaxHack – Make Watermelon ice cubes! Use a melon scoop for round balls of watermelon or simply cube it, freeze and you have the perfect summer ice cube for drinks. A great way to use up the last of your watermelon.

W for Watercress

the real superfood! Watercress contains more iron than spinach, more calcium than milk, more vitamin C than oranges and 106% of your daily dose of vitamin K. Now if that’s not a superfood what is?

#EcoMaxHack – It works so well in a salad, try it with radish, pears, blue cheese, walnuts, avocado and fresh peas. Got some leftover,  then you should try my all time favourite watercress yogurt dressing…mix chopped watercress, yogurt, lemon juice, a little olive oil, some mustard and pepper and salt. Perfect on fish, chicken, lamb or a salad.

X for (e)Xcited

(sorry, we tried!)

Its hard not to get (e)xcited about the possibilites when reducing waste
#EcoMaxHack – Keep the conversation going. Tell us your favourite ideas for reducing waste. Let’s share and learn from each other for a more sustainable life.

Y for Yams

Often confused for sweet potatoes, they are actually different and are a great source of fibre and packed with Vitamin C and potassium.

#EcoMaxHack – Yams can discolour when you peel them. It’s the enzymes in Yams that react with oxygen causing browning. So have some warm salted water ready to put them in as soon as they are peeled. Why warm water and salt? Oxygen dissolves in water and the amount of dissolved oxygen that the water can hold depends on the temperature and salinity of the water.

Z for Zucchinis

Hide the greens from the kids,  so they can’t avoid all that good stuff. This hack is for the fussy eaters in the house.

#EcoMaxHack – Its no news that Children love spaghetti bolognaise, so add some grated zucchini to it and trick them into having some extra vegetables they won’t even notice, plus it really gives a richer depth of flavour to an old favourite.

Do you have any zero waste hacks, facts and storage idea? We would love to hear them! You can let us know over on our Facebook Page, because sharing is caring and a matter of ImportAnts.