Of all the sauces that we waste, cook-in sauces like pasta or curry sauce; and gravy, are the most commonly wasted - normally because we make or serve too much of them, and then throw them away.
Whether it’s half a jar of tomato sauce or a couple of spoonfuls of leftover jam, it all adds up. We've compiled the following handy hints and tips to help you make the most of your favourite sauces and condiments, and keep them out of the bin.
Keep your sauces fresher for longer by getting the storage right. For leftover shop-bought sauces it’s best to follow the storage guidance on the pack or jar - in particular open jars should be stored in the fridge.
Save any nearly empty jars of jam and add some paprika, Worcestershire sauce, chilli, garlic, soy sauce or anything you like, put the lid on and shake the jar to create a marinade to add to meat.
Make your freezer your friend
Decant sauces into plastic tubs or freezer bags and freeze within the length of time indicated on the pack, for example ‘within 3 days of opening’. Don’t forget to label them too. When the time comes to use the sauce, defrost in the fridge, heat thoroughly and give it a good stir.
Ice cube trays are a great way to freeze small quantities of sauce, such as pesto, which can then be added to recipes straight from the freezer - perfect to pop into a hot pan with cooked pasta, leftover veggies and any cooked meats that need using up.
Dried herbs and spices last for years in an airtight jar or container, they’re perfectly safe to eat – they just won’t be as potent as when they were fresh.
Fresh herbs can be frozen and used in soups, sauces or curries. Crumble them and drop straight into whatever you are cooking before they defrost. It’s worth remembering that they will not be any good to use as if they were raw as once defrosted they go soggy.
Cook once eat twice
Fill up your freezer with cost-cutting homemade ready meals. When you open a jar of cooking sauce, try doubling up and making enough food for two meals. You can freeze half for another time. That way you'll have a hearty dinner at your fingertips when you’re in a hurry. Most meals will keep in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Sauces and condiments are perfect for combining with wilting veg, or with meat and fish that is rapidly approaching its use-by date.
For example, leftover gravy is great for making a quick hotpot. Put meat leftover from the Sunday roast into an oven proof dish and pour the gravy over the top; finish off with leftover sliced potatoes and you’ll have a quick meal at the ready.
Store in the fridge for up to two days and reheat thoroughly in the oven or microwave. Alternatively, gravy can be frozen in an airtight tub or bag and used at a later date as a tasty topping for sausages and mash.
If you’re struggling for inspiration when it comes to dinner, why not get creative? Leftover sauces, herbs and spices often combine to make a tasty meal or accompaniment.
Try some of our recipes to help you cook delicious meals using sauces that might otherwise have gone to waste.