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Use up common foods before they go bad

By on February 18, 2008

photo by orangeacid
We’ve all been there. You’ve got too many bananas, mashed potatoes, eggs or zucchini, and the excess is threatening to rot in your kitchen. While some families are used to a week of turkey after Thanksgiving, they might not appreciate a week of scrambled eggs. Often, the food can be frozen and used later, but it’s wise to have a few ideas for backup meals so you don’t waste food and money.

BANANAS: Once these are overripe, you won’t want to eat them plain. Some people freeze them, but they tend to discolor and get mushy. A little lemon juice can help. You can freeze them with the peels still on, but you’ll have to thaw them before peeling. Many people prefer using them right away. Try making muffins, bread, smoothies, pancakes, cookies, pudding, frosting, cakes or simply spread it on sandwiches with peanut butter.


2 large ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 cup butter
3-1/2 cups powdered sugar

Mix together bananas and lemon juice. In a separate bowl, beat butter until soft and creamy. Gradually and alternately add powdered sugar and banana mixture to butter and beat until fluffy. — submitted by Kim S., Nebraska

MASHED POTATOES: Who hasn’t made too much mashed potatoes? You can freeze them and add them to soups as a thickener. You might not like the texture of mashed potatoes once it has been frozen. Try adding 1 egg for every 2 cups of potatoes for better results. You can make potato patties by adding an egg, shaping into patties, dredging in flour and frying them, or roll them in cornflakes, cut into small sections and fry for mock tater tots.

ZUCCHINI: This freezes well shredded or sliced. Great grilled, in casseroles, breaded and fried, or use in quick breads, muffins and cookies. Grate them and add them to your ground turkey when you make turkey burgers. It’s wonderful in scrambled eggs and dessert, too.

Zucchini Cobbler

8 cups chopped, seeded, peeled zucchini (about 3 pounds)
2/3 cups lemon juice
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3 cups flour
1 cup oats
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1-1/2 cups cold butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375 F. In a large saucepan, cook and stir zucchini and lemon juice for 15 minutes on medium heat. Stir in sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Let simmer for a minute. Remove from heat. For crust, combine flour, oats and sugars in a bowl; cut in butter until mixture resembles course crumbs. Stir 1/2 cup into zucchini mixture. Press half of remaining crust mixture into a greased 9-by-9-by-1-1/2-inch pan. Spread zucchini mixture over top; crumble remaining crust mixture over zucchini. Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg. Bake at 375 F for 35 minutes or until golden. — submitted by Jeanieb, Pennsylvania

EGGS: They can be frozen by combining 2 cups eggs to 1 teaspoon salt and later used for scrambled eggs. You can also hard-boil and make egg-salad sandwiches, deviled eggs, stuffed tomatoes or use as a salad topping. Use them up in pound cake, quiche, angel-food cake, meringue, puddings and French toast.


  1. Cricket

    2/19/2008 at 2:11 pm

    I never would have thought to freeze bananas OR eggs. I hate throwing away bananas and yet it seems like that’s what gets thrown away most often. Thanks!

  2. IntlMom

    2/19/2008 at 2:56 pm

    Zuchinni cobbler?!?!?! What a great idea. I’ve shrredded up zuchinni for breads and cakes, so why not a cobbler? I’ll be trying this come summer.
    Freezing bananas is a breeze. I throw them whole in a gallon freezer bag in my freezer, they are a great smoothie addition anytime.

  3. DixieJ

    2/19/2008 at 3:26 pm

    I am very guilty of letting bananas go bad. I’m going to remember from now on the freeze them.. I had forgotten about making potato pancakes from leftover mashed potatoes–they were one of my favorites as a kid.

  4. Amy

    2/19/2008 at 8:38 pm

    Banana muffins are an obsession with my kids. Some weeks I think they let the bananas go bad on purpose so I’ll make muffins! 🙂

  5. Marie78

    2/19/2008 at 11:06 pm

    I love to make banana pancakes out of frozen bananas. We have a bunch, so the next few Saturdays I am going to make these for breakfast. I like the Zucchini Cobbler recipe, I have a few bags of frozen shredded zucchini and I am going to make this soon, thank you for the idea.

  6. julieb

    2/20/2008 at 11:58 am

    I like to freeze bananas! I think even though they are mushy and dark they make great banana bread. It seems to give it a stronger banana taste and darker color I really enjoy.

  7. jskell911

    2/20/2008 at 9:20 pm

    I am getting so much better at finding creative ways to avoid letting foods go to waste. Thanks for the extra ideas!

  8. yankeegirl13

    2/21/2008 at 9:34 pm

    I freeze overripe bananas all the time. They are great for making banana bread and muffins.

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