Tired of throwing away perfectly good kitchen scraps? Maybe you need a teaspoon of fresh cilantro – so you buy a whole bunch, only to see the rest of it wilt away in your refrigerator. Or at the end of prepping a meal, you’ve got a pile of odds and ends on your countertop.
Instead of tossing your kitchen scraps into the trash or even your compost, here are nine clever ways to use scraps, leftovers, and unused food.
#1 – Add kitchen scraps to homemade bone broth and stocks
Homemade bone broth is one of the most nourishing foods you can consume. If you have veggie scraps, save them in a freezer bag and pull them out when you make your broth. Save stems from fresh herbs. And keep parmesan rinds for an extra kick of umami.
This applies to bones too. Stow them away in their own freezer bag for use later on.
#2 – Repurpose scraps for use in other recipes
Give purpose to what you would normally throw into the trash. For example, turn leftover carrot pulp from juicing into carrot muffins. Transform browned bananas into banana upside down cake or banana coco-nut bars.
Stale bread is perfect for homemade bread pudding or as a breading for fried chicken and Maryland crab cakes. Same rules for stale, leftover chips and crackers.
#3 – Create new recipes with your peels
Sometimes a pile of scraps requires a bit of creativity. Try making an assortment of “chips” with your peels. For example, fry up potato peels in some coconut oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Or roast apple peels tossed in cinnamon and sugar with a little butter.
#4 – Freeze what you don’t use
If you have more fresh herbs than you need (like basil, parsley, cilantro), place them in ice cube trays and fill with olive oil. Then freeze so that you have fresh herbs to use later. You can also use your ice cube trays to freeze leftover broth and sauces for future dishes.
#5 – Grow a garden
If you have enough room and determination, you can replant certain foods and grow your own produce. If you’re limited in space, some vegetables will grow in a small cup of water.
Fruits and veggies that take well to regrowth include potatoes, onion, celery, and turnips.
#6 – Crush your eggshells
Rinse and crush eggshells that are otherwise headed to the trash. Around fall or early spring, sprinkle your crushed eggshell around plants as a calcium-rich fertilizer and pest deterrent.
You can also use leftover eggshells to make an edible eggshell calcium powder.
#7 – Plan one or two meals to use up your leftovers
With a little meal planning, you can arrange to make extra and use up leftovers later in the week. This frees up your time and takes the guesswork work out of what to make for dinner.
Be sure to set a reminder for yourself to take the food out of the freezer the night before so it can thaw. Then, reheat for a quick and delicious meal.
#8 – Pickle your scraps
#9 – Make jams, drinks, and vinegar
Apple cores, strawberry tops, and fruit peels can all be used to make jam. The same goes for fruity teas and fruit infused water. You can also use peels, cores, bruised and freezer-burned fruit to make fruit vinegar.
How do you use your kitchen scraps, leftovers, and unused food? Let us know in the comment below!
Lydia is a Nutritional Therapist and a single mom of four fabulous boys, on a mission to share her passion for whole, healthy, real foods with the world! She enjoys living life one day at a time, from the inside out. Lydia blogs over at Divine Health From The Inside Out.