Save money in your budget by finding ways to use your food scraps in the kitchen! Avoids food waste by using what you have on hand! Also learn 10 Ways to Regrow Food in Water, which gives you more food for free!
Ever wondered what to do with those beet tops? How about ways to use fruit and veggie scraps? Do you feel like you are wasting half of your food?
The more I learn about the way today’s food is grown and how the chemicals are affecting us, the more I’m determined to buy organic as much as possible. BUT, organic isn’t cheap.
That is why I don’t like to throw any kitchen scraps away. Not even my potato peels, banana peels, kale stems, broccoli stems, or my used corn cobs.
13 Ways to Use Food Scraps
1 – Herbs
The recipe called for 1/4 cup of minced cilantro but you had to buy the entire bunch, now what to do with leftover herbs? Mince leftover herbs, mix a little extra virgin olive oil with them and freeze in ice-cube trays. Instant pesto!
What Can I Do with Vegetable Scraps?
2 – Beet tops
Did you buy a bunch of red-beets and are left wondering what to do with beet tops? Cut the leaves from the stems and steam them. Beet greens are delicious steamed with a bit of added butter, salt and pepper. They’re also good in this savory pasta dish. If the greens appear to be old and tough, add them to your vegetable stock. Young beet greens are also tasty in salads.
3 – Kale
Do you like to add kale to your morning smoothies? We all know those tough outer greens are just nasty in a smoothie. Instead of tossing tough greens into the compost, dehydrate them and turn into a greens powder to add to protein shakes, sprinkle on salads, and more.
4 – Carrot tops
What do you do with carrot tops? Finely chop the leafy tops and add to rice pilaf. Sprinkle small amounts of chopped carrot tops on top of your salads. Toss some into your soups, make some more pesto, (I sometimes use this food processor) and when all else fails, add the tops to your vegetable or chicken stock.
5 – Potato peels
I buy organic potatoes which means I don’t need to peel them for most stuff. But I don’t want the peel in my mashed potatoes. What do I do with my potato peels? Use them in vegetable or chicken stock!
6 – Brown bananas
What to do with brown bananas? Use bananas in all sorts of baked goods, with banana bread muffins being a popular choice. No time to bake? Peel the bananas and freeze them and then dip into chocolate for a great summer treat.
What Can Be Made Out of Food Waste?
7 – Bottoms of Celery and Lettuce
Have you gotten to the bottom of your celery or leaf lettuce? Leave 1-2 inches and place in a bit of water. Regrow your veggies in water! You can also do it with green tail onions!
8 – Orange peels
Ever needed a use for orange peels? I sometimes dehydrate my organic orange peels to use in tea.
Also, tuff non-organic orange peels in a jar and cover with vinegar for a week to make a great smelling vinegar cleaner. I also cut my orange peels into small pieces and toss them into the garbage disposal to freshen it up a little.
9 – Pumpkins
Wondering what to do with the pumpkins that you bought for fall decor? Cook them down and turn them into pumpkin puree.
Don’t forget to toast the seeds as well!
10 – Meal plan to use all of your kitchen scraps
Just planning your meals can help cut back on extra, left-over produce.
11 – Leftovers
Are you wondering what to do with your leftovers? Having leftovers enough for just one person or only half the family is frustrating. Many times I will freeze those leftovers in single serving size containers and use them for lunches.
Growing up, Saturdays were often leftover days. We would pull out random bits of meals and heat them up for lunch, even in a larger family it worked pretty well. Another use is giving them to elderly widows and widowers in your church or community.
12 – Freeze or dehydrate your food scraps
On occasions where we are going to be gone for several days, I will prepare the fresh produce and toss it in the freezer.
Apples, mushrooms, and bananas to name just a few are great dehydrated. If you see produce reaching the end of its life and know you won’t be using it in time, freezing or dehydrating is the perfect way to keep it from waste.
13 – Make vegetable stock out of food scraps!
Finally, when all else fails, make vegetable stock. I put everything from carrot and apple peels to broccoli stalks and eggshells in mine. Unlike the bland store-bought stuff, the homemade veggie stock is rich and full-flavored. Not to mention highly nutritious!
There are many ways to reduce veggie waste in the kitchen and I hope these 13 ideas will get you started. Preserving foods is another great way to prevent waste, especially if you are growing a garden.
Can You Just Bury Food Scraps?
Why bury them when you can use food scraps for more meals using all of my favorite ways listed above? Of course, you can always compost the food scraps that you are not able to use!
More Ways to Save Money in the Kitchen
- 38 Ways to Save Money on Food Year-Round
- How to Save Money with a Pantry Challenge
- Practical Ways to Save Money on Groceries
- How to Save Time and Money with Batch Cooking
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What other creative ways do you use food scraps? Share them in the comments below!