Ever wondered what to do with those beet tops? How about ways to use fruit and veggie peels? 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. Even after pulling out all my “buy organic cheap” tricks, organic can still be costly.
That is why I don’t like to throw any of it away. Not even my potato peels.
13 Ways to Use Food Scraps
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 olive oil with them and freeze in ice-cube trays. Instant Pesto!
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 veggie stock. Young beet greens are also tasty in salads.
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 your salads. Toss some into your soups, make some more pesto, and when all else fails, add the tops to your veggie 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 peel in my mashed potatoes. What do I do with my potato peels? Turn them into a delicious snack, by making baked potato peels.
6. Brown bananas
What to do with brown bananas? Use bananas in all sorts of baked goods, with banana bread being a popular choice. No time to bake? Peel the bananas and freeze them and then dip into chocolate for a great summer treat.
7. Bottoms of Celery and Lettuce
Get 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! I’ve also heard of doing this with ginger root but hadn’t ever had any luck with it.
8. Orange peels
Ever needed a use for orange peels? I dehydrate my organic orange peels for use in my amazing homemade chai tea recipe.
Stuff 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.
Wondering what do to with 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 take them for my 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.
Don’t forget to toast the seeds as well!
11. Meal Plan
Just planning your meals can help cut back on extra, left-over produce.
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.
Note from Tiffany: Kendra has written a book on preservation that is IDEAL if you’re a beginner. Food Preservation Made Simple explains the basics of freezing, dehydrating, and canning (which I’m still new at myself). Preserving isn’t difficult, but a little help can give you the confidence and know-how you need to get started!
Finally, when all else fails, make veggie stock from scraps. I put everything from carrot and apple peels, to broccoli stalks and eggshells in mine. Unlike the bland store-bought stuff, 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 little garden.
What other creative ways do you use food scraps? Share them in the comments below!
This post was written by Kendra at A Proverbs 31 Wife.