big box of fruit and vegetables scraps

4 Food Scraps You Can Reuse

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Many people have no idea how many great things they can do with food scraps. I hate wasting things, don’t you? I mean, we paid for it. So let’s make use of food scraps you can reuse. One great reason to make use of your food scraps is to help reduce food waste.

pile of food scraps

Scraps of waste food

Food makes up nearly a quarter of all trash that ends up in landfills. Every effort you make to help reduce food waste helps to reduce your carbon footprint and to make a difference in the world. And it’s EXPENSIVE!

The most motivating reason to make use of food scraps is to save money. When you use your food scraps to make more food or to encourage your garden to grow you are making use of parts of your food that you would normally throw away, essentially making your new creations essentially free.

1. Vegetable scraps are one of the most useful kinds of scraps. Vegetable broth is easy to make using vegetable scraps. You can toss your scraps into a gallon-size freezer bag and set it in the freezer.

vegetables and a bowl of broth

When the bag is full you can extract the flavor and nutrition from the scraps and make broth. Then, after you strain it, you can toss what’s left into your compost pile. You can even use your leftover meat bones to make chicken or beef stock.

Dehydrating and making a vegetable powder is a great way to make use of your vegetable scraps, even ones you normally wouldn’t eat from your produce. Like carrot tops, radish greens, and more.

These can be dehydrated and turned into a powder you can easily mix in with other foods to take advantage of the nutrients without having to taste them. Many people use the skins from peeling tomatoes to make a tomato powder that can be used to enrich the tomato flavor of sauces, stews, and chili.

2. Apple Scraps are also useful. Many people toss their apple scraps into the trash or the compost without thinking about what they can do with them. They’re surprised to find out that you can do a couple of simple things to make use of your apple scraps to help feed your family essentially for free.

Make your own apple cider vinegar. We all know that ACV is good for you but did you know that you can make it at home with only distilled water, apple scraps, and a little sugar to help the fermenting process? Then you can compost them.

Scrap apple jelly is easy and involves simply boiling down your apple scraps and then straining and adding sugar and lemon juice to activate the natural pectin in the apples. This can be boiled down until the gelling point is reached and canned for simple and tasty apple jelly.

How to reuse food scraps

3. Coffee grounds can be used for odor control. From placing them on top of your trash to help keep the odors under control to placing a bowl of dried used coffee grounds in the bathroom or kitchen to help absorb and neutralize odors you can use your coffee grounds to help make your home smell better. Add a few drops of vanilla to make your home smell like a coffee shop.

You can also use your coffee grounds as a garden fertilizer. Coffee grounds are great for raising the acidity of soil for plants like tomatoes and blueberries allowing you to maintain the soil at the optimal acidity level for these plants to thrive and produce plenty of fresh food for your family.

4. Banana peels are packed with potassium which is great for you but did you know it is a great fertilizer for your garden as well? While you can compost your banana peels to use in your garden, you can also simply break the peels up and toss them into the garden.

They will quickly dry up and begin to break down and work into the soil. The worms help with this too! This is a common trick used by gardeners to help strengthen plants when they are attacked by pests like leaf miners.

There are other food scraps that can be reused instead of thrown them away as well. Here are some more ideas:

  1. Eggshells: Crushed eggshells can be used as a natural abrasive to clean pots and pans, or can be used in the garden to provide calcium for plants.
  2. Bread ends: Stale bread ends can be used to make homemade breadcrumbs.
  3. Cheese rinds: Cheese rinds can be added to soups and stews to add flavor.
  4. Herb stems: The stems of herbs like parsley, cilantro, and basil can be added to stocks and soups to add flavor.
  5. Meat bones: Meat bones can be used to make homemade stock or broth.
  6. Citrus peels: Citrus peels can be used to make a natural cleaner, or can be candied and used as a garnish for desserts.
  7. Potato peels: Potato peels can be roasted to make crispy potato skins.

There are many other food scraps that can be reused, so get creative and see what you can come up with!

Growing from scraps

In addition to reusing the scraps of your food, you can also try to regrow many of them. Think about the part of the celery stalk that you cut off the end, this end is actually the root end. If you place it in soil with the top part sticking out, it will regrow celery.

sweet potato slips sprouted in a jar

You can do the same thing with the bushy top you cut off of a pineapple. A sweet potato can be floated in the water and will grow sprouts that become new plants. They are called slips. Just pierce the sweet potato on three sides with toothpicks so it will stay partly in a glass of water and partly above the water. You can do the same thing with an avocado pit and it will sprout.

Carrot tops will regrow as well. The possibilities are endless. If you think it might grow, give it a try.

Food scraps for chickens

Chickens will eat most food scraps as well. They are nutritious for them and they like them. So give your extra peels, tops, roots, etc to your chickens if you have some. Or save them for the neighbor’s chickens.

You can do this with watermelon rinds, leftover strawberry tops, your overly ripe berries that went too far, pretty much any leftover produce parts, and even the scraps you strain out of your stock or vinegar above. The chickens will be most grateful!

You can also feed them to worms if you have a worm bin for building worm compost. And then, lastly of all, of course, all of these things can be composted. Check out more information about worms and regular compost in the links above.

All of these ideas can save you money, keep lots of stuff from the landfill, and give you more free food to use. And you’ll be able to think of more creative ideas as you start to practice these.

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