13 ways to make use of your food scraps
With trips to the grocery store being few and far between for most people as we try to social distance, every bit of food has come to count far more.
We’re thinking twice about throwing out wilted green and yoghurt that’s reached its used by date, and looking for ways to stretch out the shelf life of our groceries so that they can stay fresher for longer. But what about food scraps? What can be done with those?
After successfully prepping a wholesome meal, you’ll often be left with trimmings of meat, veggie peels and a whole host of other leftovers that you might be wanting to throw away.
From calcium-rich smoothie powders to dessert toppings and more, food scraps actually have a ton of uses around the home and garden. So, think twice before tossing them.
13 ways to make use of your food scraps:
Don’t toss out those eggshells from breakfast this morning. They have a variety of uses that range from helping you brew the perfect pot of coffee to keeping your garden slug-free.
1. Health powder
Eggshells can be rinsed off, dried off on a paper towel and then baked in the oven before being ground into a fine powder using a food processor. Add the white dust to your smoothies, morning coffee or protein drink for an added calcium kick.
2. Ward off creepy crawlies in the garden
If you’ve noticed pests nibbling at your herb garden, eggshells can be used to protect that area from harm. Once you pinpoint the problem area, sprinkle the broken up eggshells there. Slugs and other soft shelled pests dislike the feeling of crawling over sharp, jagged shells so they’ll hopefully move on from your garden.
3. Sweeten coffee
Egg shells are alkaline, while coffee is acidic. If you’re cooking to brew a sweeter, less bitter pot, add crushed eggshells to your coffee to help mellow out the flavor. If you’re trying to cut back on sugar, a less acidic batch of coffee will be easier to sweeten with milk and sugar so it will be easier to use less.
Herb stems from rosemary and thyme, potato peels, carrot peels, the unappealing outer leaves of cabbage and other seemingly unusable vegetable scraps don’t always have to be binned.
4. Vegetable stock
Vegetable peels can be used to make a hearty vegetable stock. Simmer a batch of roughly chopped leftover veggies in a pot of water for an hour along with some seasoning. Bay leaf, a bunch of fresh parsley and a teaspoon black peppercorns will add flavour. Refrigerate this stock in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Freeze for up to three months. The final product can be used to enrich soups, stews and even curries.
5. Potato skin chips
If you properly scrub your potatoes using a vegetable brush and water before peeling them, then the skins are still perfectly fine to eat. Toss them with a clove of minced garlic, a few tablespoons of olive oil and salt and pepper before setting them onto a baking sheet and placing them into the oven to crispen. Enjoy with a cream cheese dip loaded with green onion and herbs of your choice.
Fruit is healthy and delicious, but their peels attract flies in the garbage. Rather save them to make something useful instead.
The peels of lemons, oranges, apricots as well as their cores can be made into a jam. The bitterness of citrus peels is offset by the addition of sugar in jam making for the perfect grown-up version of your favorite bread spread.
7. Breakfast additions
If you’ve ever sliced up an apple, you’ll know just how much fruit gets wasted and thrown away along with the core. Save the cores to grate the remaining bits of flesh into porridge, muesli or even bran muffin mix for a hint of sweet apple.
8. Banana peel beauty treatment
After polishing off a banana use the peel to brighten your under eye circles. Within the natural beauty community, it is believed that banana peels help to improve blood circulation which, paired with their high levels of antioxidants and potassium, are thought to be the reason why they are able to the darkness of the sensitive are below the eye.
After a Sunday roast, you’re often left with the entire carcass of a chicken to deal with and throwing it in the bin just feels very wasteful, especially when it can be made into a nutrient rich broth.
9. Bone broth
Add your bones to a large pot. You can include lemon wedges, herbs, onion pieces, and salt for seasoning. Top with filtered tap water, until the contents is completely covered. Financially, add in some acidity in the form of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar (30ml or so), this helps break down the collagen, increasing it’s quantity in the broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for at least 12 hours before straining with a sieve and using or storing in one’s fridge.
When bread becomes too hard to eat, it also becomes very unappetizing to eat as is. However, whilst in this hardened state, it can actually be used for a variety of dish additions.
Use slightly stale bread for croutons, the best addition of crunch and flavour to soups and salads. Break bread into bite-sized chunks, toss in butter or olive oil, coat in herbs, seasoning and parmesan the sautee in a pan or bake in the oven until golden brown.
11. Bread crumbs
To make fresh breadcrumbs, remove the crusts from slices of couple-day old bread, place in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Then freeze or store your breadcrumbs in an air-tight container to use for fried chicken coating, fishcakes, stuffing or even the crumbed top of mac and cheese.
12. Dessert topper
Did you know you can use spice bread crumbs as a pudding topper? Just toast with a mix of cinnamon or cocoa, brown sugar and nuts for a delectable addition to ice-cream, custard based puddings or even cakes.
All of the food scraps mentioned in this story can be composted. Spare your bin from smelling foul and discard biodegradables in a compost heap to be turned into nutrient rich soil conditioner to help gardens thrive.