Let’s get real for a second: We throw out so much of our food it’s crazy. We’ll toss out everything from citrus rinds to eggshells because we deem them unusable and not fit to eat. I’m here to tell you to STOP thinking like that! All of those food scraps you toss out like trash are actually treasures to turn into fun creations that’ll make you feel proud. So step away from the trash can and use these hacks to transform your food scraps!
Citrus Peels // Candy It!
This is almost a no-brainer. Instead of putting piles of citrus peels in your garbage can, you can turn them into a sweet snack packed with fiber and flavor. The peels are where many of the essential oils in the citrus rinds are located, meaning that they have the best flavor. Candying them and turning them into a simple snack lets you get the optimal flavor out of your citrus on a budget.
Leftover Pulp // Cook It!
If you love juicing your own fruits and veggies at home, but don’t know what to do with the leftover pulp, we have the solution for you. You can store some in the fridge or freezer to directly incorporate into ravioli fillings, sauces, and even stir-fried dishes! Or, oven-dry/dehydrate the pulp, which can then be used to make tasty, fibrous granola or even blended into flours to use in baking mixes! This is such a versatile ingredient, and is packed with loads of fiber for extra nutrition!
Vegetable Tops and Bottoms // Plant It!
Many of your vegetables are still alive when you purchase them, so you can easily take the leftover pieces from cutting them up and convert them into more plants! This saves you the trouble of going out to buy seeds for everything, and is a great way to take your scraps and turn them into even more nutritious produce. One caveat to this, however — yellowing of green vegetables is a sign of “death” since they aren’t undergoing photosynthesis anymore. Compost the vegetables in a local composting pile or your own compost pile/bin instead if they’re starting to go yellow.
Leaves of Root Vegetables // Eat It!
One of the biggest food trends of 2017 is “alternative greens,” or replacements to the standards of spinach and kale. Chefs LOVE taking items like beet tops or carrot tops and turning them into stunning dishes, and there’s no reason you can’t do the same! They’re great raw and in salads, blanched and sauteed on their own, or even made into pestos. There’s no limits as to what you can do with these leafy greens!
Animal Bones // Make Stock With It!
Animal bones still have a ton of flavor, regardless of whether they come from a roasted chicken or are leftover from butchering your meat. You can use them and any extraneous vegetable peels or tops you have lying around to make a cheap, homemade stock! Season it with salt and pepper, and then use any leftover vegetable tops or peels to help add flavor. Since it all gets strained at the end, you don’t have to worry about bits and pieces in your stock. This will keep for up to six months in the freezer, meaning that you can always have a container of homemade bone broth ready to go!
Eggshells // Get Artsy With It!
Leftover egg shells are hard, brittle, and perfect for using in tons of different ways. They can add texture to paintings, become little sculptures of their own, be turned into trinket boxes, or even be used to add layers and excitement to necklaces and jewelry! All you need to do to prep them is wash them and get rid of the little peel on the inside, and you’re ready to take arts and crafts to a budget friendly, creative new level!
Bean Water // Whip It!
Yes, you can make MERINGUES and other whipped concoctions out of the leftover water from your white bean cans. Cannelini, white northern, and chickpeas all work for this. Simply whip the water like you would egg whites, adding in sugar for sweetness and a touch of cream of tartar or xanthan gum to stabilize it. The result is a sticky, sweet, marshmallow-tasting meringue that can be used to make meringue cookies, bind a vegan cookie or cake together, or just treated as a marshmallow fluff. Seriously, this stuff is so DELICIOUS!