Most people cut off parts of vegetables and fruits and discard them. Everything from carrot peels to squash ends can end up as food waste. Ac cording to Zero Waste Memoirs, as much as 40% of food grown and sold in the United States ends up as waste. People don’t utilize every inch of their produce items, but you can help change that statistic by putting your scraps to good use. Trust us when we say that it’s well worth the effort.
Some methods are more obvious, including composting vegetable scraps or recycling them in the right trash can. It may surprise you to learn that you can make an all-natural food dye or aromatic, flavorful vegetable stock with food scraps. With a little extra effort and culinary creativity, you can make sure that things don’t go to waste. Read on to learn how you can reduce food waste by reusing vegetable scraps.
Boil Them Into A Broth
It’s always a good idea to have broth in your kitchen because you can use it in so many dishes. From soups and stews to risotto and casseroles, there are so many ways to use broth. Rather than purchasing sodium-rich broths from the store, make your own using vegetable scraps. It is very easy to do and you can customize the flavor based on the scraps you add to the pot. Plus, you get to control the salt content, which is great if you have high blood pressure. Place the scraps in a pot and cover them with water. Garlic, bay leaf, and other aromatics can add flavor, so don’t be afraid to add them. Cook the broth for 10 minutes or so and then strain through a fine mesh sieve. Store the broth in glass jars in the fridge or freezer, depending how soon you are going to use it.
Use Them To Grow New Vegetables
If you have enough of a vegetable’s leftover, like the base of a bunch of celery, you can use it to start the growth of new plants. You can even sprout from a large avocado pit! It seems difficult, but it is quite easy and very rewarding. To grow vegetables from scraps, you need to trim off the end of the vegetable. That allows the vegetable to take up fresh water and start to regenerate roots. Once you trim the vegetable, place it in fresh water and set it somewhere that receives natural light. In time, you should see growth, but make sure that the base of the vegetable end is touching water, and change the water when it gets cloudy.
Composting is a great way to put your food scraps to good use. This process uses the scraps and other organic materials to make a natural fertilizer that you can use to enrich soil. In doing so, you reduce the amount of food waste that ends up in landfills. Plus, composting also decreases the amount of methane emitted into the atmosphere. There are many ways to compost, but the easiest way is to collect your scraps in a small bucket or container. You then dig a shallow hole in the ground, add the scraps from the bucket into the hole, chop them up with a shovel, and cover with dirt. Ideally, you bury the food scraps next to plants you’re growing to encourage healthier growth. You can compost produce, grains, coffee grounds, and eggshells, but don’t compost meat, dairy, liquids, food wrappers or plastic.
Use Them To Make A Natural Dye
Get creative and colorful with your vegetable scraps by transforming them into a natural dye. Instead of using the dye for fabric, though, use it for coloring other foods to create a cheery meal. For example, use the dye to color everything from homemade pasta to hard-boiled eggs. Use beets and bell peppers to make red and orange dye, depending on their color. You can use yellow bell peppers or turmeric to create a yellow dye. Use spinach for green and red cabbage to make purple dye. There are many recipes for this online, but the simplest way is to blend the food scraps with water in a blender and then strain the liquid. Just make sure to wash the blender between dyes to get the richest colors.
Pickle Watermelon Rinds
This is more specific, but watermelon rinds are some of the most wasted parts of any fruit. This is especially saddening because they contain a lot of valuable nutrients. Save watermelon rinds and pickle them to create a crunchy, satisfying snack. Just simmer the rinds in a mixture of vinegar, water, sugar, and salt until they soften. Then you can store them in an airtight jar or container in the fridge until you want to enjoy them. Get creative with other spices or seasonings, such as ginger, peppercorns, cloves, and cinnamon, to liven up the pickled rinds.