Did you know you can use food scraps in cooking? The majority of food waste that goes into landfills can be prevented through better practices from the disposal of unsold goods to rotating stock in home pantries. One thing people overlook is just how much can be saved from the landfill by putting zero waste cooking practices into action in your own home.
Instead of throwing away scraps when you are cooking, look for ways to make use of those scraps to help feed your family again. Not only does this reduce your carbon footprint but this practice can save you a lot of money over the long run.
Easy ways to use food scraps
Make vegetable stock
Save vegetable scraps such as carrot peels, onion skins, and celery ends to make a flavourful vegetable stock. Simply add the scraps to a pot of water, bring to a boil, and let simmer for an hour or two. Strain the stock and use it in soups, stews, or as a cooking liquid for grains to add more flavour to things like rice.
Make meat stock or fish stock
Save bones from chicken, beef, or fish, and use them to make a flavourful stock. Combine the bones with water and vegetables, and let simmer for several hours. Strain the stock and use it in soups or stews and crush up the remaining bones for your garden to get that last bit of nutrition.
Use citrus peels
Citrus peels can be used in a variety of ways. You can zest the peels and use them to flavour baked goods, salad dressings, or marinades. Alternatively, you can infuse the peels in vinegar to make a citrusy cleaning solution.
Save bread scraps and turn them into croutons. Toss the bread with some olive oil, herbs, and salt, and then bake until crispy. Use them to top soups or salads.
Some vegetables can be regrown from scraps. For example, you can regrow green onions, celery, and lettuce from their roots. Place the scraps in a jar of water, and watch as they start to regrow. I have a whole article on growing vegetables from scraps which may help.
Freeze fruit scraps
Save fruit scraps such as peels and cores, and freeze them to use later in smoothies or as flavourings for homemade ice cream or sorbet.
Use herb stems and leaves that would otherwise be discarded to make pesto. Simply blend the herbs with some garlic, nuts, and olive oil, and use the pesto as a sauce for pasta, chicken, or fish.
Make vegetable chips
Use vegetable peels such as potato, carrot, or beet to make vegetable chips. Toss them with olive oil and salt, and bake or toss them into your air fryer until crispy.
Use vegetable scraps such as carrot tops or cucumber ends to make quick pickles. Simply combine the scraps with some vinegar, salt, and spices, and let sit for a few hours or overnight.
Make fruit jam
Use overripe fruit that might otherwise go to waste to make jam. Simply combine the fruit with some sugar and lemon juice, and cook until thickened. Use the jam on toast, yoghurt, or as a topping for ice cream.
Similar to the method for jam you can use vegetable scraps in cooking to make chutney. Caramelised onion chutney is a perfect example.