How to Repurpose Food Scraps in Unusual Ways

How to Repurpose Food Scraps in Unusual Ways

How to Repurpose Food Scraps in Unusual Ways

Introduction

With rising food costs and concerns about food waste, many people are looking for creative ways to make the most of leftovers and food scraps. Repurposing food scraps can help save money, reduce waste, and even create something fun and unusual. In this article, I’ll share some of my favorite tips for repurposing food scraps in unexpected ways.

Make Homemade Stock or Broth

One of the simplest ways to repurpose food scraps is to make homemade stock or broth. Vegetable scraps like onion skins, carrot tops, mushroom stems, and herb stems are perfect for making flavorful stock. Here’s how I do it:

  • Collect vegetable scraps in a bag or container in the freezer. Good options include onion skins, carrot and potato peels, celery leaves, herb stems, mushroom stems, etc.

  • When ready, place the scraps in a pot and cover with water. Add any other aromatics like garlic, peppercorns, or bay leaves.

  • Simmer the stock for 1-2 hours, then strain out the solids.

  • Use the veggie stock as a base for soups, stews, risotto, or even drink it on its own. It adds great flavor and cuts down on waste.

Make Vegetable Chips or Fry Scraps

Leftover vegetable peels, ends, and skins can be turned into crispy, crunchy chips! Some ideas:

  • Beet chips – Thinly slice beet peel remnants and toss with oil, salt, and pepper. Roast at 400°F until crisped and dried, about 30-40 minutes.

  • Onion skins – Fry onion skins in oil until crispy and use as a garnish or snack.

  • Broccoli stalks – Peel and slice broccoli stalks, then roast or pan-fry until crisped and browned. Season with salt, pepper, or parmesan.

  • Watermelon rinds – Cut rinds into wedges, remove the green skin, and dehydrate into chips.

Make Scraps into Tea

You can brew flavorful tea using things like citrus peels, apple cores, pineapple tops, herb stems, and more. Here are some of my favorite scrap teas:

  • Citrus peel tea – Use leftover lemon, orange, grapefruit or other citrus peels. Add to boiling water and steep 5-10 minutes. Sweeten if desired. Provides bright flavor and Vitamin C.

  • Pineapple mint tea – Simmer pineapple leaves, cores, and skins with fresh mint leaves for a refreshing caffeine-free tea.

  • Apple and cinnamon tea – Simmer apple cores, peels, and slices with cinnamon sticks and cloves. Tastes like apple pie!

Feed Scraps to Worms or Livestock

Composting with worm bins is a great way to feed food scraps to worms and fertilize houseplants or gardens. Some scraps worms love include:

  • Fruit and vegetable peels and trimmings
  • Coffee grounds and filters
  • Crushed eggshells
  • Tea bags
  • Shredded paper

For those with backyard chickens or livestock, many scraps can be fed as treats or supplements. Always check first to ensure the scraps are safe for your particular animals.

Get Creative with Leftover Pulp

The pulp leftover from making juices and smoothies is surprisingly versatile for crafts and baking:

  • Fruit leather – Puree and dehydrate pulp into chewy fruit leathers.

  • Bars/energy balls – Mix pulp with oats, nuts, coconut, and honey or maple syrup to make hearty snack bars.

  • Bath salts – Dry citrus pulp peels and blend into relaxing bath salts.

  • Vinegar – Ferment excess veggie pulp like beet or carrot into probiotic vinegar drinks.

With a little creativity, you can transform scraps and pulp into something delightful!

Conclusion

Repurposing food leftovers takes a bit of creativity, but it helps reduce waste and can lead to some unexpectedly fun creations. With a little planning, you can turn scraps into tasty stock, crispy veggie chips, fruitful tea blends, worm food, and more. Getting the most use out of leftovers saves money while keeping scraps out of landfills. Try out some of these ideas to give food remnants a new life. What unusual ways have you found to repurpose food scraps?