Just because it’s not the most prized part of your produce doesn’t mean it belongs in the bin. These food scraps are chocked full of flavor and nutrients, and can be used in their own recipes to cut down on food waste and get the most out of your groceries.
So, instead of tossing these scraps in the trash, why not get scrappy and turn them into something much more awesome and delicious.
13 Food Scraps You Can Cook With:
1. Broccoli Stalks
When it comes to broccoli most people go straight for the heads, but the stalks contain all the same flavor and nutrients without the odd texture. Use the stalks in your next broccoli soup for a smoother texture or steam, roast or stir-fry them to add extra greens into any of your meals.
2. Cauliflower Stems
Similarly to broccoli, people tend to use only the heads of cauliflower, but the stalks of this plant are also delicious. Next time you make cauliflower wings, try using the stalks to make tots too! Mmmmm tots.
3. Fruit and Veggie Pulp
If you make juice from scratch, you’re likely creating a lot of produce pulp. Instead of tossing this out, use it as the base for a veggie burger – the pulp of your fruits and veggies is where all the fiber is.
Fresh herbs tend to go bad quickly, so before they turn try preserving your herbs by freezing them with oil in an ice cube tray, or adding them to your cocktails for a refreshing twist.
5. Strawberry Tops
Love flavored water but hate paying for it? Try soaking strawberry tops in water to infuse a bit of sweetness and freshness to your hydration. Add ice, add whatever else you desire, stir and enjoy.
6. Carrot Tops
Take your pesto to the next level by adding in carrot tops, yeah carrot tops! These leftover veggie heads boast a similar flavor to their orange roots. To really get the most out of carrot tops, roast them in an oven first with a bit of vegetable oil, then toss them in with basil, garlic, pine nuts, parmesan and olive oil for a flavor-packed pesto. Seriously, it sounds delicious.
7. Citrus Peels
Citrus peels contain essential oils chocked full of flavor and aroma. Add them to water infusions, cocktails, or broths to get the most out of their flavors. They also make for beautiful garnishes, whether zested or thinly sliced, and add a nice pop of color to a cake top or mixed drink.
8. Beet Greens
Got beets? When it comes to beets, the roots aren’t the only part worth eating. Beet greens are much like chard, and can be used in salads or sautéed with garlic and olive oil.
9. Shrimp Shells
Believe it or not, shrimp shells make for one flavorful stock that can be used as the base for a soup, or added into a risotto or sauce. All you do is sauté them for a couple of minutes until they turn pink, then add water, bring it to a boil, and let them simmer for an hour. Boom, shrimp sauce success. Try adding in Cajun seasoning and Tabasco to kick the flavor up a notch.
10. Stale Bread
When your bread starts to get hard, cut it up into cubes and bake them in the oven with olive oil to make croutons for your next homegrown garden salad, or use the cubes as the base for overnight French toast.
11. Fruit Pits
Did you know that the pits from stone fruits like peaches and plums actually contain a ton of flavor? Soak them in alcohol or vinegar to create delicious flavor infusions. Cheers.
12. Cheese Rinds
Think cheese rinds are good for nothing? Think again! Toss your leftover cheese rinds into tomato sauces or soups to give them a delicious cheesy flavor. Say cheese!
13. Pumpkin or Squash Seeds
If you’ve done the work to scoop out a fresh squash or pumpkin – definitely don’t toss the seeds! Roast’em up to bring out their nutty flavor and toss them on top of soups and salads for a satisfying crunch.
So, remember, the next time you go to toss out your food scraps, think again. Food waste is an epidemic here in the United States, and utilizing food scraps to their fullest potential in the kitchen is a great way to reduce your household waste. For more recipes and ways to cook with food scraps, check out the Cooking Scrappy Cookbook by chef Joel Gamoran or catch his show Scraps: Parts Uneaten on FYI.
At TrashCan®, we’re doing our part to reduce food waste by turning it into an all-purpose fertilizer chocked full of nutrients that feed your plants without burning out your soil.