We throw away a lot of stuff. It’s such a simple thing, if we don’t want then just throw it in the garbage and it magically goes away. Except that it’s really not magic at all. That garbage has to go somewhere and the outlook isn’t so good. I’m not here to lecture you on landfills and dumps and saving the environment, but I do think we can all do our part to help. One of the larger components of our trash is food. We throw away a ton of food and some of it is still edible. No, this post isn’t about eating trash. I just want to offer a few tips on how to use all of your food so that you get the most bang for your buck AND lower the amount of waste you throw away.
This is a really easy way to use up leftover scraps of vegetables and bones. Things like vegetables peels from carrots, potatoes, cabbage, or turnips can be turned into a homemade vegetable stock. After you’re done prepping your vegetables for dinner or whatever meal you’re making, gather all the scraps. Place all the scraps into a large stockpot, add in water, a little salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Once it’s boiling, simmer for at least an hour, longer for a stronger flavor. Turn off the heat and let the stock cool. Using a strainer, pour the stock over a container and strain out the vegetable pieces and voila, you have homemade stock. You can also make your own chicken or meat stock using the leftover bones. Follow the same process, just add in whatever bones you have on hand. Make sure to strain well so there are no leftover bones in your stock. Now you have your own healthy stock on hand whenever you need it! You can also freeze your stock and make it in big batches.
Use Up Your Greens
Many vegetables come with leafy greens attached to them. I like to think of this as a two for one deal because you can use the vegetables AND the greens. Turnips, beets, and carrots have greens that can be used for salads or added to soups and stews. You can also use them for juices and smoothies. Or you can dry out the greens and use them as seasonings for any dish that you can think of. Just make sure to wash your leafy greens really well to get rid of dirt or bugs that might be hiding.
Eat the Stalk
Most of us don’t think twice about throwing away the stalks of vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower, but those parts are edible too. You can chop them up and eat them prepared the same way you use the flowered parts. My favorite way is to eat them is to cut up the broccoli florets and stems, saute them with olive oil and season them with garlic, turmeric, pepper, and a little bit of my “Parmesan” topping. You can also grate the stalks and use them as a salad topping or as a way to add extra vegetables to soups, stews, and sauces.
Keep the Pulp
If you like to make your own fruit and vegetable juices, you might be left with a bunch of pulp afterwards. Don’t throw that pulp away! You can use it to make crackers or add it into baked goods, such as bread or muffins, or add it into sauces. The pulp from homemade juice contains a lot of the fiber and nutrients from the fruit or vegetable and is super good for you. If you make your own nut milk, like almond milk, you can save the pulp from the nuts and use as nut meal in baked recipes. Just make sure you dry it out well first before you bake with it.
Help Your Garden Grow
Peels from fruits or vegetables that you don’t want to eat, like banana peels, orange peels, or potato peels, can be used as compost for your garden. Rather than just throwing those peels away, put them to good use helping your own fruits and vegetables grow strong and delicious.
These are just a few easy ways that you can use to help lower the amount of food that you throw away each week. It’s also a great way to stretch your dollar and get the most use out of your food. So before you toss that piece of food away, see if there is another use you can get out of it!