24 Ways to Turn Yesterday’s Food Scraps Into Tomorrow’s Dinner Slideshow
January 7, 2016
Save money and act sustainably with these uses for table scraps
24 Ways to Turn Yesterday’s Food Scraps Into Tomorrow’s Dinner
Americans waste more than 20 pounds of food per person every month; if that doesn’t make you want to do your part to reduce the table scraps we send to the landfills, consider the amount of money you are literally throwing away every day. With some trimmings, rinds, peels, and stems, you can use yesterday’s scraps to enhance your next meal.
Whether you are looking to make your home a more sustainable one or cut back on your grocery bill, your daily meals will get a refreshing boost from yesterday’s table scraps.
If you love the taste of fresh almond milk, but hate the waste, next time you make your homemade milk, save the pulp. Squeeze as much of the liquid out of the pulp as you can, then spread the pulp on a sheet pan to finish drying out. Then process the pulp to a fine flour in your food processor, and you can add it to any recipe calling for almond flour, like this one for a Gluten-Free Olive-Rosemary Bread.
You can use your leftover apple teas to make a slightly sweet apple tea, that you can sweeten with sugar or honey from drinking or brining chicken. Also, consider using apple peels to infuse vinegar.
Want a healthy dark green side dish for tomorrow’s dinner? Swap out the Swiss chard in any recipe with nutritious iron-rich beet greens. Try turning your beet greens into a salad, like this recipe for Roasted Organic Beet Salad with Oranges and Beet Greens, or serve Sautéed Beet Greens with Cumin, Lemon Zest, and Crispy Fried Garlic with dinner.
Broccoli stems are tossed because they are so tough. But if you peel off the outside layer of the stem, you can slice and enjoy that same great broccoli flavor that you find in the florets. Try using your broccoli stems in this Beef and Broccoli Ramen recipe or shred the stems to use in this Broccoli Spinach Soup.
While it should be noted that you don’t have to peel carrots — just give them a good scrub to remove any dirt before adding them to your dish — peels are perfect for making stock. Save your peels in a freezer safe bag, and pull them out whenever you need to make another batch of chicken stock or vegetable stock.
Make a carrot top pesto with your leftover tops. The tender greens blended with garlic, pine nuts, and Parmigiano-Reggiano makes an excellent dip for crudité or tossed with pasta. Check out this recipe — just swap the broccoli rabe in this pesto for carrot tops. Store the extra in a sealed jar to use all week.
Coffee grounds are a natural deodorizer to remove smells from cutting boards and your fridge, but you can also eat those leftover coffee grounds, making sure none of the healthy antioxidants go to waste. Coffee grounds have a strong flavor, which is why they make an excellent ingredient in rubs for steaks, pork roasts, and chicken. Just add brown sugar, chili powder, and salt to make one tasty steak, like this recipe for Cedar Grilled Flat Iron Steaks with Coffee Rub.
If you love juicing, you will love this way to enjoy the nutritious pulp. You can turn the leftover pulp into a healthy smoothie. Save your leftover juice pulp in a freezer-safe container, and when you are ready for your smoothie, just add the frozen pulp to the blender along with any protein powders, nut butters, or sweeteners you like.
The garlic skins are packed with flavor, too. Keep the skins for your next batch of stock to add tons of garlic flavor, without wasting one precious clove.
Most of the time, a recipe will tell you to strip the kale leaves from the tough kale stalks, but before you toss them in the trash, save your nutritious stalks for a second-day treat. Because the stalks tend to be woody, steam them for 10 minutes. Then, sauté them with chile oil and garlic, and serve.
Orange peels are full of fragrant oils, so they are a perfect way to infuse bright citrus flavors into foods. When cooked until tender, as in this recipe for Lamb Tagine with Oranges, Saffron, and Candied Orange Peel, you can eat the garnish. If you want to satisfy your sweet tooth, try this simple recipe for Candied Orange Peel.
Parsley stems are tough, unlike cilantro stems that can be chopped alongside the leaves, but instead of tossing the stems use them for a bouquet garni (a mix of herbs, spices, garlic, etc, wrapped in cheesecloth and tied with butcher’s twine). Just drop the bouquet garni into the pot along with your braising liquid, stock, stew, and more to add flavor to your sauces.
Before you toss these pits into your compost pile, try making peach pit jelly. Using the peels and pits of about 75 (25 pounds…yes that’s a lot) peaches, you can make a bright peachy colored jelly for toast and glazes. You will need the pits and peels, four cups of water, one box of pectin, four cups of sugar, and a quarter cup of lemon juice. Then, just follow these simple instructions for how to make jelly.
Potato peels might look like a pile of compost, but they are just one oven visit away from being a delicious snack. Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees F, drizzle with olive oil and seasonings, spread onto a silpat, and roast for 15 to 20 minutes. If that doesn’t give you reason to save them from the garbage, try this Potato Peel Gratin recipe instead.