If you have visited Pinterest in the last year or two, then you know that repurposing things is all the rage, especially when it comes to old windows, furniture, and pallets. But something that has really peaked my interest lately is repurposing food scraps.
5 Simple Ways to Repurpose Food Scraps
When I say food scraps, I am talking legit scraps – you know, the stuff we don’t eat. Peels, stalks, stems, leaves, pits, seeds, bones, etc. can be saved from the trash, repurposed, and made useful in the following ways.
Feeding your chickens.
My chickens are fools for scraps. I have a “chicken bucket” – a.k.a. an old ice cream bucket – that lives on our kitchen counter. Throughout the day, I toss in stems, stale bread (because kids), peels, and cores. Then, when it’s time to check on Henny Penny, Violet, Chick Norris, Kellogg and the rest of the cluckin’ crew, I grab it and go. In return for tossing them some tasty treats, they give me a colorful clutch of eggs. It’s a win-win deal, really.
While I have made stock before, I have never personally made it from scraps because – chickens. But, if you don’t have a house full of hens to treat with veggie scraps, this is the prefect alternative.
Onions, carrots, and celery are something of a vegetable stock trifecta. From there you can toss in almost any other veggie ends, peelings, and leaves that you’d like. For a little umami flavor and a heartier stock, you can add beef or chicken bones to the mix. Then you just season up your scraps anyway you want, cover them with water and simmer for at least an hour. Voila! You have a nice homemade stock.
The Kitchn has some really great tips on creating scrumptious stocks from scraps. Click here to check them out.
Maybe this doesn’t exactly qualify as “repurposing” on account of the fact that once the produce is regrown it will be use in the same way, and technically will not have a new purpose. But for the sake of reducing food waste, I think we can just go ahead and throw technicality out the window.
There are several veggies you can regrow by simply sticking their ends in water. I have only tried this with green onions and celery. The onions didn’t go so well, but the celery is still going strong. I have high hopes that we will be re-eating it soon.
In March, I decided to try my hand at homegrown guacamole. I saved an avocado pit, put it in water, and just about peed my pants with excitement when I saw that tiny taproot emerge. Is that really considered “regrowing” since it technically started from a seed? Oh well, we’re throwing technicality out the window, so we’re just gunna go with it. And at any rate, I am proud to say that Alvie the Avocado is thriving and should be bearing fruit in three to fifteen years.
Next up, “project grow a peach tree” – I’ll let you know how it goes.
Giving back to the soil.
Composting is something that has always intrigued me. We used to do a lot of it at the feed yard, turning the cow poo into a carbon rich commodity for neighboring farmers. I have yet to compost at my home. We’ve always had some fairly good nutrient rich soil for growing my garden, but here we do not.
It is really sandy here. I know, I know – we live in the Sandhills, but this is like a supersized sandbox in which nothing but sand burrs will grow. Long story short, our
sandbox garden needs more organic matter to help my veggies thrive come springtime. That is why a compost bin, fashioned out of old pallets, is on the top of the “get it done before winter” priority list. Stay tuned – if all goes according to plan, I will be chronicling my composting quest here on Food Saver Friday.
Citrus rinds and egg shells – great for starting seedlings on a budget and reducing waste. Of course, I did not find out about this until after I had already purchased a seedling starter kit from Gurney’s this past spring…
Anyhow, “How to Grow Seedlings in Eggshells” is a great guide on how to do just that – grow seedlings in eggshells.
Next Time on Food Saver Friday
I don’t know about you, but I love a good challenge. I especially love a challenge that helps me improve and change for the better. And, that is exactly what the 30 Day Food Waste Challenge is designed to do. Not only will we be discussing the challenge and all that it entails, but I will also be unveiling the 30 Day Food Waste Challenge Accountability group on Facebook. If you are interested in taking the challenge and joining the group, be sure to check back next week.
In the meantime if you have questions or ideas for future Food Saver Friday topics, feel free to leave them here in the comments, or shoot me an email using the Contact Me page. And if you’ve missed any of the food saving goodness, click here to catch up.