30 million tons of food is wasted each year in the U.S., according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). While some food waste gets turned into compost and animal feed, much of it goes straight into landfills and decomposes, creating methane that contributes to climate change. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways you can reduce the amount of food you waste!
Not only is cooking with food waste a great way to reduce your environmental impact, but it can also help save money on groceries.
Here are 10 creative ways to use food waste in your home.
If you're like most people, you probably don't give much thought to what happens to your fruit and vegetable peels once you're done with them. But did you know that there are many ways to reuse peels?
If you're looking to use up veggie scraps, turn them into vegetable stock! It's easy and a great way to add extra flavor to your dishes. Here's how to do it:
One way to repurpose citrus rinds is to make a cleaning spray. Add the rinds to a jar of vinegar and let sit for a week. Then, strain the mixture and add it to a spray bottle with water. This natural cleaning solution is great for countertops, floors, and more.
One way to use food waste is to regrow fruits and vegetables from scraps. For example, you can regrow lettuce, pineapple and celery from scraps.
You can follow similar processes to regrow other items like green onions, potatoes, bulb fennel, carrots, beets, basil, and other leafy greens, root vegetables, and herbs.
Puree fruits and vegetables that might be overripe and freeze them to use in smoothies, sauces and soups.
You can also turn overripe fruits into fruit leather by blending them with a little bit of honey/agave and lemon juice, and baking them on a prepared baking sheet at 140 degrees Fahrenheit for about 8-12 hours. These healthy fruit roll ups are perfect to grab and go.
Dehydrating citrus zest is a great way to use up food scraps and add flavor to your cooking. It's easy to do! Wash your citrus, then use a zester or grater to remove the zest. Spread the zest out on a baking sheet and bake at 170 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30-60 minutes or until completely dry. Blend the dry zest into a fine powder, then store in an airtight container and use as needed for baked goods, salads, marinades, teas or more!
Stems of leafy vegetables are often overlooked and cast aside, but they are actually quite versatile in the kitchen. For example, cook them in soups or stews to add flavor and nutrition. You can also sauté them with other vegetables or chop them up and use them as toppings on salads or grain bowls.
Many fruits and vegetables have edible exteriors that have a whole host of health benefits when consumed, like kiwis!
If you've ever made a pot of coffee and then let it sit out for a while, you know that the grinds can get pretty stale. But before you toss them, try using them to make a homemade coffee scrub. Mix the grinds with sugar and olive oil/coconut oil, and voila! You've got a delicious-smelling scrub that will leave your skin feeling soft and silky. If you don’t want to use them as a scrub, you can also add them to your garden as compost.
Breadcrumbs and croutons are a great way to use up food scraps.
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