December 5

Clever Ways to Use Food Scraps and Reduce Kitchen Waste


ways to use food scrapsThe amount of food waste we produce in the United States is staggering. The USDA reports that annually, we let 30-40% of our food go to waste. . This not only harms our environment, but it also depletes many of our natural resources.

Organic materials, such as food waste, make up the largest proportion of municipal solid waste in the United States. Each year, Americans discard approximately 40 million tons of food—that’s about 80 billion pounds. While the world wastes about 1.4 billion tons of food every year, the United States discards more food than any other country in the world.

Food waste should not be taken lightly. It not only wastes resources and money, but it also harms the environment.

When food is wasted, it takes up landfill space and releases methane gas into the atmosphere. Methane is a greenhouse gas that is more potent than carbon dioxide.

Food scraps offer an opportunity to close the food loop and reduce the environmental impacts of food waste.


Creative Ways to Use Food Scraps

One way to reduce the amount of food waste produced each year is to get creative and reuse food scraps. Here are some of the easiest ways to keep waste out of the trash:


Vegetable and Fruit Scraps

Onion Peel Seasoning

Onion peels can be used to make a nutritious onion peel powder. Onion skins are not only edible but also packed with nutrients like vitamins A, C, and E, as well as flavonoids and quercetin – an antioxidant known for its anti-inflammatory properties.

To make the onion peel powder, place the onion peels on a paper towel and microwave them until dry. Then, grind them in a food processor until they form a fine powder. Finally, store the powder in a tight container. 

The onion peel powder can be sprinkled on your favorite snacks as a seasoning. It can also be used in recipes to add flavor and nutrients. Using the onion peel powder can help reduce food waste and make the most of your food scraps.


Vegetable Broth

Making vegetable broth is a great way to use up vegetable scraps that would otherwise be composted. Not only is it frugal and earth-friendly, but it’s also a delicious way to add flavor to soups and sauces.

The key to good vegetable broth is using a variety of vegetables and leafy greens. You can use any combination of carrots, celery, green onions, fennel, turnips, potatoes, or other vegetable trimmings. I like to use a mix of root vegetables and other greens. Garlic, peppercorns, leftover herbs, and bay leaves are also essential ingredients for flavor.

To create vegetable broth, begin by placing the leftover vegetable scraps in a large pot. Fill the pot so that the water level is just above the trimmings and add crushed garlic cloves (skins included), peppercorns and bay leave.

Set your stove to high heat and wait until the pot is boiling. Once it is, lower the temperature to medium-low and let it cook for 25-30 minutes.

Pour the pot’s contents through a large sieve placed over a bowl. Press on the solids to release any remaining liquid, then discard them. Finally, add a dash of olive oil to give the broth some healthy fat.

Storing your broth in the refrigerator is tough, so a better option is to freeze it in ice cube trays and store those cubes. That way, you can get the perfect quantity each time!


Apple Cider Vinegar

As the name suggests, apple cider vinegar is a type of vinegar made from apple cider. While it contains a lower percentage of acetic acid than white vinegar, it has a more complex flavor that some find preferable. Apple cider vinegar also has great nutritional value, as it contains vitamin C and other minerals and enzymes. 

You can use leftover apple scraps to make apple cider vinegar at home. Place the apple peels and scraps in a 1-liter capacity jar and cover them with water. Add 3 tablespoons of sugar and stir to combine. Cover the jar with a coffee filter and place it in a dark, warm place for 15 days. Stir the mixture daily to prevent mold from forming. 

After 15 days, strain the apple scraps from the solution and pour the remaining liquid into a new container. Cover the container with a coffee filter and secure it with a lid. Allow the container to ferment for another two weeks. After two weeks, your apple cider vinegar will be ready to use. It will have a yellow-brown color and a strong apple flavor. 

You can use apple cider vinegar to make salad dressings, marinades, and sauces. It also makes a great household cleaner. Apple cider vinegar is also high in vitamin C, which makes it a good choice for boosting your immune system.


Other Food Leftovers

Stale bread crumbs

When it comes to bread crumbs, there are two types: fresh and stale. Fresh bread crumbs are made from bread that is less than a day old, while stale bread crumbs are made from bread that is older than a day. The reason for this is that the staling process has already begun, which means the bread is firmer and has a different texture.

Bread crumbs are a great way to add texture and flavor to dishes. They can be used as a coating for chicken or fish, or as a filler in meatballs or veggie burgers. The best part is that they are really easy to make from scratch.

All you need is some stale bread. Break it into smaller bits and toast it in the oven at 350 degrees until golden brown. Grind it in a processor into a coarse powder. Store it in an air-tight container and place it in a cool and dry place.

Bread crumbs have a long shelf life and can be stored for up to six months. This makes them a great way to use up leftover scraps of bread. They also save money because you can buy them pre-made, but they tend to be expensive. Making them at home is a much cheaper option.


Tea Bag Garden Compost

Composting is a great way to recycle organic waste like food scraps and tea bags. Not only does it help reduce your environmental impact, but it also creates nutrient-rich soil amendments that can be used to boost the health of your garden plants.

If you’re using tea bags to water your plants, make sure the water is room temperature or cooler. You can either brew a fresh pot of tea and use the tea bags to water your plants, or you can dip the used tea bags into a bucket of water and use the weak tea to water your plants.

To compost tea bags, start by placing them in a compost bin or pile filled with organic food waste. If your compost bin has a lid, you can just place the tea bags inside. If not, you can put them in a plastic bag first to keep them from getting wet and soggy.

Then, add some damp green waste like fresh grass clippings or kitchen scraps. The more moisture in the mix, the better – tea bags are great at adding moisture to the pile.

The leaves will release their nutrients slowly over time, providing your plants with a boost of organic matter. This is a great way to fertilize the soil that’s low in organic matter or nitrogen or to deter garden pests like mice.

Finally, wait a few weeks for the tea bags to break down and release their nutrients into the compost. Once they’re done composting, you can use the resulting compost to fertilize your garden plants.


Citrus Peel Magic Solution

One of the best ways to go eco-friendly at home is to start using greener cleaning products. You can conveniently buy these at your local grocery store, or better yet, make your own! Citrus peels can be used as a refreshing and natural way to clean your home. Not only are they effective at removing dirt and grime, but they also smell great and can brighten up any room. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to use citrus peels to clean your home:

The first thing you’ll need to do is gather some citrus fruits. You can use lemons, limes, oranges, or grapefruits, whichever you have on hand. Once you have the fruit, you’ll need to peel it. Be sure to save the peels!

Next, you’ll want to mix the peels with some water in a small saucepan. The water should be about twice as much as the number of peels you have. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 15 minutes.

After simmering, let the mixture cool slightly before straining it into a spray bottle. You can now use this citrus-infused water to clean your house!

Here are some specific tips on how to use citrus peels to clean different parts of your home:

To clean your kitchen counters and appliances, spray them with citrus cleaner and wipe them down with a cloth. The citrus will remove grease and dirt while leaving behind a fresh scent.

To clean your floors, mix the citrus peels with some vinegar in a bucket and mop your floors with the solution. The vinegar will help cut through any grease or dirt, while the citrus will leave behind a refreshing smell.

To clean your windows, mix some lemon juice with water in a spray bottle and spritz it onto your windows. The lemon juice will help remove any built-up grime or fingerprints while leaving behind a fresh scent.


Coffee Body Scrub

Used coffee grounds are a natural and organic way to exfoliate your skin. They’re also a great way to get rid of cellulite. Coffee is a natural diuretic, so it helps to reduce water retention. Coffee is also full of antioxidants, which help to protect your skin from free radicals.

To make a body scrub with used coffee grounds, you’ll need: 

  • Used coffee grounds 
  • Coconut oil or olive oil 
  • Ground cinnamon (optional) 

To make the scrub, combine the coffee grounds, coconut oil or olive oil, and ground cinnamon in a bowl. Mix well until the ingredients are combined. Massage the scrub onto your skin using circular motions, being careful not to scrub too hard. Leave the scrub on for 5-10 minutes, then rinse off with warm water.


Food Scrap Containers and Garbage Disposal Scrubs

Most municipalities offer a curbside organics collection program for yard waste and food scraps. If your community doesn’t have a curbside program, look for a drop-off location near you. Once you have your container (preferably an eco-friendly food scrap bag), fill it with any fruit and vegetable scraps, eggshells, coffee grounds, and tea bags. fresh herbs and stale bread—pretty much any organic materials that were once alive or growing can go in your compost pile!

On the other hand, if you’re left with citrus peels or other soft fruit and vegetable scraps, don’t toss ”em—use ’em to clean your garbage disposal! Simply put all of your scraps (peels and all) into the disposal and grind them up. The acidity in citrus peels will help to clean and freshen your disposal, while other soft fruits and vegetables will help to sharpen the blades.


Final Thoughts

Reducing food waste is vital for many reasons, but from an environmental standpoint, it is critical. If we don’t act now to use edible food instead of wasting it, the planet will continue to suffer. Every step taken toward reducing food waste helps, no matter how small.


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