Zero Waste Cooking: How to use food scraps

You may know that food waste is a huge problem. But did you know that more than 1/3 of food bought is thrown away each year? That equals about 1.3 billion tons of food.

Not only is this a huge waste of money but a huge waste of resources and just flat out waste. It’s so easy to throw food into the trash can too. Eggshells, coffee grounds, rotten fruit, or even veggie peels.

We tend to think because these are natural foods that when they’re up in the landfills they’ll just break down. But they actually don’t. There’s not enough air in landfills to properly break down even the most natural foods. Instead, they rot and give off a harmful methane gas 20 times more powerful than Co2.

So what do you do? You could always compost it. (Read my full guide to composting here.) Or, you could try out one of these ideas first to really reduce as much food waste as possible!

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How to use food scraps:

1. Veggie scrap broth

One of the most common ways to use veggie scraps is to make veggie broth!

Start by freezing your veggie peels, and the ends of your veggies in the freezer. I use these amazing silicon bags from stasher to reduce my plastic waste!

You can fill up these bags for a week or two, or however long it takes! Just add veggie scraps as you go! 

Then when you have enough add the scraps to a pot of water and let simmer for an hour or two adding in any spices you like. Then drain the broth and seal in jars!

2. Re-grow veggies

A lot of vegetables can be re-grown right in your kitchen with just a little bit of water or a little bit of dirt.

Learn how to re-grow veggies here!

3. Freeze herbs in ice cubes

We’ve all forgotten those fresh herbs in the back of the fridge and by the time we find them, they aren’t so fresh anymore.

Before you throw them out! Consider freezing them in water in some ice cube trays! These make the perfect addition to your summer water, iced tea, iced coffee, or lemonade! Some of the best herbs to freeze are rosemary, thyme, basil, and lavender.

4. Soak herbs in olive oil

Cooking with infused olive oils really elevates your food but they can run a bit expensive. You can make your own by simply soaking any herbs you have in some virgin olive oil!

5. Orange peel all-purpose cleaner

Instead of throwing out your orange peels, soak them in a jar with vinegar for a week or two, strain the peels out, and use the infused vinegar to clean your house from top to bottom!

Read: the ultimate list of zero waste cleaners

6. Make sauces or veggie man “n” cheese

If you’ve spent any time on Facebook in the last few years then you’ve probably seen the videos of people making vegan mac “n” cheese with “hidden” veggies.

They boil vegetables like carrots, onions, and potatoes and blend them up into a “cheese” sauce. This could also be done using veggies that are about to go bad or the ends/peels of veggies.

See my favorite recipe from here.

7. Shred wilting zucchini and carrots

If you’ve got some zucchini or carrots that are starting to look a little lifeless, try shredding them! The shreds can be added to soups or added into muffins, pancakes, or even vegetable fritters!

8. Make your own apple cider vinegar

Save any apple peels, cores, (without the seeds or stem), and bruised pieces and add them to a jar with about 5 cups of water. Add in 1 tbsp of sugar and 1 or two lemon rinds and stir. Then cover for about 14 days, stir again, and cover for another 14 days.

After that, strain the apples out and you’ve got some apple cider vinegar!


How I finally became a vegan

Eating seasonally in summer

The ultimate guide to storing food without plastic

I hope this post gave you some creative ideas to reduce your food waste! With so much food going to landfills every year, we need to be more mindful of what happens to the food scraps that we toss in the bin. Even if it’s just a fruit peel or vegetable ends. 

Please don’t forget to share this post an follow me on Instagram for daily low waste living inspiration! 

how to use food scraps


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