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Sustainability 101: Using Scraps

So the title might not make it sound super appetizing… but what we’re really talking about here is getting the most out of the food you paid for! Below are a few tips (courtesy of Rachel O). Please don’t feel like you have to do all of the suggestions. Just pick one or two to try. And hey, you might already be doing some!

  1. Chicken bones and giblets: Use them to make chicken stock(same goes for beef, turkey, and pork bones). (The jars with straight sides are the best for freezing liquids, as they’re less likely to crack and stock will slide out easier, even if it’s still frozen. Cool completely and freeze with the lid off. Add the lid once it’s completely frozen.)
  2. Vegetable peels and ends, herb stems, wilted greens, old veggies: Turn them into vegetable stock.
  3. Herb stems (tougher ones, like rosemary): use as skewers for meat and vegetables.
  4. Broccoli and cauliflower stems: Use them to make “pasta”(save the tough outer peel for stock).
  5. Winter squash: Roast then use them as a soup tureen.
  6. Potatoes and sweet potatoes that have sprouted: Cut them into about 1″ chunks and plant them. (I have had a sweet potato plant growing for about 3 years. They have pretty leaves that I’ve let grow into a vine, harvesting only one sweet potato a few weeks ago.)
  7. Egg shells: Crush and sprinkle around plants that snails like to eat.
  8. Egg cartons: Add a little dirt and use to plant seeds to start a garden.
  9. Water that was used to boil or steam veggies: Save to boil beans or pasta. Save to make veggie stock. Cool completely and use to water plants.
  10. Citrus peels: Before removing the peel from the fruit, use a zester or fine grater to zest or grate, and freeze for later use.
  11. Veggies with seeds: Save seeds for planting (I’ve had success doing this with green beans, peas, summer and winter squash, basil, melons, and tomatoes – green beans, peas, and tomatoes have been the most successful).
  12. Bread crusts: Freeze and use for croutons, bread crumbs, and Baked French Toast.
  13. Coffee grounds: Add to the compost pile to bump up the nitrogen.
  14. Parmesan cheese rinds: Add them to stews and bean dishes – they’ll add a nutty parmesan richness and can be discarded before serving.
  15. Pasta water: Near the end of the cooking time add 1/2 to 1 C of the starchy water that your pasta has been cooking in to the sauce. It will help the sauce stick to the pasta.
  16. The last few tablespoons of yogurt: Use them to make your own homemade yogurt.


I think I’m going to try the cauliflower stem pasta(#4) and the citrus zest freeze (#10). What are you going to try? Do you have any other scrappy tips??

Author Cassandra Varberg

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