How to Transform Food Scraps Into Innovative Dining

Looking to save money and innovate home cooking? Then these food waste recipes and leftover food tips are a must try!

How to Transform Food Scraps Into Innovative Dining

One man's trash is another man's treasure. In this case, one man's food scraps can be artfully transformed into fine dining!

Instead of wondering "What can I make with the food I have?" turn to tasty food waste recipes that create scrumptious dishes from cooking with scraps. Read on to discover delicious ways to repurpose food scraps for revolutionary meals.

Clever Ways to Cook With Scraps

Food scraps make up a significant portion of the world's waste. Finding ways to repurpose parts of plants, produce, and food packaging can help alleviate the environmental impact that food scraps have on the environment.

Composting is not the only option. What is originally destined for the waste or compost bin can be repurposed into a delicious dish.

What's more, leftovers are often thought of as lackluster. Instead of letting leftovers go to waste, transform ordinary scraps into extraordinary meals.

Need some inspiration to get started? Use these 17 clever ideas for food scraps.

1. Brew a Broth or Soup

Homemade broth utilizes vegetable and meat scraps. Inexpensive yet rich in taste, many say homemade broth is better than store-bought brands. Savor sweet nutrients from the following:

• Carrot tops and peels
• Celery leaves
• Onion skins
• Mushroom stems
• Green onion ends
• Broccoli stalks
• Kale stalks

One advantage of making soups and broths from scraps is that the scraps can be frozen until a large enough amount accumulates. Broth is very versatile and can be used as an ingredient for soup, stew, stuffing, and gravy.

2. Produce Potato Chips from Peels

Healthier, homemade potato chips can be made from the scraps of a potato peel. Use a healthy fat like olive oil, herbs like parsley, and but salt to liven leftover peels.

3. Save for Baked Goods

Bread pudding, stuffing, crumbs, and croutons can be made from the less desirable parts of stale bread. Save ends and crusts in an airtight freezer container until enough has accumulated.

Croutons can be seasoned with powdered garlic, rosemary, black pepper, or powdered onion. Do not limit these crunchy bites to salads! Add croutons to soups and casseroles, too.

4. Make Liquid Infusions

Food scraps can be transformed into luscious infusions. Olive oils, liquors, and water can be flavored with what would normally be food waste.

Try making infusions out of the following zests:

• Oranges
• Lemons
• Grapefruits
• Limes
• Tangerines

5. Mince and Freeze Herbs

Before going bad, mince herbs and freeze the leftover scraps. Save them in oil or water prior to expiring. They can be used to flavor future dishes.

An easy way to freeze herbs is to pour broth (or other liquid) in with the herbs. Use ice cube trays to freeze the herb-infused liquid. Then, when ready to use, pop out however many cubes are needed!

6. Craft with All-Natural Dye

Scraps can be made into authentic dyes. Use colorful scraps from the following produce and produce parts to make natural dyes:

• Beet ends
• Red cabbage
• Yellow onions
• Spinach

7. Sew a Seed

Start something new by planting a seed or composting food scraps for use in the garden. Many pits and seeds from fresh produce can be replanted. Try planting the following "unusable" parts of the plant:

• Tops of pineapples
• Seeds of lemons
• Pits of plums
• Pits of peaches
• Pits of avocados

8. Turn Pumpkin Insides Out

The inside of a pumpkin can be repurposed into a blended puree, which is perfect for baked goods and recipes. Did someone say pumpkin pie or protein shake?!

Making use of pumpkin seeds is another way to use the entire pumpkin straight to the core.

9. Look to the Leaves

The leaves atop many foods do not deserve the trash! Instead, these ingredients can be saved and used in dishes like hummus or pesto. For example, the following items have greens that can be made into delicious dips or dishes:

• Beets
• Radishes
• Celery
• Carrots
• Turnips

Sauté the leaves of kale, collards, or other leafy greens to add extra fiber to the diet. Toss them in seasonings and a bit of oil for a nutrient-rich addition.

10. Use Blackened Bananas

Over-ripe bananas contain higher levels of natural sugar. They also contain antioxidants, making them both nutrient-rich and a great addition to sweet, healthy treats. Use ripened bananas in the following recipes:

• Smoothies
• Baked goods
• Muffins
• Pancakes
• Breads
• Frozen desserts

Another pro tip: Use the banana peel to fertilize any plants or garden!

11. Repurpose for Pickling

Leftover pickle brine is a perfect starting point. Virtually any vegetable can be pickled and canned with leftover brine. Try the following:

• Green beans
• Artichokes
• Onions
• Cucumbers
• Hard Boiled eggs
• Watermelon rinds

Spices can also be added to the pickling mix. Try favorites like ginger, cinnamon, peppercorn, or cloves.

12. Turn Tomatoes into Something Tasty

Tomato peels, cores, and juices can easily be made into a tasty sauce. Simply start by blending the discarded parts together. Then, simmer with desired oils and spices.

Leftover tomato paste can also be frozen. Most recipes call for a small amount. Scoop the excess into a reusable, freezer-safe bag (such as a ZipTop container) for use up to 3 months later.

13. Jumpstart Jams

Use food scraps for delicious jams. The following parts of fruit can be used to make jam:

• Apple peels
• Apple cores
• Strawberry tops
• Apricot peels

14. Turn Trash Bag Peels into Tea Bag Picks

Apple peels can be turned into delicious sweet apple tea. Orange peels are also a great candidate to flavor tea.

Simply add the peels (dried or fresh) to water and bring it to a boil. Add in spices as desired, and simmer for around 10 minutes. To adjust the taste, continue to leave it on the heat, add lemon, or use a natural sweetener like honey.

15. Try Twice Brewed Tea Bags

Did you know tea bags can be used twice? Try putting a couple of used tea bags together, which will result in a strong brew that rivals a brand new bag.

16. Use for Flours

Making homemade nut milk, such as almond milk? Dry the leftover pulp using the oven. Then the nuts can be ground into flour.

17. Waste-Free Wine

Old wine can be used in simmering dishes. For example, delicious stews and risottos can be created with old wine.

Reducing Food Waste Recipes

Make the most of fruits, vegetables, and more by putting these tips to use! The following recipes can use food scraps or older ingredients to make delicious dishes.

Bone Broth

Bone broth is a great way to use leftover bones, meat, seasonings, and vegetable scraps. Beyond reducing food waste, homemade bone broth can be part of a balanced diet. Besides, the health benefits linked to bone broth include improved bone, skin, and digestive health.

Pumpkin Puree

Puree made from pumpkin "guts" can be turned into digestion-friendly snacks. As fall approaches, there are more and more recipes calling for pumpkin puree. Pumpkin puree is a delicious ingredient because it can be either sweet or savory.

Mac & Cheese

Use on-the-edge old cheese in a more traditional or King Ranch chicken macaroni and cheese. It has so many delicious flavors that spice up the taste of almost expired cheese.

Just make sure the cheese is safe to eat (i.e. no mold or spoilage) before tossing it in with the other ingredients.

The Final Word on Transforming Food Scraps

When it comes to making the most of food scraps, know that composting is not the only option. Food scraps can be repurposed into delicious meals using innovative food waste recipes.

No more asking, "What can I make with the food I have?"

References:

Picincu A. Do Overripe Bananas Still Have Nutritional Value? Livestrong.com. Published October 23, 2019. https://www.livestrong.com/article/519389-do-overripe-bananas-still-have-nutritional-value/.

Joseph K. Ways to transform food scraps. Deccanherald.com. Published June 4, 2021. https://www.deccanherald.com/metrolife/metrolife-on-the-move/ways-to-transform-food-scraps-993894.html.

Kehres N. 8 Ways to Transform Your Food Scraps Into Something Other Than Waste. Spoonuniversity.com. https://spoonuniversity.com/how-to/8-innovative-ways-to-use-food-scraps.

Lauren. 30 Clever Ways to Use Food Scraps. Zerowastememoirs.com. Published February 8, 2021. https://zerowastememoirs.com/baby-step-17-food-scraps/.

Link R. 14 Creative Ways to Use Food Scraps. Healthline.com. Published May 27, 2021. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/uses-for-food-scraps.

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