Did you know that up to 40% of the food produced in the U.S. ends up in the trash? That’s about a pound of food per person, per day! That statistic has been on my mind a lot since it came to my attention a couple of weeks ago. I know there’s more I can be doing to cut back on food waste, and I don’t think I’m alone in feeling that way!
But in researching for today’s post, I’ve realized that food waste is often less obvious than people think. Consider how many fruits and vegetables have parts that you remove and throw away just out of habit. (There’s probably a lot!) But many of those parts are either perfectly edible, or can be useful in some other way!
Today I’ll be sharing 9 types of food scraps and bits that you can either eat or save. Consider working these into your kitchen and cooking routines as a simple way to cut back on food waste!
9 Food Scraps You Should Save
1. Carrot Tops
The next time you buy a bunch of carrots, hang on to the greens! As surprising as it sounds, the carrot tops actually contain more vitamins than the carrots themselves. You can chop up the greens and sprinkle them on a salad, or add them to your next batch of pesto or chimichurri!
2. Beet Greens
The leafy tops of beets are full of calcium, iron, and vitamins A and C. Slice them up and sauté them as a quick and healthy side dish!
Hang on to your eggshells, because there are a lot of useful things you can do with them! You can use them for cleaning, gardening, and even for skin care. Learn how to clean them and use them by following the link below!
4. Broccoli Stems
Those hardy broccoli stems are packed with fiber and antioxidants! My favorite way to eat them is to just grate them up into a delicious broccoli slaw. Grate a carrot too, then toss the grated broccoli and carrot with some oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. This simple slaw is delicious on top of pulled pork and barbecued chicken!
5. Cucumber Skins
As long as you wash a cucumber before eating it, there’s really no reason to remove the skin. Cucumber skins contain lots of vitamin K, which helps support healthy eyes.
6. Banana Peels
You can steep banana peels in a cup of hot water to make banana tea. Drink it right before bedtime to help promote restful sleep. You can also toss bits of banana peel into fruit smoothies for to add vitamins and fiber!
Related: How To Make Banana Tea For Insomnia
7. Citrus Peels
Before you juice a lime or lemon, or peel an orange to eat as a snack, zest the peel! You can store the zest in your freezer to use later for cooking. Sprinkle citrus zest into vinaigrettes and baked goods to add brightness and flavor!
8. Apple Skins
Apple skins are nutritious! If you don’t like to eat them along with the apple flesh, you can always store them in your freezer. Once you have about a jar’s worth of apple peels, you can use them to make your own apple cider vinegar! Get the directions at the link below.
9. Other Vegetable Skins, Stems, & Ends
Keep a gallon-sized ziplock bag in your freezer to collect veggie scraps including skins, stems, and ends. After a few weeks, you’ll have enough scraps to make a flavorful homemade chicken or vegetable stock! Here are some of the things you keep for stock:
- Onion and garlic skins
- Parsley and cilantro stems
- Outer leaves of cabbage
- Potato and carrot peels
- Celery tops
- Green onion bottoms
Get all the details about making your own homemade stock at the link below.