One of the easiest ways to make your plate more sustainable is to get into the habit of using up every last scrap of the fruits and vegetables you buy. Food waste makes up the second largest category of garbage that gets sent to landfills (second only to paper), where it generates methane, a greenhouse gas with more global warming potential than carbon dioxide.
Finding creative ways to use up the leaves, the stems, and the other parts of fruits and veggies that might otherwise get tossed also stretches your grocery dollars; when you can use the greens from your radishes as well as the radishes themselves, it’s like getting two veggies for the price of one.
Here are 12 ways to use up all your vegetable scraps:
- Put vegetable scraps in a zip-top freezer bag; when the bag is full, make vegetable stock.
- Use Swiss chard stems in place of celery in recipes.
- Speaking of celery, add celery leaves to soups and stews for a deep celery flavor boost. This works with herb stems, too. (You can make a bouquet garni if you want to make it easier to fish them out later.)
- If you need citrus juice for a recipe, zest the peel first and freeze it; likewise, if you need the zest, juice the fruit and freeze the juice. (Ice cube trays work great for this!)
- Put tomato scraps in a strainer over a bowl and use the juice in soups (or Bloody Marys!)
- You can chop up the green part of melon rinds (between the sweet flesh and the hard, outer shell) and use it in place of cucumbers in salads. Or pickle it!
- Deep fry (or bake, if you're being good) potato peels. Need we say more?
- Make "Clean Out The Fridge" vegetable soup—the recipe is in my free e-book.
- Purée veggie scraps to add to vinaigrettes.
- Throw veggie scraps (especially leafy greens!) into a smoothie.
- Re-use pickle juice to quick-pickle almost any veggie scraps.
- Collect veggie scraps and substitute them in a recipe like these vegetable tartlets.
What are your best tips for using every bit of vegetable scraps in the kitchen? Leave a comment below and share the one tip you plan to try this week!