No matter what you’re whipping up in the kitchen, food scraps are bound to appear, from vegetable stubs and peelings to skins and seeds. There are numerous creative ways to take the food waste you create and transform it into other tasty treats. Before you chuck the waste into the trash can, consider using some of these tips for repurposing food scraps in your kitchen.
Replanting Roots and Seeds
Most of the time, recipes ask you to deseed your ingredients. No matter the type of fruit or veggie, you can replant those discarded seeds and, in time, replenish your stock of ingredients. To prep your discards for the soil, quickly rinse them and pat to dry, and your seeds will be ready to embark on the next steps of rebirth.
You can also replant veggie ends, herbs, and rooted stubs. For veggie stubs such as the end of a carrot or head of lettuce, you can simply place them at the surface of some water—using toothpicks to hold them up—to regrow the roots. After a decent amount of roots have grown, you can transfer the stubs into pots.
Similarly, with fresh herbs and root vegetables such as lemongrass, cilantro, and spring onion, placing them in water allows them to regrow roots and become soil ready. Growing onions indoors is one of the easiest farm-to-kitchen processes to try at home, so make sure to save your onion scraps. Veggies such as potatoes and garlic sprout on their own over time, and they can then go straight into the soil.
Create Snacks and Stews
Another great way to repurpose seeds is to cook them. Pumpkin and squash seeds make delicious, crispy snacks when baked or roasted. After rinsing and drying them, put them in a bowl with a dollop of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt before putting them in the oven, frying them up in a skillet, or sticking them in an air fryer. Typically, they need to cook at around 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes; flip them halfway through the cooking time. When they’re done, add other spices to the seeds for additional flavoring, if you want.
Make Homemade Stock
Chuck all your veggie scraps into a pot of simmering water and create your own veggie stock. Simmering veggie scraps in water is a great way to repurpose food waste and save money in the kitchen. All kinds of food scraps—from onion skins to carrot peelings and veggie stubs—can make a satisfying vegetable stock. There are no real measurements for creating stock broth, but you do want to make sure there’s enough water to cover the scraps. Simmer the mixture for about 30 minutes and then strain the scraps and store the broth for later use.
Pro tip: broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts will add a bitter flavor to the mix, so make sure to avoid using these when you’re making homemade veggie stock out of your scraps. You can also make beef, chicken, and fish stock out of meat scraps using the same method as making the veggie stock.
There are numerous ways to repurpose your food scraps, from growing your own ingredients to creating homemade snacks and stock. Not only does repurposing your leftovers and chopping minimize food waste but it also saves you money and adds a personal touch to your cooking. So the next time you’re cooking up some food, make sure to save those scraps for later.