No matter how conscious we may be of how long certain foods last, our portion sizes, and our efforts to eat up all those leftovers, the reality is that food often still gets wasted. Unsurprisingly, it’s often in the form of scraps.
Food scraps are especially difficult to minimize for plant-based foods. Preparing all sorts of fruits and veggies means that inedible parts such as leaves, stems, stalks, skins, and cores end up in the trash.
With a little creativity, however, practically anyone can scale down their food scraps to very little or almost nothing. Here are just five great ways to do exactly that.
Make your own compost pile.
It’s spring, meaning it’s the perfect time to start composting. The nutrient-dense soil produced by a compost pile is ideal for enriching indoor plants, outdoor plants, lawns, gardens, and whatever else you want to grow. Composting is as easy as gathering enough material for a 3-foot deep pile and then laying down alternate layers of green materials (such as food scraps) and brown materials (such as dead leaves).
Nourish your body.
Believe it or not, food scraps make great ingredients for DIY beauty regimens. Old coffee grounds, for example, can be used to gently exfoliate your skin while banana peels can be rubbed on your teeth to improve their whiteness. You can also take various nutrient-dense food scraps and blend them together in a mixer or blender to use as a nourishing face mask.
Whip up some homemade broth.
When it comes to making your own broth, almost anything goes. All the bits of veggies you don’t use can be tossed into a pot along with some water and any herbs or spices of your choice to make a highly nutritious vegetable broth. And if you eat meat, such as chicken, you can even save the bones to make your own bone broth, which will be full of minerals that can help heal your gut.
Regrow your fruits and veggies.
If you save the seeds, pits, and stalks of some fruits/veggies and herbs, they can be replanted and regrown into brand new ones that could keep growing forever as long as you take care of them. Fruits/veggies and herbs that you can regrow include green onions, regular onions, carrots, celery, set potatoes, leeks, boo choy, avocados, lemons, pineapples, ginger, basil, lemongrass, garlic, rosemary, lemon balm, and mint leaves.
Infuse your water.
For a cool and refreshing twist on regular water, add some flavor without any extra calories or chemical-based ingredients by taking old food scraps and adding them to a regular pitcher or a fruit infuser. Save those pieces of fresh ginger you didn’t use or those lemon peels and throw them into your pitcher or fruit infuser along with some water. Refrigerate for at least an hour or so before enjoying a glass of naturally flavored water. Here are several fruit-infused recipes to consider trying.
All of the above food scrap ideas are wonderful ways to give back to the Earth and to yourself. So save your scraps and pick one you’re interested in trying out!