Did you know that kitchen scraps don’t necessarily have to be thrown away, and that they can be used in so many different ways? Let’s find out how to reduce food wastage by maximising kitchen scraps creatively!
When talking about reducing and recycling food waste, the first thing that comes to mind is composting. While composting is an excellent way to recycle waste, it’s not always the most accessible for city folks like us. But here’s the good news - composting is not the only way to reduce food waste. In this article, I am going to share with you 9 fun and creative ways to maximise the use of kitchen scraps -
- Pickle watermelon rinds: Most people tend to throw away watermelon rinds, but they actually make for a great snack! Remove the green skin, but leave the white part. Chop the rinds lengthwise and simmer the pieces in a vinegar, water, salt and sugar mixture until soft. Once done, allow it to cool completely. Transfer to a glass jar and store it in the refrigerator for a crunchy, delicious snack!
- Make croutons from stale bread: If you have a few days old bread that’s gone stale (but still not developed mold), then it’s the perfect time to make croutons out of it. Simply chop the bread into small cubes and fry/toast it. This makes for the perfect addition to soups and salads. You can even pulse it in the mixture to make homemade breadcrumbs.
- Homemade veggie stock: When you chop veggies for your next meal, make sure to save those skins, tops and other trimmings to make a nutritious veggie stock. It’s really simple, but packed with so much flavor and nutrition. All you need to do is add all the vegetable trimmings into a large pot filled with water. Bring it to a boil, lower the heat and allow it to simmer for about 20 minutes. And done! I have an article on how I make my own veggie stock at home, so make sure to read that.
- Freeze leftover herbs: Herbs go bad really quickly, which can lead to so much unnecessary food wastage. But freezing any excess herbs is an excellent way to increase their shelf life. Most herbs, if frozen correctly, can easily last for anywhere between 3-6 months. Frozen fresh herbs can be added to so many things like soups, pasta, curries, and sauces.
Note: Every herb needs to be stored and frozen differently, making it a bit of a challenge especially if you are a beginner. But don’t worry I’ve got you covered! Read this article on how to extend the life of fresh herbs for some super useful tips and tricks!
- Use herb stems: Most Indian recipes call for some sort of a herb, but usually ask to use only the leaves. But did you know that stems of most herbs, especially coriander, kale, saag, etc. are really nutritious and full of flavour. They can be added to chutneys, sauces, and in tempering to add tons of flavor, while reducing waste.
- Coffee grounds as DIY homemade scrub: If you have a coffee machine, then don’t throw away those coffee grounds. Instead mix them with some milk/cream to make yourself a homemade face scrub and mask. Coffee has rich antioxidant properties that help with puffiness, while the texture of coffee grounds make for a gentle and effective exfoliator.
Coffee grounds also make for a rich plant fertilizer that has so many benefits. Simply sprinkle coffee grounds directly onto the soil for faster growth, prevent insects, help with water retention, and so much more.
- Potato skin snack: There is no rule that says that potato skins should not be eaten! In fact, potato skins are rich in fiber and nutrients, making them an excellent addition to your daily diet. However, it’s totally understandable if you don’t want your curries to have skin-on potatoes. But here’s how you can use the peeled skin - make it into a crunchy snack! Spread out the potato skins on a tray, season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and fry until crunchy. Alternatively, you can bake or air fry the skins for a healthier version.
- DIY air freshener using homemade peel - Don’t throw away the peels of citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruit, sweet lime, lemon etc., instead use them to make a DIY air freshener. All you need to do is boil the peels in a bit of water to create a natural air freshener for your home.
- Eggshell powder as fertilizer - Eggshells are a rich source of calcium, which is necessary for healthy plant growth. Instead of tossing them away, here’s how you can use them to make a natural homemade fertilizer for your plants: Thoroughly wash the eggshells in running water to get rid of any smell and allow them to dry for about 2 days. After 2 days, transfer the dried eggshells to a mixture jar and grind until it becomes a fine powder. Sprinkle directly onto soil for a powerful, natural fertilizer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Vegetable consists of but is not limited to peels of vegetables like onions, potatoes, garlic, cucumbers, etc., the leaves of carrots, radish, etc., the stalks and stems of cauliflower, broccoli, kale and spinach, and any wilted or browned herbs.
If you do have the space to start a small kitchen composting, then it’s a great idea to start composting. You can buy a small compost bin that is easily available online and place it outside the window or in the dry area of your home.
Reducing kitchen waste and living more sustainably is really not difficult or complicated. It’s about being creative and making the most of every part of every ingredient. Making the most of kitchen scraps is not just a great way to reduce waste, but it is also really good for the planet. If you try any of these tips, make sure to leave a comment below or send me a DM on Instagram - I love hearing from you!