Wondering what to do with food scraps without composting them? Whether you simply don’t have access to compost facilities or you’re just looking for new waste-fighting ideas, these food scrap recipes will change the way you look at leftovers for good.
It’s no secret that food waste is a big problem, with more than 40% of food in America going to waste each year. The good news is that fighting food waste in your home is also one of the easiest ways to make a very positive environmental impact. By keeping food waste out of landfills, you reduce methane emissions and instead can contribute to healthy soil. And saving your scraps is easier (and tastier) than you think.
If you’re excited to make your home a food-saving haven, but aren’t quite sure where to start, consider the leftover bits of food that you toss on a daily basis. Many of those scrappy bits that you automatically toss while cooking are actually the perfect ingredients for some amazing dishes. And, the peels and rinds of many fruits and vegetables often contain more nutrients than the parts that we usually eat. Talk about a win-win, right? Dive into the world of repurposed ingredients with these eight simple food scrap recipes.
What to do with food scraps without composting
It’s easy to feel like composting is the only way to put your food scraps to good use, but that’s not true. These simple food scrap recipes give your leftovers a new life, with no composting facilities needed. So, no matter where you live, you can start fighting food waste today.
How to recycle food waste at home: 8 Food Scrap Recipes
This easy food scrap recipe: Veggie Scrap Broth
It’s a common occurrence: you’ve just finished chopping up a mix of vegetables for your next meal, and you’re left with a pile of odds and ends that didn’t make the cut. While tossing peels, carrot tops, and other veggie ends into your dish might not be appetizing, that doesn’t mean they’re trash. Instead, use your vegetable scraps to make a simple broth. Just add all your leftover pieces to a crock-pot (or a large pot on the stovetop), pour 5-7 cups of water over them, and let it simmer for several hours. To boost flavor, you can add salt, pepper, and other herbs. Once the broth has gained a light color and flavor, simply strain out the food scraps. Store your broth in a glass jar and use it the next time you make a soup or sauce!
There are some food scraps that you definitely won’t want to eat yourself (like eggshells). But your plants, on the other hand, might feel differently. Food scrap “tea” is easy to make and gifts your plants with a nutrition boost that helps them grow and blossom. Here’s how to make it. Place a mix of food scraps (banana peels, onion skin, eggshells, and coffee grounds are especially good for this) in a glass jar with a well sealing lid, add water, and let it sit for 3-5 days. Then, strain out the “tea.” Use one part of scrap tea with four parts of water the next time your plants are feeling dry.
Transform fruit waste into tasty drinks
Don’t toss out those citrus peels or apple cores just yet! Instead, use these leftover bits to flavor future concoctions. Try this recipe to turn citrus rinds into a fruity syrup that’ll take cocktails (or mocktails) to the next level. Or, use apple peels and cores to season your next batch of whiskey for a sustainable burst of flavor. And of course, don’t forget how delicious fruit-infused water can be. For a refreshing blend, toss lemon or lime peels, mint stems, and cucumber peels into a pitcher of water and let it sit for a few hours before drinking.
Incorporate foods scraps into your cooking
The next time you’re preparing a meal, consider what you’re leaving off your plate, and why. The sad reality is that many pieces of food waste are in fact fresh and full of flavor, but they’re not traditionally used in cooking. Think potato peels and broccoli and cauliflower stems. These food scraps can easily be incorporated into your cooking. Consider making potato peel crisps or cauliflower rice to save these pieces of produce from the trash.
Image courtesy of What’s Cooking Good Looking.
Speaking of using discarded but perfectly usable food scraps, try one of our favorite food scrap recipes to turn your broccoli stems into a crunchy appetizer. It’s amazing what a new shape and a few simple ingredients can do, isn’t it? While this recipe calls for broccoli stems, you can easily use the same technique to save cauliflower stems, too.
Use leftover bread ends for homemade breadcrumbs
Did your loaf of bread go stale? Or perhaps your family can’t be convinced to eat those end pieces. Regardless, you can easily keep any leftover bread from going to waste by turning it into breadcrumbs. Tear bread into small pieces, place them in a blender or food processor, and blend until you’re left with fine crumbs. Then, store them in the freezer until you’re ready to use them.
Make vegan “egg” whites
This food scrap-saving tip is a win-win if you’re looking for a vegan substitute for egg whites. Did you know that the leftover liquid in cans of chickpeas, called aquafaba, is a perfect vegan “egg white?” And we should clarify- while aquafaba is most commonly known as the liquid found in cans of chickpeas, you also make it when you soak legumes at home. So don’t toss that water, either. Beyond using aquafaba for an egg white substitute, you can use it to make a ton of unique recipes, too.
Yep, you read that right. This quick recipe utilizes one of the most common pieces of leftover produce to make a tasty and unexpected treat. In addition to keeping all those citrus peels out of the garbage, this recipe features savory turmeric, a powerful spice that gives great flavor and is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Try this recipe if you’re new to scrap cooking- it’s easy, tasty, and sure to win you over!
This food scrap recipe will transform the way you think about banana peels forever. Rather than tossing these leftovers into the trash, use a mix of soy sauce, garlic powder, and maple syrup to turn them into the perfect bacon substitute. And this recipe is a true win-win for fighting food waste because it works best with very ripe banana peels. So, the next time your forgotten bananas go brown, peel them and toss the fruit into a freezer bag to use in your next smoothie, then try out this one-of-a-kind recipe with the peels.
While composting is a fantastic way to reduce food waste, it’s not accessible to everyone. And whether you have compost or not, we hope that these tips for what to do with food scraps without composting encourage you to think twice before tossing out your leftovers.
Did we miss one of your favorite food scrap recipes? Let us know in the comments!