Fruit and Vegetable Scraps Don’t Have to Be Waste

By Maureen Wise in Thinking Sustainably

When preparing food, we often forget about parts like stems, stubs, peels, or leaves. Though they are typically discarded, there are many ways to make use of these fruit and vegetable scraps to help reduce waste and benefit both your family and the environment. We’ve already laid out some ways fruit peels can be reused, so here are a few techniques to utilize the rest of your produce waste.

Make Your Own Broth

This is an old and frugal idea but also a tasty one. When prepping your dinner, don’t just throw out the scraps—make them into broth! Save the ends and peelings of carrots, the stubs and skins of onions, celery leaves, mushroom stems, green bean points, and more. Continue to collect and freeze these items until you have a few cups, then boil together with about eight cups of water and your favorite herbs or seasonings, including (but not limited to, of course!) bay leaves, parsley, and thyme. Try sautéing garlic in olive oil and adding some salt and pepper to really bring out the flavors. After everything has cooked together for a couple hours, strain the liquid for a super flavorful broth perfect for soups and sauces. Avoid adding cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts, as these can create an intense bitterness.

carrot soup

You can also use carrot peelings to make carrot oil, which creates an unexpected, unique taste that tops off meals and salads nicely.

Regrow Your Fruits and Vegetables

There are lots of fruits and veggies that can be regrown from the roots or seeds after you eat the rest of them. Most produce contains visible seeds, and harvesting them is easy and a great way to regrow your food! Start with peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, and citrus fruits—even the tiny seeds in strawberries and raspberries will work. Once you’ve mastered that, try your hand with avocados and pineapples.

green onions

Alliums are the genus of bulbous herbs characterized by sheathing and a distinct odor—onions, leeks, and scallions will all regrow from their bulbs if the roots are left intact. Just planting a clove of garlic will work too! Carrots, lettuce, and turnips can grow roots from their stubs as well. Try soaking the bulbs and roots in water for a week or so before planting in soil.

Share With Wildlife 

Don’t worry if fruits or veggies get a little soft. Deer will love the old carrots or apples, and you can toss the apple cores out for them as well. Orange pith doesn’t taste good to you, but it’s a great snack for birds to nosh on. Leave them in the same spot each time to keep the animals coming back. Be sure to compost anything you don’t end up eating or sharing!

Create Homemade Beauty Products

Not all cosmetics have to come from a store. Like you already do with your fruit peels, leftover fruit leaves can be used to make a face mask, facial toner, and even potpourri.

What creative ways do you use your fruit and vegetable scraps? Let us know on Twitter!

Image sources: Flickr | Flickr | Flickr

This article was brought to you by Tom’s of Maine. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of Tom’s of Maine.

Why It’s Good

Making the most of all your food—and even food scraps—helps reduce not only waste but your carbon footprint as well. Keeping your kids in the loop will help make a positive impact on future generations.