How To Use Up Fruit and Vegetable Scraps
I'm a big fan of finding ways to reduce food waste, and there are so many ways to use parts of our food that bring new life (and new deliciousness) into what would normally go in the trash! I'm talking about veggie scraps - potato peels, carrot tops, apple cores, citrus rinds - all of it can be put to good use in your home, here are a few simple ways:
So many people swear by using homemade compost on their gardens, not only does it save on buying fertilizer at the store, but it's also a great way to teach little ones about gardening and nature.
A compost pile can be as simple or complex as you want it to be, starting with your 3 ingredients
"Browns" - dead leaves, branches, and twigs that can come from your yard
"Greens" - your veggie scraps as well as other waste from the kitchen like coffee grounds and eggshells, shredded paper, and grass or garden clippings
Water - you have to have enough water to keep your compost nice and damp for everything to get broken down
Start with your 3 ingredients all mixed together in a dry shady spot - either inside a compost bin or in a tidy pile, and use a rake or shovel to turn and mix the compost to keep things going. Your compost will be ready to use when the material turns a dark, rich brown color - it can take 6-8 weeks depending on how much you have!
The trick to making your own veggie broth is to plan for the future - most recipes won't give you enough scraps in one go to make a rich, full broth, so you'll need to stash your scraps in the freezer until you have a full gallon size freezer bag
You can save so many different bits and pieces and leftovers from other meal preparations, here's a quick guide:
Greens: save the tops from things like beets, carrots, parsnips, and fennel
Skins and vegetables: any kind of squash, green beans, bell peppers, mushrooms, garlic (especially garlic, if you're like me)
Herbs: dill, thyme, parsley, cilantro, basil, rosemary
Fill up a freezer bag with any combination of scraps or leftovers, then put them into your big stock pot and fill with water until your veggies float. Bring it to a boil and simmer for at least 30 minutes until it becomes beautiful and aromatic, then you can strain the broth and store it in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for 3 months
Hot tip: avoid things like broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts, because they can give a bitter taste
There is something so refreshing about peeling and enjoying citrus fruits - they're so vibrant and smell amazing! Who wouldn't want their house to smell so fresh all day, and get it clean with simple natural ingredients?
As for your veggie stock, this is all about saving up - you can stash peels from lemons,
limes, oranges, grapefruits, cuties, or tangerines in a mason jar. Once your jar is full, pour some plain white vinegar to fill it all the way up, close it tightly, and let it sit and infuse in a sunny spot for about 2 weeks. Strain out the citrus-infused vinegar and store your concentrate in a sealed jar in the pantry
To use that zesty concentrate to make an all-purpose cleaner - take a spray bottle and add 1/2 cup of your citrus-infused vinegar along with 2 cups of water. You can use this blend on so many surfaces, especially in the bathroom! Be careful with this cleaner on natural stone tiles or countertops because vinegar can cause pitting.