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14 Ways to Cook with Food Scraps

14 Ways to Cook with Food Scraps

Here in the U.S. we waste around 40 percent of the food we produce, and part of that happens in our very own kitchens. Check out some of these ways to bust food waste by cooking with food scraps!


You probably see citrus or apple peels and watermelon rinds as fodder for your compost, but you can actually get quite a bit of extra mileage out of your food scraps. We spend so much money on healthy, organic produce for our kitchens, and these food scrap reuses help you stretch your food budget by making using seemingly-inedible food scraps to make delicious food and drinks!

14 Ways to Cook with Food Scraps

Related Reading: 25 Ways to Reduce Food Waste

14 Ways to Cook with Food Scraps

1. Cook up Kale Stems – So many kale recipe call for removing the stems, but they’re totally edible and nutritious.

2. Apple Peel Jelly – Not into your house smelling like apples? Apple peels contain natural pectin, which makes them perfect for making jelly from scratch.

3. Apple Peel Tea – Got more apple peels than you can handle? Turn some of those leftovers into a comforting cup of tea.

4. Make Apple Cider Vinegar – I know! I should have called this article “wonderful uses for apple peels and other food scraps.” You can use apple peels and cores to make your own apple cider vinegar from scratch.

Related Reading: Health Uses for Apple Cider Vinegar

5. Make Infused Vinegar from Citrus Peels – Infused vinegar is a fun way to spice up your salads, or you can use it to make your own all purpose cleaner!

6. Use Coffee Grounds in the Garden – Just make sure you use them the right way. Anna Hackman at Green Talk has the deets on how to do this properly.

7. Make Sauce from Tomato Scraps – Do you have a pile of tomato skins and cores left over from a recipe? Turn them into yummy tomato sauce.

8. Cook Up Veggie Broth with Vegetable Peels – Skins, peels, woody stems, and other scraps from prepping veggies still contain a lot of flavor and nutrition. Turn them into an all-purpose veggie stock to make the most of them.

14 Usees for Food Scraps

Save the bottom of your celery stalk! Did you know that you can use them to grow more celery?

9. Grow More Food – Check out this list of food that you can re-grow from leftover scraps. Amazing!

10. Infuse Some Booze – The same method that you use for making infused vinegar (#5 on this list) works with alcohol! Experiment with fun combinations like grapefruit-infused gin or plum tequila.

11. Make Almond Flour – Almond flour is just finely ground up almonds, but you can also dry out the leavings from making almond milk and use them in recipes that call for almond flour!

12. Keep Leftover Kale Chips – Don’t you hate when you buy an expensive bag of kale chips and there are lots of crumbs of precious kale left in the bag? Save that shake and use it as a topping for mashed potatoes. You won’t be sorry.

Related Reading: 10 Superfood Kale Recipes

13. Pickle That Watermelon Rind – After enjoying a refreshing watermelon this summer, save the rinds to make southern-style sweet pickles. It may sound plain crazy, but I promise that they’re crazy yummy!

14. Stuff a Pillow with Cherry Pits – Clean your cherry pits and dry them out, then use them as stuffing for a soothing, warming pillow for aches and pains.

Do you have any recipes or other cool food scrap reuses? Let’s keep the ideas going in the comments!

Read more: Food, Green Kitchen Tips, Home, Reduce, Recycle & Reuse, Surprising uses for ..., , , , , ,

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Becky Striepe

Becky Striepe is a freelance writer and vegan crafter living in Atlanta, Georgia. Her life’s mission is to make green crafting and vegan food accessible to everyone! Like this article? You can follow Becky on Twitter or find her on Facebook!


+ add your own
4:55AM PDT on May 4, 2014

How about using citrus rinds to make candied peel?

10:14AM PDT on Apr 23, 2014

I use cherry stems and apple peals to make teas.
I scrape; new potatoes and carrots skins. When they are older I peel them and throw the peel away because I find that there is no way for me to wash it properly in order to use it for making broth.
How do you wash the potatoes, and carrots in order to use the peals?

7:13AM PDT on Apr 23, 2014

Thanks for sharing - lots of new stuff to try!

11:05AM PDT on Apr 20, 2014

I eat my apples with the peel on it. My apples aren't waxed. If you rinse them under hot water and wipe them,yours won't be either.

5:52PM PDT on Apr 18, 2014


6:10PM PDT on Apr 9, 2014

Nothing like filling spaces...

6:09PM PDT on Apr 9, 2014

Who wants wax in their apple jelly? Store bought apples are covered with it.

6:09PM PDT on Apr 9, 2014


6:08PM PDT on Apr 9, 2014


6:08PM PDT on Apr 9, 2014

Thank you!

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