Saving Money with Food Scraps-Scrappy Cooking

Have you heard of scrappy cooking? Scrappy cooking refers to using food scraps, like carrot tops, in your daily cooking rather than throwing them away in the trash. It is actually the trendy thing to do! Using food scraps cuts down on food waste, saves money, helps you to eat more vegetables and increase your nutrient intake all at the same time.


Easy examples of how to become a scrappy cooker:

  • Kale stems
    • Chop the kale stems into small pieces and add to your sauté, stir fry, eggs, and soups.
  • Broccoli stems
    • Cut off the broccoli tops and use as desired, then with a vegetable peeler take off the outside hard part of the stem (save to put into your vegetable broth stock *see below). Chop the inner broccoli stem into small piece or slices and use in your dish with the broccoli tops
  • Carrot tops
    • Use in your vegetable broth (*see below)
    • In a quick pesto to replace other greens or herbs
    • Add to your stir fry
  • Potato skins
    • Potato skins are edible, so leave them on while cooking if you can! They contain potassium, fiber, and other nutrients like vitamin C.
  • Onion skins
    • Use onion skins when you make your homemade vegetable broth (*see below) or soups. Onion skins are fully of antioxidants that help to reduce inflammation.
  • Orange peels
    • Zest the orange peel for a punch of flavor in any meal. Add orange zest to baked goods, pancakes, salad dressings, or as a garnish.
  • Liquid from a can of chickpeas (aquafaba)
    • Whip the liquid into a fluffy mousse
    • Use in smoothies instead of water
    • Use as a replacement for eggs in baking
  • Wilted herbs
    • Fill a large bowl with ice water and submerge wilted herbs for 15-20 minutes. The herbs should look refreshed and more crisp.
    • Blend herbs with your choice of oil to make a paste, then pour into an ice cube tray. Let freeze and transfer to a freezer bag or container to use in meals that call for herbs.
  • Stale bread
    • Make croutons by cutting the bread into cubes and roasting in the oven at 400°F for 10-15 minutes. Add seasoning as desired.
    • Cut the bread into slices or cubes and soak in an egg and milk mixture to make a french toast.
  • Cilantro stems
    • Use the stems like you would the cilantro leaf! The stems offer a pack of vitamins and minerals with a strong cilantro flavor.
  • Shriveled cherry tomatoes
    • Make sun dried tomatoes in the oven by roasting them at 200°F until the liquid has evaporated out.
  • Wrinkled fruits (apples, pears, peaches, strawberries, etc.)
    • Make fruit leather by blending fruit and spreading into a thin layer on a lined baking sheet, bake on 200°F until the liquid has evaporated out and you have a fruit leather.
    • Make a cobbler, crisp, or fruit pie! Slice the fruit and bake as usual.
    • Make fruit chips by slicing the fruit into thin slices and lay on a baking, bake on 200°F, flipping occasionally, until the liquid has evaporated out and you have a crisp fruit chip.


*The Go-To Homemade Vegetable Broth

  • Collect your vegetable scraps in a freezer bag or container. Once you have about 6-8 cups of frozen vegetable scraps, place them in a large stock pot. Cover the scraps with water and add a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour. Strain scraps from broth and use broth within 3-5 days, or freeze in a freezer container.
  • Examples of good vegetable scraps to keep: onion skins and tops, garlic skins, carrot skins and tops, zucchini, tomato, herb stems. Avoid adding too many cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli and kale, to reduce the bitterness of the broth. Avoid adding starchy vegetables, like potatoes.

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