Get creative with food scraps
If you’re interested in making your weekly shop go further, here are some tips and ideas to get you started.
4 minutes to read
Cooking with scraps
An effective way to reduce food waste is by creating delicious recipes with peel, seeds, ends, and leaves.
Carrot top pesto
A delicious alternative to the basil variety, this carrot top pesto recipe from Fork In The Road is a fantastic way to use up the green tops of carrots. It can easily be made plant-based by using dairy-free parmesan or nutritional yeast. This is also a very good reason to go and buy carrots with their tops intact from your local greengrocer, rather than the pre-cut supermarket variety.
Crispy potato peelings
These spicy potato peel crisps from Vegan On Board are SO moreish and delicious, you’ll be making them all the time and wondering what to do with all the leftover peeled potatoes you end up with.
Make sure the spuds are scrubbed thoroughly!
Banana peel sandwich – yes banana peel!
Believe it or not banana peel recipes such as this pulled pork-style sandwich are actually pretty yum, and nutritious! Don’t fancy eating it? Banana peel can also be used as a hair mask, attracting butterflies and for cleaning houseplants!
Make sure the peel is washed thoroughly before eating!
Stock from vegetable food “waste”
It’s surprisingly easy to make a batch of homemade vegetable stock using cooking scraps you’ve collected over a few days. This recipe from Oh My Veggies is really simple and you can mix up the scraps you use depending on what you have. Also, this tastes SO much better than the shop-bought variety.
Whether it’s from a pumpkin, a butternut squash or a melon, most seeds can be tossed in oil and seasonings, then roasted into a tasty snack, or to be used to sprinkle on risotto or pasta dishes or as an addition to homemade cereal bars.
We love this recipe from The Spruce Eats for roasted watermelon seeds, and these sugar and spice roasted squash seeds from Teaspoon of Spice. Seeds are also nutritional powerhouses, containing loads of good-for-you macronutrients and vitamins. So don’t throw them, roast them!
Most seeds can be tossed in oil and seasonings and be roasted into a tasty snack, or to be used to sprinkle on risotto or pasta dishes or as an addition to homemade cereal bars. I love this recipe from The Spruce Eats for roasted watermelon seeds, and these sugar and spice roasted squash seeds from Teaspoon of Spice. Seeds are also nutritional powerhouses, containing loads of good-for-you macronutrients and vitamins. So don’t throw them, roast them!
Aquafaba – magical chickpea water
Aquafaba is a great egg alternative that can be whipped to create beautiful meringues or meringue cream, and chocolate mousse. Or if you’re more of a savoury fan, you can use it to make delicious egg-free mayonnaise and quiche! Food blogger Let’s Eat Smart has some amazing ideas on her site – well worth a look.
Regrowing from food scraps
Here are some of the easiest things to regrow from your kitchen scraps:
Cabbages, lettuces and bok choi
Leave about 2.5cm of the base of the lettuce, cabbage or bok choi, place it in a bowl of shallow, slightly warm water and you’ll start to see new shoots appearing in as little as 2 days! Then, when the leaves get big enough, snip them off to use in your salads and stir fries.
A bok choi after just 36 hours in a dish of water!
My bok choi after just 36 hours in a dish of water!
Cut about 3 cm from the base and put in a small amount of water in direct sunlight. Once you have a good growth of leaves forming (this usually takes about a week to 10 days), you can plant in soil and watch it grow into fully-fledged celery!
Keep a small part of your ginger root, and plant it, buds-upwards in some potting soil. Once you notice new shoots after 1-2 weeks, you can pull it back up to cook with again!
We’re not actually regrowing the carrots themselves here, but if you’re keen on making the carrot top pesto mentioned above, you can put your chopped-off carrot tops into a shallow dish of water and watch the greens regrow.
Onions and spring onions
For spring onions, just place in water in a sunny spot as above. You can pot them in potting soil once they’ve started to regrow for a higher yield. For white or red onions, place the cut-off root and around 2cm of the bottom of the onion straight into potting soil in a sunny area and hey presto, new onions!
Remember to keep an eye on your water levels and refresh the water as needed. Especially with spring onions. If you leave them in the same water for more than a day or so you’ll definitely be able to smell them!