Many of us are stuck in the conventional ways of food prep — throwing out rinds, tossing away stems and peeling off the skin. Without knowing it, we’re discarding the best parts of fruits and veggies. In fact, some of the least thought about pieces have the most nutrition and flavor. 70% of household food waste in the UK could have been eaten.
This not only represents a huge waste of money
Next time you’re cooking, make use of these nutritious scraps.
1) Citrus Peel
Before you peel that orange, stop. First, grab a cheese grater to zest the peel. If you don’t have an immediate use for it, store it in the freezer in a zip-top freezer bag for later use. “Rather than throwing away that lemon, orange, or even grapefruit peel, I use every piece of it as a zest for marinades, homemade salad dressings, and baked goods!” says Angie Asche, MS, RD, a sports dietitian in Lincoln, NE. “Citrus peels contain vitamin C and fiber, making them both a flavorful and nutritious food scrap.” Add citrus zest to anything from flavored water to French toast, fruit-based “nice cream,” and baked dessert rice. Learn about other foods you didn’t know you could freeze.
2) Chicken Bones
Did last night’s dinner include chicken drumsticks or bone-in thighs? Don’t toss those bones in the garbage! You can use them to make homemade chicken stock—and it will be way better than a store-bought version. Just boil the bones, along with the herbs of your choice, and then reduce the water to a simmer. When it’s done, you’ll have a flavorful base for soups or stews.
3) Herb stems
Did you strip the leaves off of an herb to use in a recipe? You can still get some flavor out of the stems, too! “Herb stems add great flavor when making a homemade broth, like for using in my chicken noodle soup recipe,” Jawad says. “In fact, the entire broth is made up of scraps of outer layers of onions, carrots, and celery leaves.” What a delicious way to prevent food waste!
4) Strawberry stems and leaves
Strawberry stems and leaves are often treated unfairly, (there’s even a special stem removal tool) but people don’t know they are eliminating a very nutritional part of this fruit that is rich in antioxidants,
anti-inflammatories, cardioprotective elements, and neuroprotective properties. If you don’t like the taste and texture, just blend everything together in your smoothie and enjoy it.
5) Banana peels
Throwing away banana peels is almost an instinctual act, and although they can taste a bit bitter and tough while raw, eating them can really benefit your health since they’re rich in potassium, magnesium, and calcium. A good idea is to make banana peel bacon, a delicious solution that even kids will want to try.
6) Watermelon rinds
Watermelon is always a go-to snack in the summer, but the rind is usually left in the compost bin, with the white flesh intact. Citrulline, the nutrient in the white flesh is super powerful at fighting free radicals, preventing cancer and improving blood circulation. Some people even believe it to be a natural Viagra! Next time watermelon is on the table, remember to eat the white part too, or blend it up with some lime and mint for a refreshing beverage.
7) Zucchini flowers
While zucchini flowers are popular in some countries, like Italy, the rest of the world doesn’t look at them in the same way. Very delicate and smooth, if your zucchini is flowering, consider making a classic Italian dish instead of just throwing it away.
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