1. Carrot Top Sauces
While you should be careful with any wild carrot tops, as some can be poisonous, the tops of carrots from the store are safe to use in place of common herbs like parsley for dips and sauces. You can add carrot tops to homemade pesto for more flavor or as a swap for basil if you don’t have any on hand. Carrot tops are also great for making gremolata, a garlicky, zesty green sauce or chimichurri, a simple sauce that goes great with many meat dishes.
2. Flavorful Broths
Stow away all types of veggie scraps, from carrot peelings to onion skins, in your freezer to make the most flavorful broths. Once the scrap container has filled up with your veggie scraps over the course of a few weeks, add them to a pot and saute for a few minutes, then cover with water to make broth. You can also add in bones from meat prep or parmesan rinds to flavor your broth
3. Veggie Chips
Beet, potato, sweet potato, carrot and other vegetable peels make for tasty veggie chips. Toss these veggie skins in some olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and your favorite spices, then bake them in the oven or air fry them until crispy. You’ll end up with a much more delicious alternative to store-bought snacks.
4. Candied Citrus Peels
Citrus peels hold a lot of bright, zesty flavors, and you can actually make tasty homemade treats with these fruit scraps. Boil the peels in a mixture of one part water to about two parts sugar, then set them to simmer for about an hour until the liquid becomes syrupy. Strain out the citrus peels, toss them in sugar, then let them dry out on a wire rack for 24 to 48 hours. Then, you can dip them in chocolate or enjoy as-is.
5. Cauliflower or Broccoli Rice
Cauliflower rice has become popular in recent years, and while you can find it at the store, it tends to be a little expensive when you realize you can make it for virtually nothing. You can also make a broccoli rice for little money just by grating these firm veggie stalks. The result? An easy rice alternative made using scraps that otherwise would have gone into the trash.
6. Simple Syrups
Simple syrups are a smart way to use up a wide variety of fruit scraps. From apple cores to strawberry tops to citrus peels, any number of fruit scraps can be boiled with sugar and water to make simple syrup. Once the liquid thickens to your desired consistency, strain out the scraps, let the liquid cool then place it in a sealable container.
7. Strawberry Top Beverages
Many people cut off the tops of strawberries and toss them, but they are actually edible. You can blend them into smoothies or add them into a cup of steeping tea for a sweet flavor boost. Even adding some strawberry tops to a glass of water can give you a flavorful drink. As an added bonus, strawberry leaves have plenty of nutritional benefits, including antioxidants, vitamin C, iron and caffeic acid, which can relieve inflammation.
Have you ever thought about using your leftover food scraps?