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Easy ways to use REAL kitchen scraps in RESOURCEFUL ways to reduce food waste.

Turn vegetable, meat and chicken scraps into stock.

Combine scraps (such as onion ends, celery tips, chicken bones, etc.), salt and water in a large pot or slow cooker and heat for a few hours until flavor has developed. Strain and store in the refrigerator or freezer.

Simmer and scent with citrus.

Use citrus peels to make fresh simmering pots for an all-natural room freshener. Toss any citrus peel (orange, lemon, lime or grapefruit) into a large pot of water, bring to a boil, then simmer for fragrance, adding water as needed. Feeling fancy? Add cinnamon, vanilla, cloves or cranberries to the pot, too.

Transform berries into decadent syrup.

Past-their-prime berries (think soggy, not moldy) still have some delicious life left. Any assortment of berries can become a burst of flavor for pancakes, waffles or even ice cream, by adding one cup of berries, ½ cup sugar and ½ cup water to a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then mash until your berries have reached the desired consistency. Next, mix ½ tablespoon of cold water with ½ tablespoon of cornstarch and add to the berries. Boil for one minute, then remove from heat. Add a squeeze of lemon juice, and voila! Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

Snack on potato peel chips.

Once you have scrubbed, peeled and slaved away over a few potatoes, treat yourself to the perfect potato peel chip. Toss peels with oil and salt. Bake at 425°F on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper until they’re crispy, 15–20 minutes.

Bake bread heels into croutons.

Use up every slice of bread by turning heel slices into seasoned croutons that last for about a week in an airtight container. Cut slices into cubes and toss with oil, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Bake at 375°F on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper until golden brown, 15–20 minutes.

Regrow herbs and vegetables.

Certain vegetables and herbs, like green onions, chives, celery and Romaine lettuce, will regrow with just water and sunlight. Instead of throwing the bottoms away, place them in a jar of water in front of a window. For best results, change the water periodically and don’t let the water dry out.

Whitney Hemmer RD, LD

Whitney Hemmer RD, LD

Registered Dietitian

Whitney graduated from Iowa State University with a BA in Dietetics & is a member of the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, as well as the Iowa Dietetic Association. With a focus on overall health, wellness and counseling, she is well equipped to help you with your individual nutritional needs.

Click here for more information on our dietitians.

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