I learned that the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that a family of four throws out roughly $1,500 worth of food each year. I guess our family is helping to keep that average down, because I think I do a great job of using up the food I buy. Any savory food scraps and peelings I have go into a bag to make broth. Fruit remains go into the compost pile, as does the occasional piece of rotten produce from larger bags or packages. However, I figure I can always learn how to do even better, so I was interested in some practical tips (and a few that I thought were offbeat) that came from chefs and restaurant owners:
- Fish heads: You can debone the head and make lettuce wraps with the meat. (I don't think I've ever bought a whole fish, but this is good to know)
- Carrot tops: If you mix them with leafy tops from other root vegetables, carrot tops can make the foundation of a pesto.
- Potato scraps: Are good for making potato pancakes.
- Kale stems: Can be turned into kale fries.
- Citrus juice: Makes a good kitchen cleaner, because it's biodegradable, nontoxic, and a good degreaser.
- Bones: Use to make soup.
- Plant scraps: Instead of throwing them into the broth bag, if you chop them they can become a veggie burger.. Or, if you have some wildflowers or leftover herb cuttings from your garden, you can add them to a jar of honey to flavor it.
- Protein trimmings: Extra meat trimmings can go into enchiladas, tacos or on top of homemade pizzas.