Who gives a (food) scrap!? 6 ways to reuse food
Zero waste means ZERO WASTE! From plastic packaging to learning how to reuse your food scraps...The adjustment truly begins in your kitchen. Now lets talk about food scraps, the odds & ends, the tops & butts...quit throwing your food out in the trash; we still have tons of awesome uses for it! As much as I wish everyone would or even could compost, it really isn't the only way to save food scraps from the trash!
What to do with your food scraps:
1. Compost. Composting is a full circle way to use your food scraps. Your leftovers decompose in your backyard & the result is the most decadent soil to use in your garden so you can minimize your need to go buy it in plastic bags from the store! There are several ways to compost at home using bins or by building your own out of scrap wood/pallets. One of my favorite homesteading blogs "Under A Tin Roof" has loads of articles about how to compost at home! Also, if composting at home isn't an option for you due to space or neighborhood rules, then maybe there is a community compost in your area that either has a drop off or pickup service...check litterless.com to see if there is a community compost in your area!
In St. Augustine, they are currently in the middle of switching to a new compost program so stay tuned! Jacksonville has a wonderful company called Apple Rabbit Compost that offers a pick up service. There is also a worm farm in town called GA Wigglers that offers composting workshops! Lots of great things happening in our area, more to come!
2. Vegetable broth! Still buying broth from the store? STOP wasting your money! This is a super easy & delicious way to repurpose your scraps. It can be frozen in glass jars (leave about an inch of space at the top) or in ice cube trays. Check out my Instagram page @thebiggreeninitiative for a step-by-step on how to make free, delicious, organic veggie broth at home!
3. Uses for coffee grounds: Here are 10 clever uses from Farmers Almanac*:
1- As an exfoliant for your skin
2- Add to houseplants to aerate soil & increase nitrogen
3- Place ground in fridge to neutralize odors
4- A natural de-icer for your sidewalk & driveway
5- Dye- soak for an "antique" sepia appearance for Easter eggs or as watercolor
6- Blind baking a pie shell
7- Scour pots & pans to remove stubborn caked-on food
8- Snail, slug & cat repellent in the garden
9- Steroids for your carrot crop- they will grow larger & sweeter!
10- Clean & deodorize your garbage disposal (not recommended daily)
4. Citrus Infused Vinegars. DIY Alert! Simply save your peels as you eat them in a quart (easier to remove the peels after) size glass jar in the fridge & when full, fill with white vinegar. Let it "brew" (lid on) for 1-2 weeks. Then cut it 50/50 with water, funnel into your amber glass spray bottles & use it to clean...well almost everything! A non-toxic cleaner to use on your (non-porous) countertops to glass to the toilet... this one is so versatile!
5. Replant the tops & bottoms! This is so fun & easy for the whole family to get involved! here are my favorite veggies to replant:
1- Chives & Green onions: Simply save the white base, about 2 inches, with the roots attached & pop them in a pot of soil, leaving the top sticking an inch or so out of the soil. These can be grown indoors near a sunny window or outside in your yard.
2- Onions: same as #1, except do not need to leave any sticking out of the soil. Keep in a sunny area
3- Pineapple: Twist off the top, cut off 3-4 layers of the bottom leaves, stick it in a cup with water, making sure the bottom is submerged in H2O, wait until roots appear then plant in sandy, well draining soil. Full Sun. Do very well in pots!
4- Lettuce, Swiss Chard, Cabbage & Bok Choy: chop off the bottom, place in shallow bowl of water until roots & new leaves appear, then plant in soil!
5- Celery: same as #4 group :)
6- Sweet potatoes: save the "eyes" of the potato, or leave the entire sweet potato to sit for 2-3 weeks until they sprout little green leaves. Cut out the sprouted (or non sprouted) eyes and gently place a in small lid of water. When 4-5 leaves & some roots appear, plant directly in the ground or can be grown in pots. Used as an ornamental for its vibrant green leaves.
7- Potatoes: same as sweet taters
8- Fennel: similar to celery, except wait until they have a well established, strong root system
6. Egg Shell Powder: Egg shells are full of calcium (also small amounts of potassium, magnesium & sodium), a vital nutrient for plants to thrive! To make this magical powder, simply wash your shells with soap & water after breakfast, place them in a large bowl with a towel on the bottom, wait until your bowl is full & the shells are totally dry. Then, remove the towel & crush the shells to tiny pieces. Throw them into the blender or food processor to quickly turn them to powder. Save in a jar until you plant your garden & sprinkle into the soil. Can also be used to sprinkle onto soil around adult plants, teenager seedlings, or simple sprinkle on your lawn to let the soil soak up all those good nutrients.