Put a spin on food that you'd normally put straight in the garbage
Food waste in the United States has become a growing problem for our environment. Research shows that on average, 27% of all edible food is wasted every year in the U.S. The cost to not only manufacture this food, but also to dispose of the waste, is costing us billions of dollars every year. Help our economy, our ecosystem, and your wallet by being creative when it comes to throwing out your food. Here are some tips and tricks to make your trash go a long way.
Did you know you can eat citrus rinds? Really. They are a bit tangy and sour, but most people don't know you can eat and digest them. If you aren’t into eating straight lemon or orange rind, add a little citrus zest to your favorite dishes. Use a Microplane, or peel the rind into wide strips with a vegetable peeler (make sure you leave out the white pith). Citrus zest can be thrown in the freezer to cook and bake with later. Peels can also be cut into strips and candied, or can be thrown in a jar of booze to make super-easy digestifs, or used to decorate with. You can also put citrus zest in boiling water to give a little extra flavor to boiling or steaming vegetables. The possibilities are endless!
Many vegetables get chopped up and a lot of people throw out what they think they can’t use. It’s a great tip to keep a “stock bag” in your freezer for vegetable trimmings such as celery leaves, fennel tops, leek greens, asparagus ends, parsley stems, etc. When it’s full and you have a little spare time, dump it into a pot and simmer it for stock. Here's a quick and easy recipe for vegetable stock.
Ever have a dinner party and end up with random sizes of five different kinds of cheese? Don’t throw it out! Gather all your leftovers and make a delicious cheese dip in minutes. The great thing about this is that almost any kind of cheese will do, and its a great way to clean out your cheese drawer. Just toss all your cheese (cut into 1-inch cubes), a clove of garlic, 1/4 cup of white wine, and a couple tablespoons of butter into a food processor and blend until smooth. If you’re feeling daring, add a couple herbs to the mix (chives or parsley would work great). Serve immediately with crackers or bread. If you’ve got a hard old cheese ends with an unwaxed rind (Parmesan, for example), save it to throw into soup or a pot of beans for extra flavor.
Grease & Fat
Save your bacon grease! Pour it through a sieve into a clean jar, let it cool, and then refrigerate. You can use it to add flavor to potatoes, cook greens or eggs, or fry up a grilled cheese. And of course... you can always cook bacon with it. The same goes for chicken fat. After roasting a bird, use the same technique to pour off the fat, then use the leftovers to roast vegetables or fry meat.
Shrimp peels, mussel shells, fish ends, and crawfish shells make a quick and flavorful seafood stock. Add whatever leftover seafood bits you have laying around to a large pot with 8 cups of water and assorted chopped vegetables (onions, carrots, celery, etc.). Use this stock to make seafood soups like fish chowder or seafood gumbo.
You can eat potato peels just as you can eat lemon rinds. Roast them in the oven and dip in ranch dressing. Sprinkle with cheese and place under the broiler for quick potato skins. Or, add to that seafood and vegetable stock we mentioned earlier.
(Pssst! Did you know you can also use potato peels to highlight grey hair? Talk about a well-rounded meal.)
Once again, we mention something that can be used to flavor stock. However, that’s not the only thing you can do with leftover bones. Aside from letting your dog chew on them, throw a beef bone in your pot next time you make spaghetti sauce from scratch to give it an extra depth of flavor. Put chicken bones into your chicken noodle soup while it’s cooking to extract some of that chicken juice (don’t forget to take it out before you eat!). Or, put meat bones into a pot of cooking beans or lentils for an added punch
Article courtesy of The Planet Green