Reuse to Re-Fuse
24 Nov, 2013
Breathe new life into pesky food scraps
by Don Wang
Sometimes when you cook, doesn’t it feel like you throw more food away than what you actually use in the pot? Say goodbye to waste, this article will give you some tricks to reduce and reuse food scraps in cooking or even in daily life.
The fatty part of meats can be cooked to render out their fat, which packs a lot of flavour. Use in place of oil or butter as needed.
Everyone loves bacon, but bacon grease needs some love too. Store the grease in a re-sealable jar, and you can use it to fry up some mean scrambled eggs, grilled cheese sandwiches, or add flavour to soups and stews. If you’re really adventurous, attempt bacon fat chocolate chip muffins, and you’ll be the most popular kid on the block.
Don’t toss out chicken skin, crisp it up in a hot pan instead. Most of the fat will be gone, and you will be left with crunchy delicious skin that you can crumble on top of salads instead of using croutons.
If you are left with small bits of meat that isn’t enough for a serving, chop it finely, toss it all in a container, and store in the freezer. When you have collected enough mystery meat morsels, you can go ahead and make pasta sauce, tacos, casseroles, or soups out of it.
If you’re ambitious enough to roast a chicken or turkey, don’t throw out the carcass! Bones can be boiled with celery and carrots into stock for future meals.
Don’t like bread ends? Let it dry out in the oven and blitz in a blender for homemade bread crumbs. Alternatively, you can freeze the odd pieces and when you have enough, turn the bread bits into a warm and gooey bread pudding.
Vegetables and fruits
Pickle juice makes a great meat marinade or can be used as a salad dressing. Just mix it with some olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.
Rub the inside of a banana peel all over your shoes (non-fabric shoes of course) and buff it off with a soft cloth. This will give them a nice shine.
Odds and ends of vegetables can be used to make soups, stews, and curries. If you only have the skins of the vegetables, boil in water, strain, and you got yourself some homemade vegetable stock. How easy was that? Lots of recipes use only the leafy part of herbs, so make sure to throw the herb stalks into your stocks for an extra depth of flavour.
You can boil apple peels to make a tasty apple tea. Alternatively, heat the apple peels with some honey and milk for a comforting winter drink.
Citrus rinds can be put in tea or in your evening bath. While they won’t add much fragrance to your bath (unless you happened to peel many lemons), they will help sooth dry and itchy skin, especially during the cold winter months. Lemons have been shown to reduce the appearance of age spots and skin discolouration as well. After you juice those lemons into your bath, put it in the fridge to combat unpleasant smells.
If you have flat Coke, pour it in the sink or toilet, it works surprisingly well as a cleaner. Other kinds of flat pop (Sprite or ginger ale) can be used in cake batters and in meat marinades to tenderize the flesh.
You’ll get the best results with black and green teas.
Place chilled, used teabags over closed eyes to soothe them puffy, panda eyes. Green teabags are especially beneficial because of its anti-oxidant properties. Biting down on a used tea bag will also sooth the pain of canker sores and heal them faster.
Just like used coffee grounds and eggshells, used tea leaves can be used as plant fertilizers. You can also put them beside that lemon in the fridge to soak up all the nasty smells.
If none of these ideas appeal to you, composting is always an option. Compost Montreal will give you compostable bags and airtight bins, so that you can compost at home. They’ll collect your compost weekly and even give you the finished compost once a year, all for about 5 dollars a week.
So the next time you’re about to throw a scrap in the trash, think again! Mother Earth will thank you for it.