Don’t scrap your food scraps!

We’ve written posts before about how cooking in large quantities can help you save energy. This time, we’ve decided to look into what to do with leftover food scraps. From infused vodka (see, greening doesn’t have to be a fun killer!) to bath soaks, reuse anything from peels to meat scraps to make economical and environmentally conscience use of any leftovers. Here are some ideas we found from Earth 911:


You can polish leather shoes with bananas. Really! Rub the inner rind on the entire leather portion, making sure to avoid any laces, and wipe clean with a soft piece of cloth. Bonus green tip: reuse an old t-shirt or other used clothing item that would otherwise end up in a landfill.


Add some zest to your stove cleaning (literally). Sprinkle some salt on the inside of halved, just-pressed orange or lemon peels and go to town on stubborn stove-top messes.


Orange, lemon and grapefruit rinds can be added to preserved fruits and jams to add a little zest. Did you know that you can also pickle citrus rinds? They make a tangy snack, and require just a few ingredients.


Citrus rinds, herb stems and peels add unique flavors to any clear alcohol. Add lime rinds to tequila blanco (white), or mint leaf stems to light rum for an extra-refreshing mojito. Let the flavors mingle in a cool, dry place for 2 weeks, and you’re ready to drink! For an instant, non-alcoholic treat, add cucumber and lemon peels to fresh filtered water for a subtle, cooling refreshment.


Add orange, grapefruit, or lemon peels to a hot bath before submerging yourself. They add an energizing scent, and lemons are know to lighten age spots and freckles.


It’s never too late to start making your own soup stock. Add vegetable peels like carrot, celery and potato to the simmering broth to add some extra flavor.

For any scraps that can’t be reused, be sure to compost them correctly. If your city doesn’t have a municipal compost pickup service in place, Earth911 has a great guide to composting at home.

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Lauren

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  1. Louise - September 14, 2011

    About citrus peels: I freeze clean one for a time when I need zest for a recipe. Also, putting citrus peels into the disposal (assuming all you “green” people still use one) really sweetens that appliance without using an expensive chemical cleaner.
    We compost almost all year round till the weather gets too cold for the pile to “cook.” We keep a small bin under the sink for the kitchen waste that’s not meat or greasy. A couple times a week, we bury the accumulation in the compost pile (an enclosure we constructed ourselves from landscaping timbers. It’s designed to come apart in the front so we can break it open about once a spring and use our black gold in the garden.)

  2. Sizwe - September 14, 2011

    Organics recycling is one of the pillars of a sustainable food system/society. Just ask Dr. GW Carver and his legacy. Green jobs, urban agriculture…no brainer.