Food scrapings and peelings, teabags, tops and tails of fruit and veg can all be used up in some very tasty ways.
By using up all the odds and ends, you’ll be cutting down on expense and food waste. Here are our top food recycling tips.
1. Cook-up a very easy veg soup
Got some mixed veg left over from a roast? See what our Food Rescue site suggests by entering your ingredients here. Try whipping up a tasty and nutritious soup by putting cooked root veg (carrots, parsnips, potatoes) into a bowl with enough hot stock to cover, then blitz in a food processor or with a hand blender.
Blend in short bursts for a chunkier soup, or blitz until smooth then add a dash of cream or crème fraîche if you prefer a silky smooth texture. You can freeze or chill the end result, then defrost and/or reheat to serve, checking the seasoning before serving.
Via: David Wagner / CC BY-SA 2.0 / adapted / Flickr: praxinoscope
2. Make DIY stock cubes
Homemade stock cubes are a doddle if you have leftover veg peelings, meat bones or a stripped poultry carcass. Put everything into a large saucepan, add about 2 litres of water (for meat stock) or 1 litre if you are only boiling up vegetable peelings.
Throw in some dried herbs, a handful of peppercorns and some salt and black pepper. Add a bay leaf if you have one, plus any tired-looking veg lurking in the bottom of the salad drawer (celery, courgettes, onions) and bring to the boil.
Turn down the heat and simmer for 30 minutes (veg stock) or an hour (meat). Cool, strain and chill for up to 3 days or freeze in ice-cube trays or a freezer bag.
Via: Ralph Aichinger / CC BY-SA 2.0 / adapted / Flickr: superkuh
3. Make your own dripping
Grandparents tend to reminisce about their childhood days when a slice of bread with dripping was a teatime treat. If you’ve never had it before, dripping is simply chilled and solidified juices from roast meats and veg. So next time you cook up a roast, make sure you collect all the juices into a bowl, then cover and refrigerate.
You’ll find the dripping separates into a solid top of lard with a rich, jelly stock underneath. You can use the jelly in gravies, stocks and sauces in place of a stock cube. And use dabs of dripping in place of oil next time you’re roasting. Perfect!
4. Whizz up some breadcrumbs
Our Food Rescue site’s got loads of ideas for a surplus of bread. When you come to the end of a loaf of bread or a French stick and you’ve got two crusts left over, don’t sling them in the bin (and don’t put them out for the birds, either – they need specially formulated bird feed!).
Whizz the end pieces up in a food processor until you’ve got rough to fine breadcrumbs. You can keep them in the fridge in a lidded box for a few days or freeze them in a freezer bag, then use to coat chicken escalopes or as a crunchy topping for pasta bakes.
Via: Joy / CC BY-SA 2.0 / adapted / Flickr: joyosity
5. Make a lemony olive oil
If a recipe calls for lemon juice, don’t waste the skin - zest it first before juicing and pulverise it in a pestle and mortar with a little olive oil. This will extract the delicious lemony oil from the zest which you can then decant into a bottle or lidded cup with more olive oil to create a wonderful lemon-flavoured oil. This will be great used as a salad dressing base.
Via: Abhijit Tembhekar / CC BY-SA 2.0 / adapted / Flickr: abhijittembhekar
6. Freeze zest
Another idea for grated citrus zest is to keep it in the freezer in a bag and keep adding to it until you have a good quantity. (You can mix orange, grapefruit, lemon and lime together.) Next time a recipe calls for some lemon zest, ring the changes by adding some of your citrus mix instead. It’s also great sprinkled over ice cream or salads.
Via: Robert Couse-Baker / CC BY-SA 2.0 / adapted / Flickr: 29233640@N07
7. Create crunchy skins
If you peel potatoes, you can make lovely crunchy snacks from the skins. Lay them over a baking tray, drizzle with grapeseed oil, a little salt and some black pepper, then bake in a hot oven for around 15 minutes until crisp, but not burnt. These are great with a salsa or sour cream dip.
Via: r. nial bradshaw / CC BY-SA 2.0 / adapted / Flickr: zionfiction
8. Super-quick smoothie
Smoothies are a great option for odds and ends. Most fruit flavours go together, so throw ‘em all into a blender with a glass of milk or a splash of yogurt, if you fancy. Add a spoonful of crushed ice before blending to cool it down.