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Photo Credit: Elizabeth Newman

Food Waste Solutions: Use Up All Those Veggie Bits!

Everyone can help do their part by reducing food waste at home with these easy solutions.


We're all guilty of it - you buy a few too many veggies at the store, and some might meet their demise in the trash can. We cut off carrot tops and bits of veggies we don't want to eat raw, and sweep them off the cutting board. The reality is that throwing away all these edible pieces of food adds up, and ultimately contributes to a lot of food waste! Worry not - all it takes is changing a couple of habits, and utilizing some of these simple food waste solutions will not only be good for reducing waste... but good for your taste buds, too!
Food Waste Solutions


Plan Better!
Okay, so this isn't really something you can do after the fact when you're faced with too many extra veggies in the fridge - but it's worth mentioning! Often times, we're left with a random stalk of broccoli or bell pepper that would have been too much for the intended recipe, and those are the rogue veggies that tend to go bad and get tossed. While you can always turn them into a stir fry or scramble,
 
Veggie Stock
This is the most common solution to extra bits of veggies - and that's the case for a reason! Throw all of your carrot tops, onion roots, and mushroom stems into a bag in the fridge until the end of the week. All it takes is an hour of simmering your vegetable scraps in some water to create some richly flavored stock! Let it cool, add it to containers and label with the date, then freeze it for up to 6 months. Stock isn't just for soups, either - Giada uses it for tons of pasta dishes, stuffed peppers, and risotto. A homemade broth is almost always more flavorful than storebought (and cheaper!), and a great way to use up all those inedible bits of veggies.
 
Pesto
Carrot tops, beet greens, leftover arugula or spinach - you'd be surprised what you can turn into pesto! Supplement your go-to pesto recipe with some greens you have leftover. Not only will you get a flavor boost, but a nutritional one too!
 
Plan a "leftovers" night
We can sometimes get caught up in meal-prep mode, making sure we have a dinner plan penciled in for every weeknight. Why not leave a night open for leftovers? Make sure your pantry is well-stocked with essentials, and then you can turn any produce leftovers into memorable dinners.
 
Freezing is your friend
Looking at that giant pack of blueberries you got and just know they won't get eaten before they get moldy? Be proactive and get ahead of the game - throw them in the freezer! We do this with bananas (peeled first!), berries, melon, stone fruit, and greens for smoothies. Frozen fruit is also great for baking with.
 
Compost
Okay, if you really don't want to eat some of those less-than-pleasing scraps? Make compost with them! Compost is such a versatile way to reduce food waste by turning it into making new life - full circle! You aren't limited to just veggies and fruit, either - coffee grounds and eggshells make great additions for happy gardens, too. Not sure how to get started on making your own compost? Luckily, many cities are now offering compost bins, and some farmers markets will even give you compost in exchange for veggie scraps you bring.
 
Puppy Snacks
This Bruno-approved tip is great for our furry friends! Dogs love watermelon scraps, blueberries, bananas and strawberries - just make sure you do a quick Google search on what's safe to feed your pup before giving them a fun dinner topper.

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