Upcycling Kitchen Food Scraps

By Larraine Roulston:

Many kitchen food scraps are deemed waste when, in reality, they are a valuable resource. Carrot peelings and other similar organics help create terrific compost; however, before composting, some produce can be upcycled to serve you in other ways.

If you have a spiralizer tool, make a space in your freezer to gather broccoli and cauliflower stalks. When you have enough for a family salad, spiralize them, top with some pepper slices and your favorite sauce.

When you find you have too much of one herb, such as cilantro, or wish to use the thick kale stems, break them into small pieces and make ice cubes. Popping them into soups or smoothies is a great way to enjoy their freshness. Ice cube trays that hold spices can also be filled with heavy coconut milk. These are great to add to stir-fries or curry

Freeze onion skins and veggie peelings. When you are ready to make a soup, place them in a pot and cover with water, add one teaspoon each of vinegar and oil, then simmer. They can also be cooked overnight in a slow cooker set on low heat. Strain. The cooked peelings and stems
can be composted. Cool broth and place in a jar to refrigerate for your next batch of soup.

Avocado pits can be planted and will grow into a houseplant. If you finely grind the pit, it will make a nice cleanser. First, allow the pit to dry in the sun for a few days. When ground in high-powered blender then transfered to a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle, they can
become quite fine. Add just one tablespoon of finely ground avocado pits to 3 ounces of cleanser.

Check out all the clever ideas for lemon rinds, banana peels,eggshells, coffee grounds and tea bags. These tips are but a few:

  • Place slices of lemon peels along windowsills or other places to repel ants.
  • A lemon peel in a dishpan will soften the water, remove all traces of fish and onion odors as well as put a sparkle on china.
  • Put a shine on your shoes by rubbing them with a banana peel then polishing with a cloth.
  • To remove dust from houseplants and to keep them flourishing, wipe the leaves with the white side of a banana peel.
  • Place crushed eggshells in a hole before inserting tomato plants. Sprinkle additional eggshells around the plant and in the garden.
  • Keep eggshells covered with water in a jar to water plants.
  • Used coffee grounds, like baking soda, will absorb food odors in the fridge. When you replace them, dig them into your garden as a fertilizer.
  • Make a body scrub by placing used coffee grounds in a bit of warm water.
  • Damp, cool tea bags will soothe skin irritations and relieve tired eyes. They can be rubbed gently over stings and bites to draw out toxins and lessen the swelling.
  • Bring a used tea bag to a boil in a pot of water. Remove the bag and add pasta, rice or grains to create a different flavor.
  • It is amazing what can be upcycled from foods that most people throw away.

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Larraine authors children’s books on composting and pollinating at www.castlecompost.com

Larraine Roulston

A mother of 4 with 6 wonderful grandchildren, Larraine has been active in the environmental movement since the early l970s. When the first blue boxes for recycling were launched in her region, she began writing a local weekly newspaper column to promote the 3Rs. Since that time, she has been a freelance writer for several publications, including BioCycle magazine. As a composting advocate, Larraine authors children's adventure stories that combine composting facts with literature. Currently she is working on the 6th book of her Pee Wee at Castle Compost series, which can be viewed at www.castlecompost.com. As well, Larraine and her husband Pete have built a straw bale home and live in Ontario.

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