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How to Use Your Food Scraps

When you prepare your fruit and veggies for eating, the chances are that you throw away the skin, stems, leaves and roots. But did you know that a huge percentage of the goodness and nutritional value of these super-healthy foods are stored among these 'scraps'? In fact, by tossing them in the garbage, you could be discarding a whole pharmacy worth of health benefits, so it's well worth trying to put them to good purpose. Here are 10 fantastic ways you can re-use the food scraps that you usually throw away
 

1. Cook up Your Broccoli Leaves

BroccoliBroccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables you can eat, but most of us throw away the plant's leaves and stems despite the fact that they contain as many if not more nutrients than the parts we eat! Broccoli leaves are absolutely packed full of vitamin A, fantastic for good vision, cancer prevention and anti-ageing. And there's no reason to throw these leaves away because they're perfectly edible!  You can cook them like you'd cook cabbage or chop them up and stir fry them with green onions, meats or what ever ingredients you desire. 

 

2. Put Kale Stalks to Good Use

KaleThough the majority of us throw kale stalks away, they are packed with loads of nutrition and there are plenty of recipes you can follow to put them to good use. Consider steaming the stalks for 10 minutes (after cleaning them), and then fry them in sunflower oil with chilli and garlic. You will get a delicious meal that will provide plenty of fiber and help cleanse your digestive system. If you don't have kale, broccoli stalks work just as well!

 

3. Turn Carrot Peels into a DIY Skin Treatment

CarrotsYou can eat carrots with the peel on, but many of you probably peel them before boiling or roasting and discard the outer skin. However, this peel is full of goodness that can work wonders for you if you add it to your regular care and beauty regimen. Carrot oil can protect both your skin and hair from the effects of the sun and pollution, ward of dreaded signs of ageing and create silky smooth hair. Here's how you make it:

1. Wash the peel of the carrots.

2. Grate them with a hand grater or food processor.

3. Pour the mixture into a crock pot and cover with 2 1/4 cups (18oz) of water. This is the optimum amount of water, if you use about 4 or 5 peels from large carrots.

4. Set your crockpot to the lowest heat and infuse the mixture for 24-72 hours. Do not set the heat above 100 degree farenheit (33 degree celsius)

5. Once infused, strain the mixture to remove any remaining solids and place the oil in a mason jar. Refrigerate before use. The mixture will last 6-8 months if stored well.

Recipe source: frugallysustainable.com

 

4. Add Avocado Seed to Your Smoothies

AvocadoThe health benefits of eating avocados are plentiful, but most us throw away the most nutritious part of this delicious fruit. The seed (also known as the stone or pit) contains around 70% of an avocado's nutritional value yet typically ends up in the trash can. It might look inedible, but it isn't - you just need to do some prep work. Chop it into quarters using a sharp knife or other tool and then blend it until it's a powder. You need to use a powerful blender and make sure it is completely enclosed. The resulting powder will be strong tasting, so mix it in well with a berry or citrus fruit smoothie to benefit from an incredible amount of nutrition!

 

5. Potato Peels Get Rid of Warts

Potato PeelPotato skins can be eaten of course, but if you are boiling or roasting the veggies, then you will need to remove the skin first. The discarded peel does have its uses - and one great way you can put it into action is to rub it across a wart or skin tag to gradually diminish growth.

 

6. Citrus Fruit Peels For Your Smoothies

Orange peelIf you want to benefit from all the nutritional value that your favorite citrus fruits offer, you need to start adding the part you usually throw away to your smoothies and drinks. The peel and rind contains much of the well known goodness of oranges and lemons, along with added enzymes, fiber and vitamin A. They are not very pleasant to eat, but if you mix them with berries, other citrus fruits and honeyed yogurt, then you shouldn't have a problem. It's best to make sure you only use organic oranges to ensure that the peel doesn't contain too many pesticides.

 

7. Make Yourself a Warming Broth

BrothThe best and most complete way to re-purpose your old vegetable scraps is to create a healthy, warming broth. In days gone by, when people were much more concerned about food waste than we are now, leftovers like onion skins, carrot peels, mushroom stems, celery leaves and green onion ends would always be thrown together with some herbs and seasonings to create a super-healthy broth. This is a fantastic way to ensure you are a) not wasting food and b) benefiting from all the goodness veggies offer - onions, for example, store most of their healthiest property, quercetin, in the skin's outer layers and root of the vegetable. Here's how you make it:

1. Stir fry the vegetable scraps and skin in butter or olive oil. Use a large soup pot for the job.

2. Season the vegetables with your favorite herbs and spices.

3. Add 8 cups of water.

4. Bring the mixture to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for an hour.

5. Add any additional seasoning spices as desired.

6. Pour the mixture into a colander placed over a pot to remove the vegetable scraps.

7. Serve.

8. Experiment by Infusing Vinegar

Infused vinegarThis is a great kitchen experiment that can really liven up your condiment selection! Re-use your orange and lemon peels by piling them into a pot and filling it up with vinegar. The vinegar extracts the essential oils from the peels, which takes the harsh edge off its taste and makes for a unique taste. It's not just useful for your food either - you can clean your kitchen with it. It harnesses the renowned cleaning power of both ingredients for a fragrant fluid, free of harmful chemicals.

Image: greeningsofwestford

 

9. Make Strawberry Leaf Tea

Strawberry plantStrawberry leaf tea is available in some health stores, but is just as easy to make yourself if you have the leaves at hand, having bought a full strawberry plant or grown one yourself. Strawberry leaves have been found to be even more successful than herbs like chamomile and rosehip in fighting dangerous free radicals in the body and drinking them in tea can also help settle an upset tummy. All you need to do to make the tea is:

1. Put 1 cup of strawberry leaves in a teapot and boil. Allow the leaves to steep.

2. Pour out the mixture, strain out the leaves (you can leave them in if you desire).

3. Add natural sweeteners like honey or Stevia, and top with cream if you prefer.

 
10. Re-grow the Vegetables for an Ongoing Supply of Goodness!

VegetablesFinally, did you know that you can actually re-grow a lot of vegetables yourself using the scraps that you would usually throw away? In general, it's really easy to do and you don't need any special skills or equipment - just a little patience can theoretically provide you with an ongoing supply of green onions, romaine lettuce or celery, for example. Onions are so wonderfully versatile, and if you save the hard root at bottom of the vegetable next time you chop one up, you can easily plant it to grow some more.

Image: lifehacker

Want to know just how easy it is to grow your own green onions or romaine lettuce from scraps? Then click here for full instructions!

Sources: care2.com & healthyfoodheadlines

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