11 Frugal Ways to Use Kitchen Scraps


Save money and improve everything from your soil to your gut health with this list of 11 frugal ways to use kitchen scraps! #frugaltips #frugalfood #foodwasteSave money, reduce food waste and and improve everything from your soil to your gut health with this list of 11 frugal ways to use kitchen scraps in your home and garden.

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We’re such a wasteful society, especially here in the west. The mounds of waste we create every day is staggering.

For the most part, we think nothing of throwing away items that are considered to be more valuable than gold in countries where people are less fortunate. Even here in North America, our grandparents and great grandparents who lived through the Great Depression would be appalled at how much we have and how little we value most of it. 

We’re spoiled for choice, quality, and the affordability and year-round availability of just about anything and everything we could possibly want. And quite frankly it’s made us -as a whole- ungrateful, entitled gluttons. 

We waste everything from bags and packaging to clothing and fabric to metals and electronics to wood and building materials… The list goes on and on. But in a world where one in nine people are starving, one of the most outrageous things that we waste a ton of is food. In fact, we waste more than just a ton.

Globally, we waste somewhere around 1.3 BILLION tonnes of food annually: roughly one third of all the food produced in the world.

Not only is wasting food irresponsible given the stats on worldwide hunger -not to mention damaging to the environment- it’s also very costly. In Canada alone, it’s estimated that the average household wastes upwards of $1,450 worth of food every year! That is crazy talk!

While one obvious way to cut down on our food waste is to simply use up what we buy before it spoils (or preserve it for later), we still have a tendency to waste insane amounts of nutritious and beneficial food scraps and by-products, simply because we don’t know how to use them. Well, that is about to change my friend!

Below is a list of 11 common kitchen scraps that won’t just save you money and reduce food waste for the sake of being a responsible citizen, they’ll also benefit you, your home and your garden by providing safe, natural alternatives to store-bought products of all kinds. 

 

1. Banana Peels

Bananas are full of potassium, which is one of the key ingredients in good, rich soil. While you can (and should) add banana peels to your compost, you can also dry them and grind them up into small pieces to fertilize your garden or brew a compost tea by adding banana peels to water and letting it sit for few days. You can then use the compost tea to water your garden with and those nutrients will seep into the soil. 

Banana peels can also be used as a natural home remedy for removing warts, whitening teeth, and soothing skin irritations. 

 

2. Eggshells

Eggshells are loaded with calcium, which is another key ingredient in good soil. Just like bananas, you could (and should) add your eggshells to your compost, but you can also use the eggshells alone to fertilize and protect your plants.

Crushed eggshells can be added or worked into the soil around plants to give them that extra boost of calcium. They’re especially beneficial for tomatoes, which are heavy calcium feeders. We started adding a handful or two of crushed eggshells to our soil right before transplanting our tomato seedlings a few years back and we’ve noticed a huge decline in the number of tomatoes with blossom end rot ever since.

Crushed eggshells can also be sprinkled on top of soil around the base of plants to protect them from pests like slugs, snails and beetles. 

To make your own eggshell fertilizer/pesticide, rinse your eggshells after using and then let dry completely, then grind into tiny pieces using a blender or coffee grinder. I put our eggshells in an open container on our counter until they’re completely dry, then I crush them and transfer them to a closed storage container until I have enough to grind up. I store the ground eggshells in a mason jar until I need to use them.

 

3. Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds increase the acidity of your soil and are yet another amazing addition to your compost bin or for use directly on your soil. They’re a great natural fertilizer for plants that thrive in more acidic soil, like blueberries, peppers and potatoes.

You can also use the grounds as an exfoliant by mixing dried, used coffee grounds with an oil such as olive oil, coconut oil, sweet almond oil, or pretty much any type of cooking oil. Then rub the oil/coffee grounds mixture all over your body while showering to exfoliate. Alternatively, you can add them to homemade soap for a similar effect.

If saving for later use, dehydrate or allow coffee grounds to dry completely before storing as they will go moldy if stored wet. 

 

4. Tea (Bags and Looseleaf)

Tea is another good candidate for your compost pile due to the variety of natural herbs and ingredients found in organic teas. Looseleaf can be thrown directly into the compost while you should remove any staples from bagged tea first.

In the home, tea can be used in as a bath soak (think green tea and herbal teas like peppermint and chamomile), and can even be used as an odor eliminator and even a carpet/floor cleaner.

 

5. Citrus Peels

Lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruits have more nutrients in their peels than they do in the flesh and juice we’re used to consuming. And yet, so often, we throw the peels away! 

Instead, save the zest to add flavour and nutrients to your cooking and baking. And save peels to make infusions and extracts like infused oil, citrus extract using vodka or infused vinegar, which can be used as a natural cleaning solution. You can even use dried orange peels to make your own all-natural Vitamin C Powder for when you’re sick, or save them for Christmas and use them as decor!

Citrus peels are also a source of natural pectin, so you can use the zest to help your jams and jellies set without using store-bought pectin. For even more ideas on how to use citrus peels, check out this post.

 

6. Apple Peels

While there are many reasons to eat apple peels, including the high fibre and nutrient content and even fat-fighting compounds to help keep you svelte, there are an equal number of reasons to save them.

Apple peels, like citrus peels, are an excellent source of natural pectin. The greener the apple, the higher the pectin, so choose crisp, organic green apples and use the peels (and core) to make your own liquid pectin

Or you could use the peels and the core to make your own homemade apple cider vinegar. All you need to do is submerge the apple scraps in water and allow them to ferment for a few weeks, then strain out the solids and compost them or feed them to your chickens and reserve the apple cider vinegar to use in all sorts of different ways.

 

7. Veggie Peels and Scraps

Onions, carrots, potatoes, celery, garlic… These are all vegetables we typically peel and/or chop the root and stem ends off of before we eat them. And where do all the peels and ends end up? Well, hopefully not in the garbage!

Of course, all of these are good to compost. But aside from the compost bin, there are lots of ways to get more use out of your veggie scraps and make them (and your money) stretch.

One of my favourite ways to use veggie scraps is to flavour stocks and soups. I toss my onion and garlic ends and peels, carrot peels and celery ends in a ziplock bag and store them in the freezer along with any chicken carcasses and bones and when I have enough saved up I make a big batch of broth

With potato skins, I like to fry them up in a little bacon grease and then sprinkle them with a pinch of salt for an extra frugal version of homemade potato chips!

Tomato skins can be set aside when making tomato sauce and then dehydrated and ground to make tomato seasoning, and same with pepper skins.

Many fruits and veggies that are beginning to turn can also be juiced or turned into jam. And of course, if you’ve got chickens, pigs, rabbits or goats, they’ll eat much of what’s leftover!

 

8. Carcasses and Bones

If you can, buy whole or bone-in meats because you can use the bones to make stock and broth after you’ve eaten the meat. Chicken and other poultry carcasses can be boiled down with a few tasty veggie scraps (like those mentioned above) to make chicken stock or broth (the difference basically being the bone to meat ratio of the carcass).

Ham and beef bones are also great for making soup stocks. Ham bones are especially flavourful and yummy when used as a base for hearty soups like corn chowder or pea soup, and beef broth is fantastic as a base for beef stew and French onion soup.

Bone broth is also one of the latest health trends due to its healing minerals and compounds like collagen, which supports healthy muscles, bones, joints, skin, hair and even gut health.

 

9. Animal Fats

Back in the pioneer days, lard was THE CHOICE for cooking, baking and frying. Thanks in large part to smart (but shady) marketing on behalf of Crisco at the turn of the century, lard became a four-letter word and has only recently begun gaining in popularity again.

Lard is made out of pig fat, namely the fat around the liver and the fat around the backbone. If you raise and/or butcher your own pigs, you should definitely be rendering your own lard as well! But if not, you might be able to get your hands on some cheap (or even free!) pig fat from your local butcher, which you can then turn into lard for all of your cooking needs, (especially pie crust; Nothing compares to a perfect, flaky pie crust made with lard. Mmmmm…)

You can also render the fat from cows to make tallow, a key ingredient in traditional soap and candle-making. And poultry fat (especially fattier birds like duck and goose) is excellent for frying foods. And last but not least, bacon fat is a must-save kitchen scrap in any kitchen. (Seriously, is there anything more delicious than potatoes and onions fried in bacon fat? The answer is no.)

 

10. Stale Bread

Stale bread is perfect for making croutons, grinding up into breadcrumbs, baking into bread pudding, turning into french toast and for stuffing into a turkey or chicken at your next family dinner.

I store bread that’s more than a couple days old in the fridge to prevent it from going moldy. Once stale, I either dry it out and turn it into croutons or breadcrumbs, or keep it in the fridge until I can use it in a recipe like French toast or bread pudding.

 

11. Greywater

While this isn’t technically considered a kitchen or food scrap, it deserves mention since we probably waste more water than we do food. But aside from not leaving taps running and filling the sink to wash our food and dishes instead of washing them under a running faucet, we can reuse waste water from our kitchens too.

Greywater is wastewater from our sinks and bathtubs. Unlike blackwater (aka “sewage”) that comes from our toilets, grey water is considered fairly clean as it does not contain any of the potentially harmful microbes that are found in, well, everything we flush down toilet water.

Greywater can be used to water plants and lawns, although you should be cautious about not using any chemicals in your sink that could kill off or contaminate plants. Grey water from washing organic fruits and vegetables is the most beneficial and can be used on food plants as a fertilizer. Dishwashing water is better used on ornamental flowers and lawns. 

Not only is reusing greywater a frugal and environmentally-friendly way to water your garden, it’s also especially handy during summer droughts when water restrictions can otherwise prevent us from watering lawns and certain plants.

* You can also use rainwater to water plants. Learn how to make a rain barrel out of a garbage can.

 

Save Your Kitchen Scraps for Victory!

During the Second World War, housewives across the allied nations were implored to grow victory gardens and save all sorts of household and kitchen scraps to support the war effort. Having just come out of the Great Depression, this generation was already used to saving and stretching everything to get the most possible use out of each and every item. Nowadays, many of us have never faced the type of hardships or times of scarcity that our grandparents and great grandparents did before us, so we take for granted, we waste and we consume without thought or purpose.

Common kitchen scraps like eggshells, animal by-products and vegetable peels are among this list of kitchen scraps that can be used and reused to enhance everything from your soil to your gut health. Find out what you should be saving to reap the benefits over and over again.

A British propaganda poster from WW2 calling on citizens to save their kitchen waste to fee livestock that would, in turn, feed British citizens and hungry soldiers. Photo courtesy of James Vaughan.

Now, while saving and reusing your kitchen scraps won’t save the planet, solve world hunger or win the war, it will save you money, keep perfectly good, nutritious food out of the landfill and do wonders for your health, your home and your garden. And the more people who begin to recognize, appreciate and preserve the value of food that is so often discarded without second thought, the more hopeful our future will be over all. So do your part for victory! Save your scraps. Stretch your dollars. And be part of the change that the world needs right now.

WE CAN DO IT!

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CATEGORIES
HOMESTEADING
REAL FOOD
NATURAL LIVING

7 Comments

  1. Holly Whiteside

    Great list, and yes WE CAN DO IT!

    A few of my favorite scrappy saves…

    Sour milk is acidic, so with baking soda it gives an extra rise to pancakes, cakes, muffins, and such. Just like buttermilk! It makes lovely cakes, so don’t throw it out, just bake it!

    Save the seeds from pumpkins, acorn squash, butternut squash and such. Lightly clean it (not perfectly, so it has more flavor), salt it and bake in an oven to make a lovely snack food or to add into breads.

    Whey (a biproduct of making cheese) is high in protein and great for replacing the water in baking, or using in place of water to boil pasta, make oatmeal, or cook rice. It can even be used to make smoothies that are higher in protein.

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Great tips! I definitely wouldn’t have thought about keeping sour milk but it makes total sense. And whey… Hopefully one day I’ll be lucky enough to make my own cheese!

      Reply
  2. Barbbette N.

    An even better use of banana peels is to EAT them – Yes, you read that right. Just make sure to buy organic. You can find a great recipe on Chef Jana Pinheiro’s YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYPXkrWy7iY

    I have been making this recipe for several years & it is delicious.

    P.S. The brand & style of BBQ sauce makes a difference in the taste.

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Oh wow! I had no idea! Actually, I have heard of people putting whole bananas (peels included) into their blender and making smoothies with them. But I’ve never heard of them being made into a sauce! So cool. Thanks for sharing!

      Reply
  3. Geetanjali Tung

    Great article ! I do believe in a self-sufficient life. Make use of everything in the best possible way. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Thanks for reading!

      Reply

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ABOUT ANNA
Hi! I’m Anna, and I’m a city girl turned modern homesteader who’s passionate about growing, cooking and preserving real food at home, creating my own herbal medicine and all-natural home and body care products, and working toward a simpler, more sustainable and self-sufficient life each and every day. 
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What’s your favourite food preservation method??

For Angi Schneider of @schneiderpeeps, the answer is pressure canning, hands-down.

The fact is, there are many ways to preserve food, and each of them has its place and serves its purpose. But the only preservation method that allows you to preserve full meals that are ready to eat straight out of the jar is pressure canning.

Water bath canning allows you to preserve high acid foods like fruits, pickles, jams and jellies.

Fermenting adds beneficial bacteria, increases the nutritional value and adds a distinct (and acquired) flavour to foods.

Dehydrating and freeze drying are great long term storage preservation methods, and are a great option for preppers, hunters or anyone who needs to carry their food preps with them.

Pressure canning, on the other hand, allows you to have jars of food ready to serve and eat at a moment’s notice. It’s great to hand on hand during an emergency, but it also serves as practical, every day food that you and your family will actually eat.

Whether it’s a busy weeknight and you have no time to cook, you’ve got unexpected company or you find yourself in the middle of an emergency or power outage, having jars of healthy, homemade food –including full meals– on hand always comes in handy.

Angi and I sat down to chat about the many benefits of pressure canning, and about her brand new book Pressure Canning For Beginners And Beyond in an interview for the fall issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine (out now).

To read the full interview and/or to check out Angi’s new cookbook (which includes some seriously drool-worthy canning recipes like Chicken Marsala, Beef Street Tacos, Maple Ginger Glazed Carrots and French Onion Soup), click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to www.modernhomesteadingmagazine.com to subscribe and get your first issue free!

For a limited time, you can also become a member and get full access to our entire library of issues for just $7.99/year. Link in bio to get all the goods:)

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For the past week or so, I’ve been sharing a new morning routine I've been committing to...

It's the simple act of lighting a candle to start each day.

In this age of unnatural blue light emanating from our screens, fluorescent and even LED lighting from overhead lights and lamps, it can be quite a shock to the system to go from sleeping in complete darkness to flipping on the bright lights and checking email on your smartphone first thing in the a.m.

By simply lighting a candle and allowing your eyes a minute or two to adjust before turning on the lights or checking a screen, you have the power to create a much calmer and more peaceful start to your day, and that has lasting effects that can and will stay with you all day long.

I know I’m not the only one who can benefit from this simple but powerful morning ritual, so I decided to start a challenge to encourage others to do the same.

If you'd like to participate, grab a candle and a pack of matches (or a lighter) and commit to lighting a candle to start your day for as many days as you can during the month of October.

Every time you share a photo of your candle/morning ritual on Instagram posts or stories and tag me @thehouseandhomestead and use the hashtag #candlelitmorning, you'll be entered to win a naturally-scented candle of your choice from Plant Therapy!

This being said, I know that good quality candles aren't exactly cheap, but you can save a tone of money by learning how to make your own!

If you're interested in learning how to make your own all-natural soy candles with essential oils at home, I'm currently offering my DIY Scented Soy Candles Masterclass for FREE as part of the Handmade Holiday Giveaway, hosted by my friend and fellow Vancouver Islander Diana Bouchard of @wanderinghoofranch

Other limited-time freebies include:

* Exclusive homestead holiday recipes
* Free knitting and crochet patterns
* Free homemade cocktail mixers course
* Cute printable gift tags and more!

Click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead to check out everything that's included in the Handmade Holiday Giveaway.

And don't forget to join in the #candlelitmorning challenge right here on Instagram!
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Sometimes I don’t post photos because I can’t think of a brilliant, thought-provoking caption to go with each one.

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This weekend reminded me how important it is to be present, both with ourselves and with the ones we love. This weekend I was reminded of what I’m truly grateful for. 🧡

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In the interview, Allyson shares that “on average three-year-olds can identify 100 different brand logos, and that increases to 300-400 by age 10.” If that’s not reason enough to turn off the TV and get outside, I don’t know what is!

“Whatever children are exposed to, they are able to soak it up like sponges, but they aren’t getting that exposure to nature,” she says.

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- Biz Stone

The other day I asked you what the most valuable asset is on your homestead, and I shared that mine is my dear husband @thehumblehandyman

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But talent and skills are only half of the equation; You’ve gotta have the right tools for the job!

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What are your go-to tools to use around your house and homestead??? (Duct tape totally counts 😉)

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For me, it’s this guy right here.

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When we were getting chickens, he built our chicken coop. When I wanted to put in new garden beds, he built them. Deck? Done! Firewood? Chopped! Bathroom? Remodelled! Car broken down? Fixed! (Did I mention he’s a trained mechanic too?)

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I’m thrilled to announce that @thehumblehandyman now has his own regular feature in each issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine, where he’ll share simple steps you can take to increase your self-sufficiency by learning how to DIY all sorts of projects around your house and homestead.

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Did you know you can now buy pumpkin spice ramen noodles, pumpkin spice Pringles, pumpkin spice macaroni and cheese, pumpkin spice sausages and even pumpkin spice dog treats?

It’s not exactly a stretch to say that we’ve taken the whole pumpkin spice craze a little bit too far.

But our obsession with pumpkin spice speaks to something much deeper than the flavour itself. (Let’s be honest, pumpkin spice ramen noodles sound gag-worthy).

The reason we tend to love pumpkin spice so much is because it triggers feelings of comfort and nostalgia; Memories of days spent with family at the pumpkin patch or around the Thanksgiving table. In short, pumpkin spice triggers our emotions as much as it tantalizes our taste buds.

But let’s be real, pumpkin spice Pringles ain’t it.

If you’re feeling all the fall vibes and craving a little pumpkin spice in your life right now, stick to the tried and true pumpkin spice latte, but ditch the expensive (and highly processed) commercial PSLs and make your own pumpkin spice syrup (with real pumpkin!) at home for a fraction of the cost! Keep it on hand to add to your coffees, teas and steamed milk beverages all Autumn long.

It’s super easy to make and will put pumpkin spice macaroni squarely in its place (and keep it there!)

Link in bio @thehouseandhomestead to grab the recipe or go to https://thehouseandhomestead.com/homemade-pumpkin-spice-syrup/

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I’ve been feeling pulled to slow down and retreat into my home lately; To turn off the news and social media and focus on the tangible things like lighting the wood stove, preserving the mountains of food still coming out of the garden, and slowly stirring a pot of soup as it cooks on the stovetop.

With everything that’s going on in the world right now, I know I’m not the only one feeling pulled toward hearth and home. This is a heavy time for all of us. No one person is meant to bear the weight of the world on their shoulders, but I've heard from so many people lately who say that's exactly how they've been feeling.

If you read my post from a few days ago, you know I’ve been feeling like that too, but luckily, I've learned how to soothe my soul in difficult times.

And so that's what I've been doing lately...

I've been focusing on the tangible things that I can control, like cooking meals and preserving food.

I've been lingering a little longer in the morning, taking time to sit by the river or sip my coffee in front of the wood stove before hurrying on with my day.

And I've been making a conscious effort to turn off the noise of the outside world and give my family and my own emotional health my full attention.

If you've also been feeling that pull to turn off all of the noise and immerse yourself in more nourishing, productive activities, I want to tell you about a collection of resources that will help you do just that.

The Simple Living Collective’s Autumn Issue includes seasonal guides, tutorials, e-books, recipes and more to help you slow down and reconnect with what matters this season.

* Learn how to forage for healing herbs and how to make your own natural medicine

* Find new ways to celebrate old traditions, and create new seasonal traditions with your family

* Discover new seasonal recipes and crafts to do on your own or with your kids

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If this sounds like it’s exactly what you're in need of right now, check out the Simple Living Collective and get the Autumn Issue for just $25. But this issue is only available until tomorrow, so don't wait…

Link in bio @thehouseandhomestead to grab it now before it disappears 🍁
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I laid in bed the other night and couldn’t sleep.

I know that probably doesn’t sound out of the ordinary, especially considering the collective stress we’ve all been through over the past year and a half. But if I’m being totally honest, I’ve done a pretty good job of not letting it get to me.

I used to have really bad anxiety, and I made a conscious effort to learn how to manage it in (mostly) healthy, natural ways. I practice a lot of gratitude every day, and overall I’ve learned to deal with stress, anxiety and negative thoughts pretty well.

Lately though, I’ve been feeling the weight of it all. Aside from dealing with personal issues like our ongoing infertility/pregnancy loss journey and the every day stresses we all face, the bigger things have been feeling bigger and heavier lately; The mandates, the politics, the pushback, the arguments and attacks online, the divisiveness, and the seemingly never-ending pandemic that every single one of us is still dealing with in some capacity.

I’ve been seeing more and more calls to “choose a side.” I’ve witnessed my own close friends on both sides of the debate hurling insults at each other, defending their ground, and refusing to listen to each other’s valid points and concerns.

I’ve even witnessed a widening crack in the homesteading community, despite the fact that so many of our core values and beliefs align and are unique to us.

Despite the division, I would still argue that ALL of us have much more in common than not, and to see the divide continuing to deepen has started to get under my skin lately.

(Continued in comments…)
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