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. 


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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.

 

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CATEGORIES
HOMESTEADING
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18 Comments

  1. Peggy L Burnette

    I saved egg shells in a plastic bag (did not rinse) they don’t smell very good but can I still use them in the garden? Thanks

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Hi Peggy!

      Yes you can absolutely still use them in the garden. Plants don’t have noses after all:)

      I used to keep mine in a jar with the lid on and had the same problem. Now I lay them on a plate to dry first and then blend them up and put them in a jar to use.

      Reply
  2. Kathleen

    Many kitchen scraps can be used to “regrow” vegetables. The bottoms of green onions (about 1/2″ of the white part and roots) can be replanted in potting soil to grow more green onions. Trim off the tops as you need green onions and the bottoms will continue to regrow green stalks. You can also plant lettuce cores, beet tops (for greens), celery bottoms, carrots (for tasty green tops) and other vegetable scraps.
    You can dry peels and scraps then make your own seasoned salt or sodium free seasoning. My mother did this for years.

    Reply
  3. OM

    Another great use for coffee grounds: growing mushrooms. My mother used to do this, maybe one day I’ll get to it too.

    Reply
  4. Michelle

    Growing up on a farm and having well water my grandmother would take her used coffee grounds on run water over them in the kitchen sink. They work just as good if not better as to cleaning the septic tank. It eats away whatever is in there. Same goes for eggshells..she would crush them up and wash it away in the sink to get the smell out of the drain. My mom lived in her house for 37 yrs and bc of these tricks my grandmother taught her and having well water she never once had to have her septic drained bc of the coffee grounds and eggshells.

    Reply
  5. Robert

    As regrds coffee grounds, pretty much every coffee shop near me gives away big bags of their used grounds for free. I’m sure it’s the same in other places.

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Yes, this is a great way to get them! I do try to use organic when I can.

      Reply
  6. SOS Survival Products

    Thanks for sharing this. You can use kitchen scraps for survival, right? Vegetables, fruits, and meat can all be used in different recipes to create meals that will sustain you during a difficult time. One way to use kitchen scraps is to create vegetable stock. This is a simple recipe that can be made with just a few ingredients. All you need is water, vegetables, and herbs. The vegetables can be onion skins, celery tops, carrot peels, and any other vegetable scraps that you have. The herbs can be fresh or dried. Simply simmer the vegetables and herbs in water for about an hour, then strain the liquid and store it in a jar or container.

    Reply
  7. Nanette

    I love the article! Here’s another tip that I use… When I bake chicken or pork roast, drain and refrigerate the pan juice. Later, skim off the fat and strain out the excess seasonings. I pressure can these, but freezing does well also. You will have stock for cooking rice, mashed pots, etc.

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Great tip Nanette, thanks for sharing!

      Reply
  8. Trudy

    Banana peels are excellent for cleaning, moisturizing, and polishing leather shoes. I worked in an old building with hardwood floors, and my black shoes would get very dusty. I’d take the banana peel from my lunch and clean my shoes. I’d then wipe them down with paper towel or a soft cloth to remove any banana residue. Banana peels are also great for removing salt stains from leather winter footwear.

    Reply
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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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Over the past few years, our decision to follow a less conventional path that aims to break free (at least in some part) from “the system” has been affirmed over and over again. We all know for a fact now that our food system, healthcare system, financial system, transportation system and so much more are all really just a house of cards built on shaky ground. We’ve been lucky so far, but sooner or later it’s all liable to collapse.

But preparedness and security isn’t the only thing that drives us… The peace of mind I get knowing that everything we grow is 100% organic, and that the ingredients in our food, medicine, personal and household products are safe and natural is worth more than anything I could buy at the grocery store.

(I’m not perfect though. Not by a long shot. I still rely on the grocery store, on modern medicine, and on many modern conveniences to get by, but I balance it as much as I can:)

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I’m all about practical gifts; Gifts that will truly make life easier and contribute to my and my family’s wellbeing. And our family includes our animals!

One of the ways we make sure our chickens are taken care of is by letting them free range during the day, but making sure they’re locked up and safe from predators at night. But who wants to be up at the crack of dawn to open the coop, or wake up to a bloodbath because you forgot to close the coop the night before?

(The answer is obviously no one… No one wants that).

Automating our homesteading tasks as much as possible allows us to worry about other things and saves us a ton of time. Plus, it makes sure that things get taken care of, whether we remember or not.

Using an automatic chicken door has been a GAME CHANGER for us. It’s one of those lesser known homestead tools that can make all the difference, and I’m always recommending one to anyone who keeps chickens!

This chicken door from @chickcozy_ is so easy to install and use too, and right now you can get one for a steal during their Black Friday sale!

Save over $40 off an automatic chicken door, plus use my coupon code for an ADDITIONAL DISCOUNT!

Don’t forget to check out their chicken coop heaters too, which are also on sale right now:)

Whether you’re shopping for yourself or looking for the perfect gift for the chicken lover who has everything (which might also be yourself;) the @chickcozy_ automatic chicken door is one Christmas gift that won’t soon be forgotten!

Comment “Chicken” below for more info and to get my exclusive coupon code! 🐓

#chicken #chickens #chickendoor #chickcozyautodoor #chickcozy #chickensofinstagram #chickensofig #chickenlover #homesteadlife
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Yes, you read that right…

Modern Homesteading Magazine is coming to an end.

This decision has not come easily, but there’s a season for everything, and more and more I’m feeling called to transition out of this season and into the next in both life and business.

And so this final farewell issue is bittersweet. On the one hand, it’s the first ever annual issue, with 100 pages packed with brand new content that celebrates the best of the past 32 issues!

And it’s the first issue I’ve ever offered in PRINT!

But on the other hand, it marks the end of an era, and of this publication that I’ve absolutely had the pleasure of creating and sharing with you.

If you’re a digital subscriber, you will not be charged a renewal fee going forward, and will continue to have access to the digital library until your subscription runs out. As part of your subscription, you’re able to download and/or print each issue of you like, so that you never lose access to the hundreds of articles and vast amount of information in each issue.

Rather than subscribing, you can now purchase an all-access pass for a one-time fee of just $20, which gives you access to our entire digital library of issues.

Plus, for a limited time, when you purchase an all-access pass you’ll also get a gift certificate for a second all-access pass to gift to someone else.

I’m also still taking preorders for the print version of this special edition issue, but only for a few more weeks!

When you preorder the print issue, you’ll also get a digital copy of the special edition issue (this issue only), and will receive a print copy in the mail later this year (hopefully by Christmas so long as there are no shipping delays!)

Click the link in my profile or visit modernhomesteadingmagazine.com to check out the latest issue, purchase an all-access pass to the digital library and/or preorder the print issue today!

Thanks to everyone who has read the magazine over the past 4 years. I’m humbled and grateful for your support, and can’t wait to share whatever comes next:)

#modernhomesteading #homesteading #homesteadersofinstagram
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It’s easy to romanticize homesteading, but the truth is that those homegrown vegetables, those freshly laid eggs, that loaf of bread rising on the counter, and that pantry full of home-canned food takes time, effort and dedication. It doesn’t “just happen” overnight!

But if you work on learning one new skill at a time and gain confidence in it before moving onto the next, one day you’ll be looking back and marvelling at how far you’ve come.

That’s where I’m at now. Life today looks a lot different than it did 10 years ago, when our homesteading and self-reliance journey was just beginning.

Back then we still lived in our city condo and were just beginning to dabble in all of this stuff. But my husband Ryan and I felt a sense urgency to start pursuing a more self-reliant lifestyle, and we committed to taking small steps, one day at a time to make that vision a reality.

Over the years we’ve continued to put one foot in front of the other, adding new skills and tackling new projects along the way that have helped us get to where we are today.

While there’s always more we want to learn and do, as I look around me right now, I’m so grateful that we took those first steps, especially considering what’s happened in the world over the past few years!

If you’re also feeling the urgency to take the first (or next) steps toward a more self-reliant life, this is your final reminder that today is the last day to join The Society of Self-Reliance and start levelling up your homesteading and self-sufficiency skills so that you’ve got what it takes to:

• Grow your own groceries
• Stock your pantry
• Create a natural home
• Get prepared
• Learn other important life skills like time management for homesteaders, goal setting and how to become your own handyman

And more!

If you’ve been feeling called to level up your self-reliance skills (because let’s be honest, we’re in for a wild ride these next few years with everything going on in the world), now is the time to heed that call.

Link in profile to enroll before midnight tonight, or go to thehouseandhomestead.com/society

#homesteading #selfreliance #selfsufficiency #homesteadingskills #preparedness
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