Chucking Out Vegetable Peels? 8 Ways To Upcycle Kitchen Scraps

Vegetables peeled and their ends and stems chopped off create a bundle of scrap which either finds its way to the waste bin or to the compost. The issue of food wastage is as much about reducing overcooking as it is about making sustainable use of vegetables, fruits and other fresh produce purchased from the green grocer. This involves making use of as many parts of a vegetable as possible before throwing it out in the trash or in the compost bin

Not only does this eliminate food waste, it also helps to cut costs, come under budget on your grocery shopping and eliminate clutter in the kitchen that can occur when you shop for too much produce. Vegetable peels can be used in broths, chutneys, gravies and even cooked as side dishes. This harnesses all the nutrient content present in the veggie scraps, turning them into powerful ingredients for boosting overall health. Here are some ways in which vegetable scraps can be used in creative ways:

Boil For Broth

Take all vegetable peels, stems, stalks and skins and put them into boiling water to make a delicious and aromatic veggie broth. This can be stored and added to gravies or had as clear soup to reap all nutrient benefits from the peelings.

Turn Into Sauce

If you have a big pile of stems and stalks leftover after taking off all the leaves from leafy greens like spinach or turnips or kale, put them all in a blender. Add a dash of olive oil, some garlic and salt and blend into a healthy veggie pesto. The same can be done with leftover insides of tomatoes for a tomato sauce recipe.

Stir-Fried Green Veggie Stems

Instead of throwing out the stalks of leafy vegetables, wash them thoroughly and chop them to be added into stir-fried recipes. Not only does this eliminate food waste but it also provides the body with a healthy amount of fibre and roughage required to fortify the digestive system.

Veggie Peel Chutney

Peelings of vegetables like pumpkins, bottle gourds and ridge gourds can be dry-roasted and ground up to make delicious dry chutneys seasoned with sesame, curry leaves, a bit of chilli powder and turmeric. The chutney is a good accompaniment with dals, sambars and dosas.

Potato Peel Chips

Instead of throwing out potato peels, soak them in water and once drained of all mud and soil, simply deep fry them to make crispy chips. Another alternative to avoid waste is to cook a stir-fried potato subzi with the peelings intact. This adds a crispy texture and a delicious deep flavour to the preparation.

Grow Into Veggies

A handy kitchen hack to prevent food waste is to take carrot or cucumber stems, pumpkin seeds and other leftovers to your kitchen window to place them in small petri-like dishes for growing more produce. You can plant them in the garden once they start sprouting and have a supply of fresh vegetables.

Detox Infusions

Certain peelings like cucumbers, carrot shavings or leftover lemon zest can be added to water to make healthy detox infusions. This low-calorie drink promotes hydration and cleanses the digestive tract, making the body feel light and giving the skin a natural glow.

DIY Beauty Hacks

Leftover lemon zest or curry leaves paste can be applied to skin as a mask or scrub for ridding it of infection, fungal growth and bacteria. Sometimes rubbing leftover lemon juice all over nails also rids them of stubborn turmeric stains turning them into natural cleansers.