To Cut Down on Food Waste, Try These Smart Uses For Vegetable Scraps

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Cutting down on food waste is one of the easiest ways to think green: Buy only what you need, freeze food you can’t finish so you don’t have to toss it out, and don’t waste any part of the animal or vegetable if you can put it to good use. Fixing to toss that carrot top? Hold it right there! Discover these creative (and enticing) uses for traditional scraps, and we promise you’ll want to put them back in the crisper.


Broccoli Stalks


Like their florets above, broccoli stems actually boast plenty of cruciferous flavor—without the threat of showing up later in between your teeth. Slice them thinly and add them to a wok; their tender texture is lovely in a stir-fry. Alternatively, save the stems and julienne them to use in a broccoli slaw. (Note that you’ll want to take off the last inch of the stalk, as it is too tough to use.)

Carrot Tops


If you have a choice between buying carrots with their greens or carrots without their greens, always go for the former. Once you get them home from the grocery store, immediately separate the orange roots from their greens (when left together, the greens will sap nutrients from the roots). Save the greens and blitz them into a pesto with olive oil, your favorite nut, and some garlic and parmesan. 

Mushroom Stems


Whether you’re a fiend for shiitakes, creminis or chanterelles, save all of the stems from your mushrooms, freeze them, and when you have enough, use them to make an umami-filled mushroom stock that can be asset to soups, stews or braises.

Apple Tops and Cores


If you enjoy slicing apples for salads or a snack, save their stemmed tops or seeded cores and run them through a juicer or a high-speed blender next time you make a smoothie. 


Are you prone to tossing away the scraps of a vegetable that’s not pictured here? Don’t worry—you can save just about every vegetable scrap to make your own meat-free stock. What are your tips for reducing food waste? Leave them in the comments below!


3 comments about “To Cut Down on Food Waste, Try These Smart Uses For Vegetable Scraps

  1. Alegra Loewenstein, Health Coach

    Thank you. I love these tips. I save most of my vegetable scraps in the freezer and use them to make veggie stock when I have enough. It turns out a little different every time but it’s always delicious! It’s environmentally friendly… and it’s also a good motivation to actually make my own stock, which I had wanted to do for a long time, but only ended up doing when the veggie scraps were starting to fill out my freezer!

  2. Lisa

    These are great tips! I sometimes forget about my juicer as a way to use up extra cores and such. I’m on a mission to reduce food waste in our home one meal at a time. It’s been fun experimenting with different ways to use foods I might otherwise compost. I do the same as the commenter above and save all my scraps for stock but maybe I’ll do a scraps bag and a juicing bag from now on!

  3. Wilma

    I use small amounts of vegetables, meat, tomatoes later by placing them in snack bags, then in a freezer bag. When enough have been saved I make soup.


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