FoodSeasonal scraps to super snacks: Creative zero-waste cooking tips

Seasonal scraps to super snacks: Creative zero-waste cooking tips

Vegetable scraps
Vegetable scraps
Images source: © Adobe Stock | Eugene & Olga Mishyny

6:48 PM EDT, May 21, 2024

Spring and summer are the best times for kitchen experiments and discovering new flavors. The potential of seasonal fruits and vegetables can be harnessed in unconventional ways, creating unique snacks and dishes you never even dreamed of.

These remnants seemingly belong in the trash; you might think the only thing you could get from them is compost material. However, the leftovers of seasonal products have a lot of potential worth utilizing. Not only will you reduce waste, but you'll also create something delicious and save money. Surprising, your mother-in-law is guaranteed!

More than just basil pesto

Pesto has captured the hearts of not only Italian cuisine lovers but anyone needing a quick, light meal. Just cook the pasta, mix it with the sauce, and you're done—delicious warm and good cold. Although fresh basil naturally comes to mind when thinking of pesto, it can also be prepared from other leaves.

Radish Leaf Pesto
Radish Leaf Pesto© Canva | los_angela

Crisp and bold radishes are an obvious addition to sandwiches or cottage cheese. However, the green leaves often end up in the trash, which is quite a loss. They are a treasure trove of vitamins, minerals, and flavor. Just wash them thoroughly and blend them with olive oil, garlic, parmesan, and either walnuts or pine nuts. Finally, add some salt and a touch of lemon, and the radish leaf pesto is ready to eat. You can use parsley or cilantro in the same way.

Healthy leftovers

An evening movie session with friends, the new season of your favorite show, or a party—during all these occasions, it's nice to munch on something. Here, you should reach for potato peels. Rinse them thoroughly, dry them, and cut them into thin slices. Then brush with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and your favorite spices like herbes de Provence, oregano, or paprika. Bake in the oven until golden, and they're ready.

Broccoli is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, and we often deprive ourselves of valuable nutrients by discarding the leaves and stems. Don't waste them! Just sauté them in a pan with olive oil, garlic, and your favorite spices. Alternatively, add them to an omelet, scrambled eggs, or frittata. They taste genuinely exquisite.

Great trick for quickly removing stems
Great trick for quickly removing stems© Adobe Stock

Hulling strawberries can take some time and perhaps fray your nerves a bit. It's a shame for the results of your effort to land in the trash when they can be used. You can blend strawberries with the hulls into a smoothie. The greens are a real treasure trove of vitamins that will enhance the smoothie and a salad, pesto, or herbal infusion.

Do you have lemon or orange peel left after squeezing the juice? Perfect, because on a hot day, they can enhance water by adding flavor. Flavored water is much more appealing than plain tap water.

A flavorful broth

Vegetable scraps are also great for making a rich broth. Having such broth in a jar or the freezer is good — it’s an excellent base for many dishes. You can use almost any vegetable scraps for broth, like carrot peels, onion skins, mushroom stems, or celery leaves. Adding some broken asparagus ends is also worth it to give it a unique, bold flavor.

Such broth is extremely flavorful.
Such broth is extremely flavorful.© Adobe Stock | Madeleine Steinbach

Cooking with leftovers does not mean poor-quality cuisine. It's imaginative, creative, and full of flavors and colors. It’s worth unleashing your imagination and fully utilizing the potential of vegetables and fruits. Cook with a zero-waste spirit.

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