How to use up those refrigerator extras; limp carrots, brown bananas, sad celery, etc.
One of the things that bugs me the most is food waste. We’re a pretty normal family of four. We cook at home a lot and eat regular kinds of food, but I can’t get over how much food we buy that we don’t end up eating. I think we also tend to take a lazy route out sometimes. It’s easier to throw those slowly perishing perishables into the compost bin instead of finding something else to do with them.
I think it’s time for us to get serious and use up some of our refrigerator extras. Not just to save some coin, but to teach our kids some important kitchen skills.
Here are a few things I’m going to try and do more of:
Use up stale bread
Stale bread can be turned into breadcrumbs and croutons without too much effort. Did you know you can make your own Fake n’ Bake crumb coating? Here’s an easy recipe. Day old baguettes are especially good for croutons (which can be used in soups and salads). Just cut up the bread, toss with a bit of olive oil and spices and pop in the oven until crispy. (It doesn’t get much easier than that!)
Deal with that fruit and veggie drawer
Soft apples can be cooked down into applesauce (my kids love it, and it’s much better than store bought) and brown bananas are perfect for banana bread and banana ice cream. A shredded carrot can be tossed in a meatloaf. And no one will die if sprouty potatoes are de-sprouted and boiled and mashed or turned into a soup.
And did you know that if you put your green onions in water they’ll keep growing? Then you can just snip off what you need. (Frankly, it’s amazing. You MUST try this.)
Other leftover veggies such as onions, sad celery, and withered carrots can make the basis of a great soup stock. Toss in a leftover chicken or turkey carcass and you have the beginnings of something beautiful. A Parmesan rind can add great flavour too.
Any combination of soft fruit – bananas, melons, peaches – makes a great smoothie. One of our faves includes banana, vanilla yogurt, peanut butter and cocoa.
And when someone hands you lemons, make fancy ice cubes. Lemons that are starting to dry out can be sliced and tucked into ice cube trays to make lemon ice cubes.
Use up that red wine
Leftover red wine is pretty rare around here, but it makes a great addition to a steak marinade or to beef stew. It’s also the basis of The World’s Best Fruit Fly Trap. Really! Just don’t drink it by accident.
Using up leftovers can save some serious cash when you think about it.
How do you use up leftovers at home? Share your domestic wisdom!