How to Use All of Your Produce, from Top to Tip
Creative cooks can find uses for nearly every part of fruits and veggies, from skins to roots. By using a few old-fashioned techniques and some modern recipes, you'll waste practically nothing.
Photo: Shutterstock / Jan Herodes
Did you know you’re probably wasting perfectly good food? Blame it on our fast-paced lives or our familiarity with certain parts of veggies that we’re used to cooking with (corn kernels, we’re looking at you). But in line with a “use it up” philosophy, many home cooks are finding ways to use nearly all of their fruits and veggies. By truly embracing a waste-not-want-not way of life, you will see big changes in both your grocery budget and your food waste. Simmering a batch of homemade vegetable broth is just the beginning. Here are more tempting ways to use it up, top to tip!
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Broccoli Stalks & Leaves
Yes, you can eat the stems; just be sure to peel off the tough outer layer before cooking. Leaves, which are higher in vitamins than florets and stalks, can be stewed similar to collard greens or kale. Or you could throw either of them into your favorite broccoli salad right along with the florets.
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Delicate corn flavor sweetened with sugar becomes a jelly that takes corn cobs from trash to treasure. Like holding summer in a mason jar, this yellow jelly is a must-try seasonal fave that exemplifies the zero waste mentality.
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Well known for its zest-ability and as an addition to water and tea, lemon peel can also be candied. Use any citrus peel in this tasty recipe that also makes a welcome gift.
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Fresh and delicious, celery leaves can be added to soups or salads or used as a garnish. You can also toss them into the blender as a smoothie add-in.
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When you think pickles, you probably don’t think watermelon, but you should! Pickled watermelon rinds are a delicious way to hang on to summer all year long.
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Move over, pumpkin spice everything, there’s a new pumpkin obsession on the horizon. Pumpkin seeds are delicious, healthy and versatile. Tossed with spices and toasted, they pack quite a punch in both the flavor and nutrition departments.
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Parsley & Cilantro Stems
The stems of delicate herbs like parsley and cilantro are so frequently thrown away. But if a recipe calls for these herbs chopped or minced, great news: You can cut up the stems right along with the leaves.
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Instead of peeling potatoes, treat the skins as the favored part. The first step in making these restaurant favorites is to scrub the potatoes and remove any eyes or bruises before peeling. Bake or broil them as a healthy and delicious snack or appetizer.