6 Genius Ways to Upcycle Your Food Scraps

Tossing out food can feel so wasteful. Instead, turn food scraps into useful household items.

Making Compost From Vegetable Leftovers and food scraps in a bright kitchen and on a wooden countertopSVETIKD/GETTY IMAGES

With food prices on the rise, we’re all looking for ways to get the most out of the food we buy. We have some seriously useful kitchen products to help keep food fresh for longer, but inevitably you’ll end up with some food waste—think orange peels, cucumber skins and pineapple tops.

Next time you end up with some food scraps after cooking, think twice before tossing it in the garbage. Aside from adding it to the composting pile, there could be hidden ways to upcycle your food scraps. These savvy ideas can help you from feeling guilty about throwing out food, thanks to content creator Armen Adamjan (@creative_explained) on TikTok.

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Man peels back Peel off of an Orange
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Orange Peels

Instead of throwing away orange peels, toss them into a jar and then fill it with white vinegar. Cover and set it in a dark spot for about two weeks. After that, strain the vinegar and place it in a spray bottle for a citrusy DIY cleaning spray.

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Woman Peeling Cucumber over a colorful bowl in a bright kitchen background
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Cucumber Peels

If you prefer to peel the cucumber skin off before adding it to recipes, save the peels instead of tossing them. Add the cucumber peels to a container and fill it with water. Let it soak for about five days and then strain out the skins. You can now use this cucumber water as a nourishing way to fertilize your plants.

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Fresh Tropical Pineapple with top cut off On A Cuttingboard
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Pineapple Tops

Next time you’re peeling a pineapple, save the top to grow your own plant. Instead of cutting the pineapple top off, twist it off gently, then remove the lowest three of four rows of leaves. After letting it dry for two days, gently twist it into some potting soil. Water it from the top every four or five days and watch new leaves sprout from the top as it grows.

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Watermelon Rinds on a plate
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Watermelon Rind

It might seem like watermelon rind is an inedible food scrap, but it’s actually completely edible and a great source of fiber. After your next summer barbecue, save the watermelon rind to make a great smoothie. Toss the watermelon rind into a blender with some ice cubes and a squeeze of lemon juice, and you’ll end up with a frothy watermelon smoothie.

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Avocado Skins and Pit on a plate out of focus on a bright background
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Avocado Skins

Avocados are one of the most nutrient-packed foods, but they also tend to be one of the most expensive produce items at the store. If you want to maximize your purchase, save the avocado skins instead of tossing them out. Place them in the oven for about 10 minutes at 300°F. Use a blender or grinder to turn the baked avocado skins into a fine powder and then add in 1 teaspoon of plain yogurt and 1 teaspoon of honey to create an all-natural and refreshing face mask.

Lauren Allain
Lauren is a journalist based in the Pacific Northwest who loves diving deep into topics like food trends and new products. Her love of food started in college while working in a coffee shop, leading her to work in the restaurant industry. Since then, she’s stayed in the world of food at Taste of Home writing about new foods from popular brands like Jet-Puffed color-changing marshmallows and Baskin Robbins chicken and waffles-flavored ice cream.
Offline, Lauren loves traveling to find new flavors, cooking methods, and overlooked food destinations.