Things to Not Throw Out

I hate to throw anything away.  Working with Fresh Fork Market provides me ample experimental food, as I often take home damaged food.  Over the summer, my crock pot was on nearly every day, turning split tomatoes into pasta sauce, tomato paste, or simmering sauces.  I pickled anything that didn’t move, some with better results than others (pickled snow peas showed up in my Bloody Mary cocktails last week-yum).   Here are some highlights of things that you should not throw away:

Squash seeds:

I made pumpkin seeds, as do many folks, but this year I also roasted acorn squash seeds.  I like them even more than pumpkin seeds as they are smaller and slightly nuttier.  I roasted them in a medium hot oven after washing them, and simply sprinkled them with sea salt and fresh ground pepper.

Tomato Water:

When I make a lot of tomato sauce, I often puree the whole tomatoes with my Vita-mix   No worries about skins, they are pulverized and add depth of flavor to the sauce.  Once I puree the raw tomatoes, I often let the mix sit on the counter overnight.  The pulp with rise to the top, leaving a base of tomato flavored water beneath.  I never throw this out.  It makes a great veggie broth and works as a soup starter or a braising liquid.

Watermelon rind:

Watermelon rind pickles are said to be delicious, but I have not had time to try this one out.  I let you know how it comes out this year.

Turkey or chicken bones:

I never throw away the bones from a bird.  I boil them with water until they make a nice stock.  I use these stocks all the time in making soup or other dishes.  Same with the pan drippings.  If you end up with too much, you can always freeze left over drippings, stock, or even gravy to use later.

Leaves and stems:

Sometimes the leaves and stems are the best part of the plant.  Most of the green portions of plants are perfectly edible, and some are delicious.  Carrot tops make great pesto (so does kale).  I braise the greens of nearly any root vegetable-beets, turnip, kohlrabi, etc.  Even the leaves of broccoli and cauliflower are edible.  If in doubt, Google it.  Some things, like rhubarb, should not be consumed, due to the high concentrations of oxalic acid.

Bruised fruit:

Cut off the bruise and it is fine.  Applesauce or peach jam is super easy with a Vita-mix and will help you use up that bruised fruit.  Try freezing trimmed fruit for smoothies.

, Broccoli stocks, corn cobs, etc:

Whenever you trim off the stocks from your veggies, chop them and boil them with some water.  Once the mixture has some color and flavor, you can strain it and you have a vegetable stock that is great for soups and cooking.


Most greens are hardy and can freeze well.  Remove the ribs of tough greens and chop and freeze.  More delicate greens should be cooked and can be frozen for later use.  If you hate the greens, try making a veggie stock using them.  I will often make quiches with greens, and if I have lots of greens, freeze them par baked for later use.


If you have milk that you think is going to spoil before you can use it, try freezing it.  While it doesn’t thaw well for drinking, I have had success with cream soups made from frozen milk.


Most cheese will mold.  Simply cut off the mold and the rest is usually fine.  If you have ever been to a cheese shop in Europe you would see that most cheese is covered in mold when you buy it.  In fact, aged cheddar is moldy and is trimmed before packaging.  That aging is what brings that sharpness to the cheese.

Bacon Fat:

When I was a kid, we always had a coffee can of bacon grease floating around the kitchen.  Now some 40 years later, I realize how tasty and versatile this fat is.  It makes the best greens and is perfect for frying eggs.


I have not tried this, but Lyn tells me that you can freeze eggs.  scramble up your eggs and freeze them in batches that you use for baking.  If you have large ice cube trays, I would bet you could freeze them in individual egg portions.

I have made my own beef and pork demi-glace from bones, dried pepper fakes, hot sauce, and all manner of things from food that was edging toward the garbage.  Before you throw it out, see if there is one more thing that you can make out of it.  After all, some of the best parts of the animal or the plant are often those that most people throw away.


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5 Responses to "Things to Not Throw Out"

  1. Thanks for the tips! I do many of these things, but learned a few new tricks.

    With the eggs, are you suggesting we mix the egg & yolk together and then freeze the uncooked egg? I usually make up some scrambled egg/black bean/veggie burritos and freeze those for quick breakfasts, but your idea sounds more versatile.

    I can’t wait to try carrot top pesto!

    Also, a friend taught me to freeze the leafy parts of greens, the “too limp to eat celery,” the outer layers and skins of onions/garlic/shallots, and any veggie bits that might otherwise be garbage or compost. Those can be used together at a later date for stocks. It’s an extension of the tips you’ve given, but allows for a variety of veggies in your stock and also allows greater flexibility when it comes to when you make the stock.

  2. Lynda Tuennerman

    You can also freeze cheese-not all that wonderful to snack on but great for cooking. The greens off the broccoli, cauliflower and kholrabi make a great addition to our family favorite, Borscht or anything that you would use cabbage in, i.e. a flavorful layer in your stuffed cabbage (the meat filling is best with 50/50 beef & pork). Also, if you don’t have a Vitamix, a Cuisinart will work just as well with the steel blade. In addition, if you take the bruised fruits; apples, apricots, plums, etc. and toss them each or a mix into your crockpot whole (with the exception of apples which must be cored) then let them simmer for 8-10 hours, pick out the stewed-clean pits, blend with a hand blender (skins and all), season to taste with cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and/or allspice and you will have a fabulous fruit butter that can be put over anything from ice cream to cottage cheese (my kids thought the latter was an extra-special dessert treat, I think they still do).

  3. Yes, freeze the slightly scrambled raw egg. The ice cube trays aren’t quite big enough. The last time, I used silicone muffin liners and once frozen, I popped them out and put in a zip lock container. I heard about a pinch of salt for savory dishes and sugar for sweet dishes, but I’ve never bothered. labeling isn’t my specialty. I just made quiche from frozen eggs (and leftover turkey) on Monday. I’ve also combined eggs and almost bad milk together in quiche portions and froze it together with the herbs so I didn’t waste the milk. I use frozen eggs for all cooking, french toast, etc. I haven’t tried them for omlets.

  4. Andrea

    Thanks for the tips! Does anyone have a good pickling recipe or any advice for a first-time pickler??

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