Things to Not Throw Out

I hate to throw anything away.  Over the summer, my crock pot is on nearly every day, turning split tomatoes into pasta sauce, tomato paste, or simmering sauces.  I pickled anything I could, some with better results than others (pickled snow peas showed up in my Bloody Mary cocktails last week-yum).  Here are some things to use up rather than throw out:

Squash seeds:

I often make toasted 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 Vitamix.   No worries about skins, they are pulverized and add depth of flavor to the sauce.  Once I purée the raw tomatoes, I often let the mix sit on the counter overnight.  The pulp rises 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. Here is a recipe from online: KitchenRiff’s Pickled Watermelon Rind

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 leaves, 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 stalks, corn cobs, etc:

Whenever you trim off the stalks 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, blanch and freeze.


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.

  • Robert Stockham

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