Do you usually get rid of leftover bread, cheese, and chicken bones? Don’t do that anymore! There are some foods you shouldn’t throw away, because you can still use them to make tasty things in the kitchen!
Unfortunately, I’m used to throwing food. Not only what remains on the plate, but also the cheese that starts to smell tangy, bones, stalk and roots I don’t use when I cook vegetables. I’m used to getting rid quickly of all the things I don’t eat; I don’t like to see and keep them all around because, sooner or later, they still end up in the trash. But, since one of my New Year's resolutions is to reduce my expenses, I did some quick research and I figured out how wrong I was. Because there are many foods you shouldn’t throw away, but you totally should use for your future recipes. I thought you may want to know which are the most common foods you shouldn’t throw in the trash, so I’m sharing this with you.
10 foods you shouldn’t throw away
1. Chicken bones
If you happen to buy bone-in chicken pieces – breast and thighs – but you want to cook only the meat, don’t throw away the bones! Save them to make stock. Chicken stock can also be made with chicken meat, but why not cook the meat in a different way and just use the bones?
If you have enough bones, you can boil them right away and keep the stock for later use. If you don’t have enough bones, pack them and keep them into the freezer until you accumulate enough to make a batch and have the time to make the stock.
2. Cheese rinds and leftover cheese
Fromage fort is the solution for your leftover cheese. Fromage fort is the French term for ‘strong cheese’, and it’s a cheese spread made by blending in the food processor together pieces of different leftover cheeses (hard and soft) with white wine, garlic, and various herbs. It helps you get rid of those scraps of cheese you have in the fridge. You can also add your cheese leftovers on pizza or, if you have parmesan rinds, you can add them to boiling soup or pasta sauce.
3. Bacon grease
My grandparents used to cook with lard. I’m not sure when and why I gave up on using grease in cooking. After frying some bacon, I’m in a hurry to throw away all that grease, instead of storing it. What a pity! Saving the grease left from cooking a batch of bacon is a great way to add flavor to future dishes. It seems some of our ancestors’ habits are good to keep even now, in the ‘healthy eating era’.
Use bacon grease when you make pasta, or you roast vegetables, instead of butter when scrambling eggs or frying potatoes, rub it on chicken breasts before roasting or use it when you make caramelized onion.
For storing the grease, we suggest you let your pan sit on the stovetop for a while until the grease cools and solidifies into a layer of fat. Then scoop up the fat with a spatula and add it to a jar. If you don't want any waste, then you should pour off the fat while it's hot.
4. Stale bread
There are so many different ways you can use your leftover bread! For example, you can turn dry bread into croutons for soups and salads. Or for homemade breadcrumbs which can be used over casseroles, pasta and baked chicken, or bread pudding, or French toast – which is a great idea you can use to make sure you don’t throw away a bit stale bread.
5. Black bananas
We’ve said it once, and we say it again. Overripe bananas are actually pretty great for making goodies. You can use them right away or place them in the freezer and thaw later for banana bread, muffins, or cake. You can also use them straight from the freezer (without thawing them) in a smoothie or blend them up into a banana ice cream!
6. Vegetable tops
For many years I’ve thought the only part I can eat from the celery is the root. I've known for a while that the stalks are also delicious in foods. But I didn’t know I can also use the carrot tops, fennel fronds, and beet greens until recently. They’re edible and tasty too if you know how to use them! You can sauté them with olive oil, garlic, and some of your other favorite greens, or add them into soups. Beet greens are also good in smoothies.
7. Pumpkin and squash seeds
If you decide to make a pumpkin pie or a butternut squash soup, keep in mind that the seeds are foods you shouldn’t throw away. Scrap the seeds and clean them up, let them dry, and then you have the chance to roast them into amazing snacks. You can make them using just some oil or butter and a pinch of salt, but you can also sprinkle some of your favorite spice blends over them before starting the roasting process.
8. Pickle juice
It doesn’t matter if your pickles are bought or homemade. When you finish the pickles, you're left with the brine and you probably pour it in the sink. Bad idea! Why do that if you can use the pickle brine to pickle other things? Don’t you want to save some time?
Also, pickle brine can be added to salads or salad dressings. Plus, pickle juice is apparently a great hangover cure.
9. Sour milk
I always have cheese and milk in the fridge. I sometimes buy more milk than I anticipate I’ll use, so it may turn sour from time to time. What do I do then? Obviously, I throw it away. But I’ll totally reconsider this because I found out I can make cottage cheese from it!
Seems like all you need is to add vinegar to the heated soured milk and homogenize the liquid as you normally would make cheese. Once the curds are separated, rinse through a colander. And… you’re done!
10. Leftover coffee
You shouldn’t throw your leftover coffee unless you've added milk or whipped cream to it. But if you have to leave from home before finishing your morning cup of the amazing dark and bitter liquid, don’t let it go to waste! Leftover coffee can be used into many other things! Not only your afternoon ice coffee but also in marinades! Not to speak about the fabulous tiramisu dessert!