A funny thing happens when you become intimately aware of the origins of your food. Especially if you yourself, or somebody you know grew or raised the food on your plate. You begin to respect it, to be more grateful for it, and you want to get the most out of it. Wasting any seems like such a terrible tragedy.
We try to make the most of everything around here, and that includes kitchen scraps. I thought you might be interested in seeing what I do with our leftovers.
Egg shells– composted; dried and kept to sprinkle around tomato and pepper plants; dried, crumbled, and fed to chickens for calcium.
Tea bags- composted
Coffee grounds & filter– composted; coffee grounds dried and saved to sprinkle around tomatoes and blueberries.
Overripe bananas– frozen for smoothies; used in banana bread.
Banana peels- composted (don’t feed to chickens)
Potato peels- composted (don’t feed raw potato or raw potato peels to chickens)
Onion skins and tips- frozen and saved to make broth/stock, then strained from stock and fed to chickens; composted.
Garlic skins and tips-frozen and saved to make broth/stock, then strained from stock and fed to chickens; composted.
Carrot peels– frozen and saved to make broth/stock, then strained from stock and fed to chickens; composted.
Celery tips– frozen and saved to make broth/stock, then strained from stock and fed to chickens; composted.
Avocado peels and pits– composted (though the pit will take forever to break down, or it will sprout and grow!)
Leftovers- we feed almost all of our leftovers to our chickens, with the exception of anything with a lot of cheese, and sweets. What can’t be fed to the chickens or composted is tossed out for the wildlife.
Bones– frozen and saved to make broth/stock, then fed to dogs/cats.
Citrus peels– saved for making a citrus scented all-purpose cleaner by soaking the peels in a jar of white vinegar for about two weeks, infusing the citrus scent into the vinegar. Dilute half and half with water, and use in a spray bottle for a great disinfectant.
Sour milk- allowed to curdle and then fed to the chickens. (There are a ton of other really great suggestions for how to use sour (raw) milk at Healthy Home Economist.)
Syrup from canned fruit– fed to the chickens.
Juice leftover from cooking a whole chicken or a roast- saved for broth or gravy.
Wilted/slimy lettuce– fed to chickens; composted.
Fruit peels and cores– fed to chickens; composted; used to make jelly.
Fat drippings– cooled, hardened and used for emergency candles! (Okay, not all the time, but it’s fun to know it can be done.)
Nut shells– composted (except for Black Walnut shells)
Chicken neck and organs– frozen and saved to make broth/stock, then strained from stock and fed to chickens (yes, chickens will eat chicken).
Fish heads and organs– frozen and saved to make broth/stock, then strained from stock and fed to chickens.
Moldy cheese– that goes to the wildlife. Can’t be composted, or fed to the chickens.
Wilted herbs– fed to chickens; compost.
Stale bread– frozen to make breadcrumbs at my convenience (also good for croutons)
I think that pretty much covers everything that would otherwise be thrown in the trash. I’m sure there are better ways to make use of some of these scraps, but this is just what I do on a daily basis. I have two bowls on my counter- one for chicken food, and one for the compost. When I clean the plates from the table after each meal, I scrape the leftovers into the chicken feed bowl (unless it’s a lot of food leftover, in which case I’ll put it in a sealable container and save it to reheat later). At the end of each day, we take those bowls out and toss them where they need to go. It’s nothing fancy, but it works.
So that’s what I do, now it’s your turn to share! I wanna hear your best tips for a no waste kitchen!