Health Advice



7 creative ways to repurpose food scraps into something delicious

Katlyn Moncada, on

Published in Health & Fitness

It’s a pretty safe bet that at some point, we’ve all thrown away a leftover scrap of food. The average American household tosses up to $2,000 worth of food every year. While making good use of leftovers or preserving and canning foods are excellent ways to prevent food waste, you may be throwing out food scraps that you didn't even know were edible or could be easily repurposed. We put together a list of tasty ways to use food scraps you may not have tried before.

1. Use almost empty jars for sauces.

When your jar of mayonnaise or peanut butter is almost empty, use it to shake up a sauce for pasta or make a salad dressing so you'll use every last bit. Bonus: Because you don't have to get out a bowl, this also prevents more dishes from getting dirty!

2. Put a cheese rind in your soup.

The rind at the end of your Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese is packed with a salty, umami flavor that can really enhance your dishes. Try throwing a rind into your pot of minestrone or pasta sauce while cooking and remove before serving.

3. Coat your food with bottom-of-the-bag crumbs.

Those crumbs in the bottom of the chip bag or box of crackers don't have to go to waste. Many dishes such as casseroles benefit from their crunchy addition as a topper. Crushed chips also make great coatings for chicken, fish, and other proteins.

4. Freeze herbs for a burst of flavor in your dishes.

Before leftover herbs can start to turn bad, blend them in some olive oil and freeze them in ice cube trays. Pop a cube into soups for a quick flavor boost or use for a sauce on top of meat or pasta.


5. Give fruit a new life before it’s too far gone.

This is no surprise, but some fruits on the verge of going overripe are even better baked (we’re looking at you, banana bread!). For other fruit that’s a little too soft for your taste, but not rotten, make fruit jams or fruit butters made with apples, pears or peaches in your slow cooker.

6. Reap the nutritious benefits of fruit and veggie tops.

Those leafy greens on most of your fruits and vegetables can have a life beyond the compost bin:

7. Save pickle and jalapeno brine for marinades.

The not-so-hidden secret ingredient at that popular chicken sandwich restaurant actually uses pickle brine to flavor the chicken breast before breading. Save that jar and use the brine the same way you would vinegar in dressings and marinades. You can also do the same for jalapenos brine. Try adding jalapeno brine to a spicy cocktail.

(Better Homes and Gardens is a magazine and website devoted to ideas and improvement projects for your home and garden, plus recipes and entertaining ideas. Online at

©2024 Dotdash Meredith. All rights reserved. Used with permission. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.



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