Cleaning out your fridge and pantry to get rid of leftover foods gives you a huge dopamine rush. However, it’s also a good idea to not waste food. Food waste is a serious issue and every year around 40 million tons of food end up in landfills in the USA. Shocking, to say the least!
Apart from wreaking havoc on the planet, chucking out food scraps also means you’re missing out on nutrient-dense foods. One way to become less wasteful is to learn to salvage food leftovers from the compost and give them a second life. Your wallet will thank you later.
Here is a list of leftover foods you always throw away but shouldn’t.
Leftover Foods: Brown Bananas
While those brown-spotted bananas may not be a sight for sore eyes, they’re actually very healthy. Don’t get fooled by the color of their peels because it just indicates that the fruit has become over-ripe.
When this happens, the dark spots on the banana skin create a Tumor necrosis factor, a cancer-fighting substance that will help prevent and even kill cancerous cells in your body.
The good news is the riper a banana is, the higher the content of TNF. However, if you don’t think you can stomach it as it is, you can add it to your sundaes, banana bread, desserts, and even blend it into a smoothie.
Leftover Foods: Chicken Bones
Sometimes a recipe calls for just the meat and not the bone. In that case, what should you do with the bones? NO, don’t even think about throwing the bones away!
Chicken bones are actually the flavor-enhancing ingredient that can convert an ordinary recipe into finger-licking goodness. Collect all the bones and use them to make chicken stock, which you can keep for later or use in soups and broths right now.
However, if you don’t have enough bones to fulfill a recipe, pack the ones available and keep them in the freezer until you have enough quantity to make a batch.
Leftover Foods: Stale Bread
There’s no denying that a freshly toasted bread slice can make your mornings better. Unfortunately, you only have a couple of days to enjoy that soft texture. If not stored correctly, bread loses moisture and starts drying out.
This is when most people fear it’s no longer fit for use and toss it off. While we’re not suggesting you eat moldy bread, you can use stale bread in so many different ways.
From egg on toast, savory bread pudding to French toast, you can use aged bread in so many ways. Not to mention, you can make croutons and add on to pastas and soups. And of course, you can always turn them into breadcrumbs.
Leftover Foods: Orange Peels
Although oranges are everyone’s favorite, few people actually know the benefits of orange peels. The rind is chock-full of vitamins and minerals such as thiamine, calcium, provitamin A, riboflavin, and folate. It also contains polyphenols that can help manage chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer, heart diseases, Alzheimer’s, etc.
Also, orange peels are more versatile than you think. From using the zest into salad dressings, baked goods, and orange jams to drying them up to use as a spice—the possibilities are endless. Along with making your food delicious, citrus peels can do wonders for your hair and skin.
Since it has anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties, it can cure dark circles, acne, blemishes and even help you get rid of dandruff.
Still, want to dispose of your orange peels?
Leftover Foods: Pumpkin and Squash Seeds
Like most fruits, pumpkins and squashes are full of tiny seeds that must be scooped out to use the flesh. Hence with the rinds, seeds also end up in the bin or compost. However, it’s not wise to discard pumpkin and squash seeds.
Not only are these seeds edible and can be added to multiple recipes, but they’re also super healthy. They contain lots of nutritional benefits like beta-carotene, iron, zinc, and omega 3s that help lower cholesterol and prevent heart diseases.
They also make a tasty snack, and you can season them with salt and pepper or roast them to bring out that delicious nutty flavor.
Leftover Foods: Cucumber Peels
Cucumbers are a refreshing addition to your salads, wraps, and mojitos. However, many people don’t seem to love the hard cuke skin. If you can’t resist the urge to peel the skin right off the bat, you’re actually wasting the healthiest part of the cucumber.
The skin is where you find the most fiber, silica, and anti-oxidants. It’s perfectly edible and very nutritious.
Cucumber peels are multi-use, and they can come in handy to take off markers, crayons, and even pen marks from the wall. Just rub the outer part of the peel directly to the affected area, and the stains should come off with minimal effort.
Leftover Foods: Carrot Tops
Carrot tops remind me of Bugs Bunny munching away on his favorite snack like there’s no tomorrow. The fluffy green leaves are also known as ‘fronds’. However, it’s a shame that most supermarkets don’t sell their carrots with their leaves attached. The irony is that even if it’s available with its foliage, people would still chop it off before consumption.
While the common myth is that carrot tops are uneatable, the green tops are very much edible and very nutritious. Since they are rich in vitamins, you can add them to your soups and sauces to fortify your immune system. Interestingly, people in South East Asia swear by the benefits of carrot tea leaves for natural detox and weight loss
Leftover Foods: Sour Milk
Did you forget to refrigerate your milk again and plan to throw it away—think again!
No, we’re not saying that you drink that spoiled milk. But it still isn’t trash-worthy! Yes, you read that right.
Although, you cannot use it to pair it with your breakfast cereal or make your white coffee. But you can still include it into your meals in many creative ways.
So instead of throwing it right away, you can add it to your pancake batter, baking, or stews. Besides, you can make the best-tasting cottage cheese at home by using that sour milk of yours.
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