Leftover food scraps, such as vegetable peels, fruit rinds, skins and seeds can be a great for compost in the garden. Cathy Isom tells us how we can turn leftover food scraps into things you can use again. That’s coming up on This Land of Ours.
Whether we are people who love to eat the skin on the potato or the type that insists that our cucumbers be peeled, we all have times when rinds, skins, seeds and so on are removed from what’s to be cooked and left in a heaping pile of compost. And, that’s not a bad thing. Building compost is one of many ways we can deal with our trash responsibly, and it also one of many natural alternatives to promoting soil fertility.
However, sometimes we need to fill our lives with a little more whimsy than rich, rotting mound of compost, and it’s in those moments, when the tea leaves tell of a different way, that we might use our fruit and vegetable peelings to create a whole new magic. A dash of sugar, blasts of hot air, and an empty spot in the garden patch — these are but a few of our options.
1. Make Hard Cider/Cider Vinegar
Most of us are largely in tune with the power and prowess of apple cider vinegar, but there are actually lots of fantastic (and healthy) vinegar’s we can make from organic fruit scraps. In addition to apples and pears, pineapples, plum, raspberry, and even tomato can be used to make homespun vinegars. All it takes is a bit of sugar, a pile of scraps, some water, and a heap of time. First, the concoction will ferment into some sort of booze (at about a week), after which that booze will slowly turn to a delicious version of vinegar. It’s great fun.
2. Grow New Plants
Vegetables and fruit scraps embody the perfect time to join the legions of green-thumbed activists out there growing their own food. Plus, it cost nothing to try. Many, many plants can be grown from the scraps we are tossing out, hopefully into compost bins. While compost is great, there is also the potential to grow our own pineapples, ginger, scallions, lettuce, celery, papayas, sweet potatoes, potatoes, garlic, and the list just keeps growing. Check out this article to learn how.
3. Create Specialty Seasonings/Teas
Fruits peelings and rinds are particularly good for making flavorful seasonings and loose-leaf teas. With the help of a food dehydrator (or an open oven on very low heat), apple cinnamon sugar spice could be sprinkled on tomorrow’s toast. Or, the morning beverage might be a soothing lemon-ginger tea. Lemon-pepper, orange-mint tea, grapefruit-cayenne salt, and many other interesting and tasty combinations can come mostly from scraps. And, don’t forget, dried onions, garlic, and other vegetables can be dried and powdered then used to make great seasoning mixes.