It’s so easy to just toss out fruit and vegetable scraps once you’re done cooking. But, believe it or not, those carrot tops, extra peels and rinds can actually come in handy.
Fruits and vegetables are among the foods with the “highest wastage rates,” according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The next time you lift the garbage lid, you might want to think twice: there are several different ways you can reuse these food scraps—some are even good for you!
Related: 7 Ways to Reduce Food Waste
Many experts live by this easy option. Put those carrots, celery and other leftovers in water, simmer and freeze for later use. You might skip out on buying vegetable stock from the grocery store all together!
Make Some Decorations
Might sound crazy, but apple peels can be dried and turned into pretty decorations, according to Chef Caitie Maharg of Iris Inn in Waynesboro, Virginia. It gives you all the more reason to collect those scraps if you don’t eat them and make a pretty fall leaf or holiday display.
Add To a Compost Pile
Compost, which is beneficial for soil and reduces waste in landfills, is a practice recommended by environmentalists everywhere. (You can start your own compost pile with these tips.)
“This is one of the best things you can do with food waste because instead of sending it to the dump, you can turn it into a rich compost that you can use to fertilize your garden,” said Pure Living for Life blogger Alyssa Craft. “Use food to ultimately encourage the growth of more food!”
Make Potato Chips
Want a slightly healthier alternative to store-bought potato chips? Alon Popilskis, who runs a blog, The Local Taste, recommended pouring potato peels into a pan with some oil, pepper, paprika and smoked salt and baking at 400 degrees until they get crispy. To enhance the taste, he also says to add green onions and sour cream on top afterwards.
Grow More Vegetables
If you’re thinking of throwing out the bulbs of onions, think again. Popilskis also said he plants the bottoms of green onions to grow more. For those who have a backyard garden, this is something to consider.
Make a Smoothie
These scraps can also be turned into something nutritious to drink. Craft also said she takes carrot tops and beet greens and blends them into a smoothie with other fruits. In short, it’s a delicious way to add more nutrients into your day.