Four Easy, No-Waste Solutions for Your Fruit & Vegetable Scraps
Did you know that 41% of all waste thrown out by urban Malaysians is food waste? This week, we’ll be exploring four ways which you can reuse and recycle your fruit and vegetable scraps. These no-waste ideas cost next to nothing and can even help you save money in the long run!
We’re starting off with a recipe for cleaning enzymes made from citrus peel. These organic, natural enzymes are safe and non-toxic, and can be used to replace commercial cleaning agents that use chemicals. Following a method from Padhus Kitchen, you only need 4 ingredients and a couple of large plastic bottles with lids (which gives you the opportunity to reuse any plastic waste you have laying around!). All you need is: 300g of lemon or orange peel; 100g of brown sugar; 1 litre of water; and 1 teaspoon of yeast (which is optional). All you’ve got to do is combine the peel, brown sugar, yeast, and water to fill 80% of the bottle. After shaking all the ingredients together, simply leave it to ferment for 2 to 3 months. Don’t forget to open the lid to release the gas every day for the first week; alternate days on the second week; and once a week after that. Once the 2-3 months are up, just strain the contents and your enzymes are ready to use! They’ll clean anything from fruits and veg, floors, dishes, and even cars.
This has got to be one of the easiest and most versatile vegetable scrap hacks. Just about any and every piece of a vegetable can be used to make a flavourful, vegan broth. Whether you’ve got garlic skins, onion roots, parsley stems, or carrot peel, the list is endless, and so are the possibilities. Using more ‘robust’ vegetables are recommended, such as root vegetables, aromatics, and mushrooms. You can gather your scraps over time, keeping them in the freezer to preserve them until you’re ready to make your stock. It’s as easy as boiling your scraps in a pot with water, and straining the liquid stock. From here on, it’s up to your imagination! A few of our favourite ideas include making sauces, soups, stews, or for cooking grains to make a delicious risotto.
Your homemade stock can last for anywhere between 3 to 5 days kept in the fridge. If you happen to have too much, you can freeze them in an ice cube tray for easy cooking later on.
Grow Some New Friends
Ever felt bad for throwing out a bunch of perfectly good seeds? Well, you don’t have to anymore! Planting your own little fruits and veggies are easy, and you can get so much joy just from watching them grow. Not to mention, it’ll save you trips to the grocer.
There are so many seeds you can plant, but here are our favourites: tomato, chilli, and pumpkin. You can start by washing the seeds and separating them out into a little tray, covering them with moist cotton or paper towel until they germinate and form roots. After this, they can be transferred into individual pots. With a little nurturing, they’ll grow into big plants that you can go to for fresh, organic produce.
Composting is your best friend if you’re forgetful or too busy for any of the previously mentioned tips. Or, better yet, you can still compost the citrus peels from your cleaning enzymes, or the veggie scraps after making your stock.
As a general rule, you’d need 3 parts ‘brown materials’ that are high in carbon (such as dead leaves, paper, and sawdust) to 1 part ‘green materials’ that contain lots of nitrogen (examples include fruit and veggie scraps, and coffee grounds). You can gather your compost in a container or in a pile in your garden, or (the lazy way), just by tossing them on your plants. Remember to keep them moist, and you’re all set. Your plants will thank you for it!
We hope you’re excited to try these no-waste ideas!