Reusing Food Waste: The Perks, Tips, and Tricks

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You’ve been eating healthfully and sustainably as an apartment homesteader, and it’s been kind to your budget. But when most of the waste you produce is in the form of food scraps, you need to be reusing food waste rather than disposing of those food bits.

The first way that comes to mind for most people is to turn food waste into compost for your garden. Small-space composting can be an easy and cost-effective way to use your food waste.

But beyond composting, did you know you can both regrow plants from your scraps (buy once, grow forever) and eat those scraps in crafty recipes?

Check out my favorite tips and recipes below—along with a list of even more clever ways to put your food waste to good use.

Composting in Your Apartment

Everyone can compost, even in the small space of the apartment homestead.

You can use a five-gallon bucket with a lid—easily attained at any hardware store—or a regular plastic garbage bin with a lid.

Don’t let the “lack of space” excuse keep you from composting your food waste to help feed your future garden. There are cheap and easy compost containers that will fit under your kitchen sink or in a closet, or that you can make decorative to help inspire other apartment homesteaders to start their own sustainability journey.

If you’re worried about the usual culprits (bugs, using it quickly enough, and the obvious lack of space) that make composting in your apartment homestead difficult, check out this blog on The Grow Network: 5 Cheap and Easy Solutions For Small-Space Composting.

Regrow From Scraps

If composting isn’t your thing just yet, why not start a whole garden of vegetables and fruit from your organic produce scraps?

From herbs and onions to leafy greens and lemon trees, you can regrow the produce you eat regularly with results that are both amazing for your homesteading prowess and kind to your homestead budget.

Basil

One of my favorite herbs to regrow is basil. I love fresh basil. I add it to Italian dishes or infuse water with it and fresh lemon slices.

You can regrow basil by simply stripping the leaves, leaving only a small stem. Place the basil in a jar of water with the stem submerged, and set it in a sunny but cool area in your apartment homestead. Change the water every other day and plant in a four-inch pot when the stems grow to approximately two inches in length.

Peppers

Another easy plant to regrow is peppers. Simply save the seeds from a pepper you love and replant in a pot. Place the pot in a sunny area, and you’ll enjoy peppers (and hopefully fresh salsa!) again and again.

Tomatoes

You can also save your tomato seeds. Rinse them and allow to dry, then plant them in a soil-filled pot. If you have a garden box, transfer your tomato plants there once the sprouts are a few inches tall. Otherwise, keep them potted and enjoy fresh tomatoes from your patio garden.

Here are some other things you can regrow from food scraps in your apartment homestead:

  • Avocado
  • Bok Choy
  • Cabbage
  • Carrot Greens
  • Celery
  • Cilantro
  • Garlic Sprouts
  • Ginger
  • Green Onions
  • Leeks
  • Scallions
  • Lemongrass
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Fennel

Reusing Food Waste in the Kitchen: Recipes Using ‘Throwaway’ Scraps

There are so many ways to eat the kitchen scraps you would normally throw away! Just rethink “scraps” into more food! Check out these recipes for a few ideas.

Broth

Use your celery tops, onion skins, carrot peels, and other veggies to make vegetable broth. Add all vegetables to a large pot, add enough water to completely cover everything, bring to a boil, and let simmer for six to eight hours. Strain and store broth in the fridge.

Almond Flour

Do you make your own almond milk? Grind up the leftover almonds and toast/dry in your oven to make almond flour. Use almond flour to make grain-free muffins, breads, or other baked goods.

One of my favorite recipes using almond flour is Almond Flour Cinnamon Rolls—they’re also gluten free (which means you can kick the nasty pesticide-heavy wheat out of your diet and still enjoy your sweets):

Almond Flour Cinnamon Rolls

2 cups almond flour
4 Tbsp. ground flax seed
1/2 Tbsp. baking soda
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. sea salt
2 eggs
1 Tbsp. unsweetened coconut milk
2 Tbsp. unsweetened applesauce
1 Tbsp. honey (in dough); 1/4 cup honey (in filling)
1 tsp. cinnamon (in dough); 2 Tbsp. cinnamon (in filling)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Mix together almond flour, ground flax seed, baking soda, baking powder, and sea salt. Mix in eggs and coconut milk. Then, mix in applesauce, 1 Tbsp. honey, and 1 tsp. cinnamon.

Form dough into a ball, cover, and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Lay a piece of wax paper down on the counter and grease with olive oil. Place the dough onto the wax paper, and roll out the dough into a thin circle.

Drizzle honey over the dough and shake the rest of the cinnamon over the top.

Cut dough into 2-inch strips. Using your knife (the dough will be sticky), roll each strip up and place in a baking pan.

Bake for around 25 minutes or until rolls are golden brown.

Potato Skins

You can turn potato skins you’d normally throw away into a salty snack you’ll crave.

Potato Skin Chips

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Toss leftover potato peels with olive oil and the seasonings you like.

Place on a baking sheet and roast for 15–20 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Sprinkle with cheese and scallions or green onions.

Apple Peels

If you make your own apple sauce, you probably have apple peels for days. The following recipe offers a perfect way to use them up:

Apple Honey Tea

The peels from 6 apples
3–4 cups water
1/2 tsp. cinnamon or 1 cinnamon stick
1 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. lemon juice

Place apple peels in a sauce pan, cover with water, and add lemon juice and cinnamon. Boil for 10–15 minutes. When the liquid has become apple-colored, strain out the apple peels, add honey, and serve.

Kale Stems

Kale stems can be too tough to eat raw.

Dry the stems and grind them into Super Green Kale Powder to add to shakes or salads.

Get Clever With Your Food Scraps

Not into the food scrap recipes? Here are a bunch of other ways to use your food scraps. Get creative!

  • Infuse liquor with citrus peels for a yummy adult beverage.
  • Sharpen the blades of your garbage disposal by running eggshells through it.
  • Add crushed eggshells to your garden soil to give it a calcium boost.
  • Run citrus peels through the garbage disposal to get rid of nasty odors.
  • Use carrot peels to make carrot oil—an awesome addition to your natural, chemical-free beauty routine.
  • Add citrus peels to white vinegar to use in cleaning. Infuse the vinegar with the citrus peels by letting them sit together for two weeks before straining the peels and transferring the citrusy vinegar to a spray bottle.
  • Make citrus air fresheners.
  • Use banana peels to shine your shoes.
  • Use spent coffee grounds in your garden as pest repellent, fertilizer, or an ingredient in compost.
  • You can also use your coffee grounds to help absorb food odors in the fridge. Put old grounds in a container and place it in the fridge to get rid of musty food smells.
  • Coffee grounds can even be used to exfoliate and rejuvenate your skin!

Whichever ways you choose to use rather than toss your food “waste,” remember that the choice to go that extra step is a leaping bound on your journey toward personal sustainability in your apartment homestead.

(And when you’re ready to take another step and really say “goodbye” to unsustainable living, you’ll want to check out the next post in the Apartment Homesteader series, on growing your own medicine—or being your own Apartment Apothecary! Stay tuned!)

 

References

http://thegrownetwork.com/small-space-composting/
https://foodrevolution.org/blog/reduce-food-waste-regrow-from-scraps/
https://www.davidwolfe.com/stop-trashing-your-scraps-16-produce-items-to-re-grow-at-home/
https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/potato/container-potatoes.htm
http://undressedskeleton.tumblr.com/post/57820632507
http://www.care2.com/greenliving/ways-to-reuse-food-scraps.html
https://www.thekitchn.com/heres-why-you-should-never-throw-out-potato-peelings-tips-from-the-kitchn-212565
http://www.thekitchn.com/22-budget-friendly-recipes-that-will-use-up-your-kitchen-scraps-230090
http://joyinmykitchen.blogspot.com/2009/10/apple-honey-tea.html#.Wez9KpOnEfF
http://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-you/green-living/7-healthy-ways-to-use-food-scraps/
http://www.naturallivingideas.com/14-genius-ways-recycle-used-coffee-grounds/
http://www.naturallivingideas.com/35-genius-ways-to-use-up-food-scraps/
http://dontwastethecrumbs.com/2015/07/13-ways-use-food-scraps/

The post Reusing Food Waste: The Perks, Tips, and Tricks appeared first on The Grow Network.

10 Ways to Repurpose a Lawnmower Engine

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10 Ways to Repurpose a Lawnmower Engine Your ability to breakdown and repurpose will be directly correlated with your success in an urban survival scenario. Scavenging various resources will become almost second nature to you. There will be the obvious items that stick out like a sore thumb. Things like food, water, protection and power. …

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33 Things To Do With Old Jeans

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33 Things To Do With Old Jeans Its hard to imagine clothes wearing out and us not having access to a swath of other choices to buy at stores all around you. If we see a total societal collapse those resources will be few and far between. You will have to learn how to make …

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Being Resourceful When Necessary – A Self-Reliant Value To Live By! Re-purposing Old Hangers!

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In choosing to live a life that is more self-reliant, one should value being a good steward of their resources and learn how to reuse or recycle items to serve other purposes.  If we are in a downward economic spiral, like many believe, we will need to learn how to do more with less, to be frugal, value DIY and become resourceful.

I tried to put some “walk to my talk” a few weekends back when I reused old hangers as landscaping staples.

After the demise of my two backyard chickens, my coop started to fall into disrepair.  Since I didn’t want to raise chickens anymore (although we all loved the eggs), I put the coop up on Craigslist and eventually gave it to a family that was homesteading.  As you would expect, the chickens tore up the ground, including ripping up the weed blocker that was WAY below their coop.  As the coop laid empty, weeds started popping up everywhere.  Since we have a pool and people come over often, I wanted to get it ready for Summertime pool parties and such.

I knew when the local Boy Scout troop came around selling bags of mulch for a fundraiser, that I was in luck.  I would have normally purchased bulk mulch, had it dropped into the bed of my truck and then spend the time carrying it from the truck bed to the backyard.  But, by supporting the local Boy Scout troop, I was able to get the mulch delivered and dropped off right in my backyard!

I had weed blocker left over from previous years, so that wasn’t an expense.  I didn’t have the landscaping staples to hold the weed blocker down in the ground, and in all honesty, my experience with them is that they are not very useful anyway.  They are usually too short and start to pop-up.

I have a ton of wire hangers from getting my clothes laundered at the cleaners.  I know it is an expense, but it is worth it to me.  I used to spend a lot of time ironing my clothes in the morning, this way, I get to spend more time in prayer and reading my Bible.  So, it’s worth it to me!

In the past, I have come across various articles that give tips on how to reuse wire hangers for various purposes.  I usually take loads of wire hangers up to the country to have them up there for whenever we might need some wire.  But, I decided to use about nine to make some super long landscape staples to hold the weed blocker down while I spread the mulch.

The only tools I used were some pliers and snips.  I really didn’t even need the pliers!

See the pics below.

I started by cutting off the hanger’s hook.

I then cut the long piece even with one of the shorter ends, and did the same to the other side. This left me a small 2″ piece to throw away.  I straightened out the “hanger” staples a little before inserting them into the weed blocker.

Weed blocker before the DIY Landscaping Staples.

Because the DIY Landscaping Staples are so much longer than regular landscaping staples, they really stuck into the ground, even when I was walking all over the weed blocker.

The Boy Scouts made this easy…

Finished area.

Conclusion

This isn’t groundbreaking, earthshattering preparedness here.  But, it does speak to reusing items to benefit your quality of life. I see many people give their hangers back to the cleaners when they pick up their clothes.  I’m ok with that.  That is their version of recycling.  However, I figure that the hangers are part of my payment for the cleaning, so I want to use them for something that I can benefit from.

This little project didn’t take me anytime.  But I know that the hanger staples will stay much better than landscaping staples I could have purchased from Home Depot or Amazon.

 

What other ways have you used hangers?

Peace,
Todd

20 Things You Should Never Throw Away

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With all the garbage piling up in our landfills, everyone should take the time to recycle whatever they can. Especially if their local government provides recycling bins. But even if they don’t, it’s still worthing finding ways to recycle and upcycle used items, if only to save a little bit of money. Odds are, you’re […]

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Best Free Preps!

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Best Free Preps! Highlander “Survival and Tech Preps” This is all about those free preps you might not have known you can get for… well free! What about all those different items that you can reuse for prepping? Not only the reuse but also what we can do to make a little extra money for our prepping … Continue reading Best Free Preps!

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19 Ingenious Ways To Use Empty Food And Drink Containers

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19 Ingenious Ways To Use Empty Food And Drink Containers There are so many uses for empty food and drinks containers. From use as a storage container to use as dispenser, to being used as a tool. These containers are very versatile and reusing and repurposing can lead to many DIY projects. Thanks to buzzfeed.com …

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Amazing Ways You Can Reuse Aluminum Cans

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Amazing Ways You Can Reuse Aluminum Cans Although aluminum cans might not be the most convenient type of packaging if you are on the go, it is one of the best ones for storing different foods and drinks because it not only provides durability in the sense that you can just throw an aluminum can in […]

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Yard Sale Savvy: Using Salvaged Materials for Garden Planters

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Yard Sale Savvy: Using Salvaged Materials for Garden Planters If you want to save a lot of money this year when it comes to your garden, this article is for you! You can spend a small fortune on planters from the garden center but when you come to set them out you notice so has …

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12 Really Cool Ways to Make Treasure Out of Trash

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12 Really Cool Ways to Make Treasure Out of Trash In the United States, we generate over 250 million tons (that’s 500 billion pounds) of trash every year, which ultimately ends up in our landfills. As I have stated previously landfills are contributing to air and ground water pollution and contributing to global warming by releasing …

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History all around me

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Going off grid for us meant moving some 500 miles west of the place where I grew up, but I am fortunate to still have a piece of my childhood nearby. I sleep a few inches from it every night, and it’s right above my head across the room, it’s also out on my deck. This little piece of history started out life as a wooden fence, dog eared (the style of cut on the top). My dad wanted more privacy in our back yard so he went to the local lumberyard, purchased a stack of fencing and all the necessary hardware & parts to put up a 6 foot wooden fence.

I still remember him working on the fence after he had come home from work and on the weekends, digging holes for the fence posts, using a long piece of twine to keep the fence line straight… Within a few weeks, our backyard was enclosed and private. Years passed and that wood weathered to a silvery tan color, Dad didn’t stain it but preferred the natural color.

Eventually my dad replaced the fence with new wood, being a child of the depression, he couldn’t bring himself to throw out the old fencing boards that were still good so he stacked them behind the shed. PB was able to use some of them in his business over the years, he did restaurant repair and one of his customer’s decor used lots of weathered wood, that is something you can’t buy from the hardware store.

When we were about to move to our off grid home, I remembered that old wood stacked behind the shed, there weren’t many pieces left, my dad was happy enough for us to take them. These old pieces of history have been used in various places in the SkyCastle, the headboard of the bed, as trim over the windows in the bedroom, as trim around windows on the deck. The wood is worn smooth, the nail holes remind me of my father’s hands pounding the nails through the boards.

My father is long gone, he passed away in 2012 and was instrumental in making a smooth transition to our life off grid. I am happy to have a piece of my history so close by. How about you? Do you have a piece of your history in your life? If so, tell me about it below, I’d love to hear your story.

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Recycling And Repurposing To Redecorate – On The Cheap!

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Whether you want to redecorate your room or your whole house – you don’t have to break the bank to do it. With a little leg work, you can salvage, recycle and build almost anything you need to fill any room for pennies on the dollar – or in some cases – for free! No matter if its building with pallet wood, recycled lumber or a repurposing a salvaged item found at the curb or a garage sale – the sky is the limit for what you can create to fill your home with a custom vintage look. Over the past four years – we have built and created over 50 items from recycled materials that have helped to decorate and fill our home and farm for a fraction of what new would cost – not only saving big money – but saving the items from ending up in the landfill. The re-use and re-purposing of materials has become not just a way to live more responsibly while cutting costs, but evolved into a hobby and a form of art for us. It also gives the added benefit of creating our own history and stories that accompany the things found in our home. For today’s DIY […]