Before you throw away those food scraps, take a second look. Are they edible? You might be surprised to find that many of the stems, tops, and leftover pulps that you often discard can be reused in delicious and healthy ways.
When you buy carrots with the leafy green tops attached, don’t toss those greens in the trash. Carrot greens can be finely chopped and stirred into soups, salads, and stir-fries. Blend them into pesto or juice them with other fruits and vegetables. Little information is available about the exact nutrients in carrot greens, but they are likely to contain similar nutrients to the root portion of the carrot, such as vitamins A and K.
Most beets are sold with the greens still intact. Chop them and saute them in olive oil and garlic, add them to soups and stews, or add them to fillings in stuffed peppers or vegetable lasagna. They can also be baked until crispy like kale chips. Beet greens contain vitamins K and C, and the carotenoid lutein, which is associated with eye health.
When you’ve cut all the florets away, you can still put the core and stalk of vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower to good use. Shred them and use in slaws, stir-fries, or pasta salads. They can also be used to make homemade vegetable stock. Eating the whole vegetable will give you more vitamin K, vitamin C, and folate.
If you make juice fresh at home, you are left with pulp that still contains the fiber of the fruits and vegetables. Pulp from fruits like apples or pears can be stirred into yogurt or oatmeal. You can even use them as fillings for whole grain cinnamon rolls. Vegetable pulp from carrots can be used in stuffings for peppers and eggplants, as a layer in vegetable lasagna, or in meatloaf.
Making your own nut milks is easy, but you are left with the nut meal once you extract all of the liquid. This meal contains protein and fiber. Store it in the refrigerator and sprinkle it over yogurt parfaits or salads. Incorporate it into spreads like pesto or pasta sauce. You can also use it in healthy desserts like granola bars or whole grain cookies.