Weeknight Cooking

Over 30 Recipes to Reduce Kitchen Waste

July 19, 2015

Even if you’re doing your best to cook root-to-leaf and nose-to-tail, there are probably still some edible bits you’re missing. 

Today: Three dozen recipes to make sure your kitchen scraps don't get scrapped.

Kitchen Scraps

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If you cook, you're going to end up with kitchen scraps. And whether your goal is to reduce the staggering amount of edible food thrown away in the U.S. every year, eke as much as you can out of your food budget, or try to be Dan Barber when you grow up (or all three), it isn't always clear what to do with them beyond composting. Sometimes what you may consider waste is actually perfectly good to eat—not merely edible, but downright tasty.

Start putting all kinds of scraps to good use: We've got ideas for using everything from pickle brine to cherry pits and corn cobs to whey


Turnip Greens:
Turnip Green Gomae
 by Fairmount_market and Turnip Greens Frittata by Amanda Hesser


Pickled Chard Stems Swiss Chard Agrodolce

Swiss Chard Stalks:
Pickled Chard Stems
 by Angela Brown and Swiss Chard Agrodolce by Meatballs&Milkshakes


Chard Stalk Hummus  Grill Swiss Chard Stems

More Swiss Chard Stalks:
Tara Duggan’s Chard Stalk Hummus
 and Anna Klinger’s Grilled Swiss Chard Stems with Anchovy Vinaigrette by Genius Recipes

More: You should be putting your kale stems to use, too.


Chicken Schmaltz Chicken Stock 

Chicken Fat and Chicken Bones:
Apple and Onion Schmaltz
 and Chicken Stock by Cara Nicoletti


Chicken Giblet Gravy Roasted Broccoli Stems

Chicken Giblets and Broccoli Stalks:
Chicken Giblet Gravy
 by Cara Nicoletti and Broccoli Stems with Garlic and Anchovies by Amanda Sims


Chilled Asparagus Soup Watermelon Rind Pickles

Asparagus Ends and Watermelon Rinds:
Annie Wayte's Chilled Asparagus and Almond Soup
 by Genius Recipes and Spicy, Savory & Sweet Watermelon Rind Pickles by Nancy Manlove

More: Wasting edible food is the pits, right? And speaking of pits, check out what you can do with stone fruit pits!


Strawberry Top Water 

Strawberry Tops and Apple Peels:
Strawberry Top Water
 and Apple Peel Bourbon by Marian Bull


Radish Top Soup Carrot Top Pesto 

Radish Greens and Carrot Greens:
Radish Top Soup and Slow-Roasted Radish Roots with Fennel Seeds
 by Viviane Bauquet Farre and Roasted Carrots with Carrot Top Pesto and Burrata by Kenzi Wilbur


Roasted and Whipped Bone Marrow Beef Stock

Beef Bones:
Roasted and Whipped Bone Marrow
 by Cara Nicoletti and Rich Roasted Beef Stock by thirschfeld 


Romesco Sauce Sopa de Ajo

Stale Bread:
Romesco Sauce
 by pierino and Sopa de Ajo (Garlic Soup) by Marian Bull

More: Don't be a heel—here's how to put the ends of your bread loafs to good use


Stuffed Pepperoncini Strata with Sausage and Greens

More Stale Bread:
Stuffed Pepperoncini
 by Hallie Meyer and Strata with Sausage and Greens by Merrill Stubbs


Bread Pudding Sour Cherry Almond Frozen Yogurt

Even More Stale Bread and Cherry Pits:
Bread Pudding
 by Catherine Lamb and Sour Cherry Almond Frozen Yogurt by Alejandra_ 


Braised Beet Greens Beet Tart with Wilted Greens

Beet Greens:
Milk-Braised Beet Greens
 by Jennifer Perillo and Rustic Beet Tart and Wilted Greens by fatgirleating


Pink Greens 

More Beet Greens:
Pink Greens
 by Marissa Grace and Moroccan Beet Greens by Silly Apron

More: Did you know that even pumpkin pulp is useful?


Mushroom Soup Mushrooms in Pickle-Brine Butter

Mushroom Stems and Pickle Brine:
Velvety Mushroom Soup
 by lastnightsdinner and Stuart Brioza's Mushrooms in Pickle-Brine Butter by Genius Recipes 


Ricotta Whey and Barley Bread Parmesan Broth

Whey and Parmesan Heels:
Ricotta Whey and Barley Bread
 by AntoniaJames and Parmesan Broth by Sue Conley & Peggy Smith


Chicharrón Idaho Potatoes

Pork Skin and Potato Peels:
Chicharrón with Lime and Chili Salt
 by Cara Nicoletti and Potato Skin Bacon Fat Chips by Tara Duggan 


Corn Stock 

Corn Cobs and Vegetable Scraps:
Corn Stock
 and Vegetable Stock by Marian Bull

Know of a great recipe in the Food52 archives that uses scraps (anything from commonly discarded produce parts to stale bread to bones and more)? Tell me about it in the comments!

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Peggy
  • Karin
  • SongScouting
  • mela
  • AntoniaJames
I like esoteric facts about vegetables and think ambling through a farmers market is a great way to start the day. My first cookbook, available now, is called Cooking with Scraps.


Peggy November 10, 2015
This came from another site... can't remember the name but it's perfect tip for this site! EAT BANANA PEELS! YES! Just whip them into your smoothie! Absolutely delicious!
Peggy November 10, 2015
I peel raw shrimp and cook the shells that makes a broth to use in most shrimp recipes
Karin August 25, 2015
When I buy or make Peking duck I always keep the bones and make a broth with a knob of ginger in it. It is absolutely delicious and I usually add some thinly sliced scallions and lotus root.
SongScouting July 26, 2015
The traditional use for stale bread (and old apples) is an Apple Brown Betty (with hard sauce).
You can find the recipe at: https://spendnomoney.wordpress.com/food-recipes/recipes/apple-betty/ along with other uses for bell pepper stock, pickle juice, maraschino cherry juice, etc.
mela July 26, 2015
Can someone provide a link for Claire Miller's kale-stem kimchi?
AntoniaJames July 20, 2015
To answer your question: This bread, which uses crumbs from a going-stale loaf of any kind of bread:
https://food52.com/recipes/6753-multigrain-cereal-bread (I'm particularly proud of this one, as it was selected by the founders to feature in an article in the New York Times shortly after I posted it here.)
Thrifty bakers have been doing this for centuries. ;o)
Author Comment
Lindsay-Jean H. July 23, 2015
Thanks AJ! It's on my list.
Tam W. July 20, 2015
"And speaking of pits..." has no link attached....
Tam W. July 20, 2015
Never mind :) The link is there, but not formatted correctly.
Author Comment
Lindsay-Jean H. July 20, 2015
Thanks for catching that, the link has been updated!
Kat July 19, 2015
This is great! Impressed at the variety and how well this list was put together!