5 Food Scraps You Shouldn’t Throw Away
Have you ever found yourself staring at a food item so confused with what to do with it that you just toss it away? If you can relate to this, you are definitely not alone!
Typically, when we see a new fruit or vegetable, we want to try we find a recipe for it from a cookbook, magazine, or blog. Don’t get me wrong, I think the use of recipes is a great way to learn how to prepare new dishes
But I must admit, they have one major downfall.
They fail to tell us how to use those oh-so-confusing leftover parts, which are often full of flavor and nutritional value. Fortunately, there is no need to let those scraps go to waste anymore!
Listed below are some great ways to get the most out of the leftover parts of 5 commonly consumed foods.
1. Broccoli — Let’s talk stalks
The great advantage of broccoli is that it is packed with vitamin C, vitamin K, and fiber.
According to the National Institutes of Health, vitamin C plays an important role in the human body and is required for protein metabolism, collagen synthesis, and immune function.
Although every part of broccoli is edible, Americans typically prepare it by cutting off and discarding the stalks. Instead of throwing away those useable parts, here are two ways to repurpose your broccoli stalks!
You can finely cut your broccoli stalks into thin slivers and combine them with purple cabbage, carrots, lemon juice, and a touch of olive oil for a refreshing slaw. You can also boil and puree your broccoli stalks with other vegetables like potatoes and onions to create a delicious broccoli stalk soup.
2. Watermelon — Mind the rind
Watermelon is typically known for its sweet and juicy red interior, but what most people don’t know is that its rind can be eaten for added antioxidant and health benefits.
A 2013 study published in the Annals of Agricultural Sciences showed that the same free radical fighting properties, from the amino acid citrulline found in the watermelon flesh, was also found in the watermelon rind.
Thus, consuming the citrulline containing rind may also help support the body’s circulatory and immune systems.
That being said, I wouldn’t advice you to just start gnawing away at a raw rind.
One way to prepare watermelon rinds is to simply pickle them. Not only is pickled watermelon rind a great way to add a tangy flavor to your dishes, but it can also be diced into smaller pieces and served as a condiment.
3. Garlic — Don’t let this flavorful part e(scape)
If you love garlic, you should try its delicious partner in crime the garlic scape.
Garlic scapes are the young stalks that emerge from garlic bulbs just after the first leaves have started to form.
Garlic scapes can be used as a milder substitute for garlic in some recipes, chopped up and added into a frittata, or blended with herbs into a delicious pesto.
The possibilities are endless with this versatile stalk!
4. Beets — Gleam with the green
The commonly consumed beet root provides our bodies with a wide variety of phytonutrients and offers many disease fighting properties, but the green leafy portion is often tossed to the side.
Beet greens are special in that they contain the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which are also found in high concentrations in our eyes.
According to American Optometric Association, consuming lutein and zeaxanthin containing foods can help reduce the risk of developing chronic eye diseases like cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
If you’re having trouble seeing the healthful benefits of beet greens, it may be time to add some of these glorious greens into your diet!
Turn your beet greens into a delicious side dish by simply sautéing them with garlic and olive oil, adding them to a hearty soup, or chopping them up into a salad. I personally like to dress my salad greens with extra virgin olive oil and a dash of raspberry balsamic. The light sweetness of the dressing acts as great counter part to the stronger flavor of the leaves.
5. Corn — A job for the cobb
Don’t toss the cobb!
Most of us are familiar with eating the kernels off of our corn cobs, but I’ll let you in on a little secret.
The cobb itself actually contains a tremendous amount of sweet flavor that can be extracted and used to make other delicious dishes. If you don’t believe me, try it for yourself.
Instead of throwing your cobs in the trash or composting them, throw them in a pot of boiling water. Try simmering your corn cobs for about an hour and there you have it, a great base for a yummy chowder, risotto, or soup.
The Takeaway — Deciding to toss is a loss
Many Americans throw away the edible parts of their fruits and vegetables without even realizing it. As a result of tossing away what many people refer to as trim waste or scraps, we often miss out on opportunities for increased nutrient intake, added fiber, and flavor.
I challenge you to get creative with some of those detectible scraps!
Not only will you get one step closer to ensuring you are getting the most nutritional value from your whole foods, but you will also get the most bang for your buck!
Jasmine El Nabli MS, RD
Creating healthy eating and lifestyle habits without the right tools, skills, and knowledge is often seen as a daunting task, but that’s where I come in. I am here to show you that becoming the happiest and healthiest version of yourself can be done!
Through the combination of a whole-body approach and scientific research, I empower and educate individuals on how to implement small changes into their daily life that in turn lead to sustainable and lifelong healthy habits.
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