Guilt is a powerful motivator in my world. In fact, it’s the reason I started composting so many years ago. Back when I scraped perfectly good kitchen scraps into my trash can (no garbage disposal due to septic system) I guiltily thought that those scraps could be put to better use. Since I already had a tiny garden plot compost just made sense.
Fast forward to 2015. Kitchen blogs have been posting a lot about reducing food waste. Apparently, American households throw away as much as twenty-five percent of all the food they purchase. That’s A LOT of food to throw in the trash. Of course, I’m feeling virtuous because not only am I composting my scraps, the mere effort of cataloging the waste has kept me more accountable. Less and less food is finding its way to my Toss It Tuesday buckets. Yay me. I can wear the compost crown!
Not so fast. Composting is cool, but finding ANOTHER USE for the scraps seems to be KING. First I came across this article about eating your potato peels instead of composting them. Oh my gosh, it was a food revelation. I strongly suggest you plan to make potatoes for dinner tonight so you can try that trick. I’ve done it countless times now and even made potato peels for a Thanksgiving “appetizer” where they went so fast half the guests missed it.
There is only one catch to actually eating your scraps. You HAVE to scrub them first. I subscribe to the lazy school of food prep; the whole ashes to ashes, dirt to dirt school of thought. If I am going to peel my vegetables I figure they can go into the compost bucket dirty. I peel, then wash. Not if you are going to eat them …
Which brings me to this article. Apparently I could be using all those carrot scraps, onion peels, and bits and pieces to make broth. Another revelation! Normally I make stock from fresh vegetables, but I gave it a try and this, too, has changed the way I look at scraps. Stock from scraps was excellent.
Here’s a look at the scraps I put in the stock pot that made a super flavorful broth.
But these scraps seemed to belong in the compost bucket (along with the citrus, banana peels and strawberry tops).
Of course, having multiple options makes for a lot of internal conversation … soup pot or compost bucket … hmmm, the answer is definitely whether I remembered to wash or not. But, some habits take time to break. I planned to use the scraps below to enhance some chicken stock I was making. I got the water ready, tossed in the roasted chicken carcass and took a quick photo of the scraps. But, instead of dumping the peels in the stock pot, I actually tossed them into a dirty compost bucket and walked outside to the compost pile before I stopped in my tracks laughing. My beautiful WASHED scraps were going to be thrown out. Argh! At least they weren’t in the landfill.
How about you? Do you prefer to compost or eat your food scraps?