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Friday, February 5, 2010

Uses for Kitchen Scraps

Besides just trying to get my money's worth when I buy food, I try to get every last use out of food after I bring it home. We buy the most nutritous food we can, and I try to make sure none of that goes to waste.

I buy whole free range organic chickens. At first I was too scared to try to cut it up them myself, but after watching video demonstrations on the subject, I went for it. And it's not that hard! Buying whole chickens is more economical. It costs almost as much to buy 2 chicken breasts as it does to buy the whole chicken.
First I separate the chicken into 2 breasts, 2 thighs, 2 drumsticks and 2 wings. These will all be used for meals.
To make sure none of my chicken goes to waste, every bit of bone, fat, skin, or gizzard goes into my broth. When the broth is done, a layer of fat will form on the top. I peel this off and use it for cooking.
From one chicken, you are left with meat, broth, and cooking fat.

Like chicken, with beef or any other meat, you want to save those bones. The bones are loaded with nutrition. I usually save a baggie in my freezer and fill it with bones until I've accumulated enough to make broth.

Besides the bones, you will need carrots, celery and onions for your broth. Anytime we go on a picnic and have leftover carrots, those go into my broth bag in the freezer. For onions, I used to throw away the outer layer (you know the one right under the skin?) because it is usually a little tough. Now, I peel off the skin and throw the outer layer in the freezer. Celery and carrot ends can also be thrown into the freezer for later use in broths.
Some vegetables just aren't good for broths, though, so those go into our compost bin. I'm fairly new to composting, but I love it because it's a way to make sure nothing goes to waste: even the scraps get used to turn into great soil to grow more vegetables.

When our bread is starting to get stale, or when all we have left is a crust (bread skin, my kids call it) that no one wants to eat, I throw that in the freezer also. My bread ends get used for bread crumbs or croutons.

Bacon grease:
We save all our bacon grease in a jar in the fridge. You can use it where you would use any cooking fat, but because it has such a strong flavor, I like to use it most when cooking eggs and omelets, or when sauteing green beans.

We save and reuse all kind of containers: store bought yogurt containers are used to store our homemade yogurt in, hummus containers have been reused for feta cheese or pesto, old spaghetti sauce and peanut butter jars hold our rice and beans in the pantry.

This post is part of Fight Back Fridays.


  1. When my mom met you breifly at library a few weeks back and was figuring out which kids were yours, i pointed them out and told her you had four total, she just looked at me and whispered "your role model huh?" and i said yep! From a early age i wanted to be a mom to many kids and make them pb&j sandwhiches and have warm cookies for them when they got home from school etc hehe, but reading this post, man, you honestly have so many qualities i strive for or would like to take on sometime in my life! I can learn sooooo much from you and plan on trying a lot of what you are teaching in your posts...maybe first the chicken disecting...we buy the frozen tenders in a bag, not only is it a waste of money, they don't taste so great! keep it up, i have no idea how you manage to raise four kids, be a wife and do all this!

  2. I like your style! I have been saving veggie scraps in the freezer for stock for a long time. I like getting some use out of every last scrap of anything we buy. That is especially important when we buy expensive, nutrient dense foods on a small budget. I reuse old containers, too, and absolutely hate to give up glass jars. (I ferment my own veggies so I use up a lot of them that way)

    I may take it to the extreme, since i have all the pants that my children ever wore in their lives. You would be amazed at the uses for old denim and corduroy fabric. So strong and durable, I just used some this winter to wrap my outside faucets to keep them from freezing.

  3. jessica, you're so nice! yeah, start with the chicken dissecting...I'm still perfecting my skills on that one.
    kc, good idea on the uses for leftover clothes. I never would have thought of that!

  4. I would love to hear about your composting efforts, I am a slacker sometimes with mine. I have it and we put our stuff in it, but I hardly ever go and rotate it... I want some good soil to use this spring, but need motivation.

  5. Composting is on my list of future posts! I'll try to get to that soon since it would help to have it posted before it's time to plant the garden.