Waste Not Want Not

by Merissa on March 10, 2012

in Frugal Living Tips, Repurposing

Waste Not Want Not

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Waste Not Want Not

We've talked before about food waste here on LHL but we haven't really gone into detail yet on how to do it. I think one of the best ways is just having ideas of what to do with certain scraps so they have a plan, and you don't just toss them or you keep them around forever because you aren't sure what to do with them.

Here are some ideas on what to do with certain foods instead of throwing them away. The old adage is waste not want not, so here are some ideas to follow that advice! If you have more, make sure you shout them out in the comments section!

Lettuce or Spinach - Bunny food (not iceberg), vegetable soup, homemade egg rolls stuffing.

Meat Scraps - Various soups, dog/cat treats, chili, stir fry.

Carrots - Soups, make vegetable stock.

Oranges, Grapefruits, Other Citrus Fruits - Boil in water on the stove as a natural air freshener. Dry to add to teas. Make candied oranges.

Potatoes - Soups. Drizzle oil and salt onclean skins and bake. Save the water.

Tomatoes - Freeze scraps in a bag until you have enough to add to dishes.

Squash - Stir fry. Roast the seeds (like Pumpkin Seeds). Mash up and use as a hidden vegetable in chicken nuggets or other meals.

Onions - We save small pieces of these in a container in the fridge. Add to soups, pasta, or many other meals.

Watermelon - You can pickle the rinds or dry the seeds. (Like Pumpkin Seeds).

Bananas - Mash up extras and freeze for banana bread or muffins.Β Place the peels in cars to remove bad smells.

It's true that when you follow the philosophy of waste not want not, you can further utilize your resources, and live a more frugal life!

Looking for other ways to start saving money?

Do you follow the waste not want not lifestyle?Β 

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8:00 am

{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Crystal @MrsHappyHomemaker.com March 10, 2012 at 8:22 am

I freeze the root ends of my veggies, along with wing tips & backbones from chicken. When the gallon ziploc bag is full, I make stock. My chickens, rabbits, dogs, & cats take the rest of the scraps – meat to the dogs & cats & veggie scraps to chickens & rabbits. Anything that they can’t eat goes into my compost pile πŸ™‚


2 Susan Fullerton March 10, 2012 at 8:26 am

What about compost for the garden?


3 Dawn Hunt March 10, 2012 at 8:39 am

I have a zip lock bag in my freezer for any small amount of left over vegetables. Once the bag is full, I make vegetable soup.


4 Ken Fry March 10, 2012 at 9:16 am

I feed it all to my chicken’s!


5 Ken Fry March 10, 2012 at 9:17 am

If it is no good for leftover my chicken’s get them!


6 Prairie Homestead March 10, 2012 at 11:35 am

Our chickens love table scraps too or then there is always a compost pile πŸ™‚


7 Lana March 10, 2012 at 11:46 am

The way I keep ahead of potatoes that are starting to sprout is this: peel and cube and boil for 10 minutes or just until barely tender. Drain and pour onto a baking sheet to cool. Package in Ziploc freezer bags in a single layer and lay flat in the freezer until frozen solid. Heat some oil or butter in a skillet and brown the frozen potatoes for quick breakfast potatoes. Delicious! I tried freezing in a single layer on a baking sheet and they froze to the sheet so that I could not remove them. Then I tried freezing on wax paper and parchment and they were fast stuck to the paper so the freezer bag method works best. If you are making mashed potatoes you can go ahead and do a bunch for both the mashing and freezing all at once. This has saved many a potato from being wasted at our house.


8 Heather :) :) :) March 10, 2012 at 2:20 pm

Those are some great ideas for not wasting extra food scraps. I certainly never would have thought of freezing them till I had enough to make something with it. That’s a great idea πŸ™‚ Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather πŸ™‚


9 Mel Free March 10, 2012 at 2:25 pm

I make stock or “Dump Soup”…I can’t believe how many chicken carcass’ I threw away..now, I save them all in the freezer, for stock!


10 Lana March 11, 2012 at 5:11 am

Banana peels are great fertilizer for roses. I take them out and throw them under one of my rose bushes.


11 Cindy Mace March 11, 2012 at 10:26 am

In our “no fat, low salt” household – I trim all fat from beef & pork and remove chicken skin before cooking. All of this goes in a freezer bag and goes to a friend that has a sled dog team for freezer burn stew. We also make a rotisserie style chicken in the microwave with mashed potatoes, gravy, veggies. After we eat, the entire carcass and leftover chicken is boiled for broth. Chop up the meat, put the broth in the frig to let the fat rise to the top. Next night scrape the fat off the broth and put in the freezer burn bag for the dogs. Make chicken & dumplings with the rest and a few veggies. If there are any leftovers the third night add a little more broth and some egg noodles for chicken noodle soup. One way to really stretch a chicken.


12 Tracy Thomas August 12, 2012 at 12:50 pm

I’ve done this all my life! We never NEVER throw out anything that can’t be utilized by something else.


13 Tracy Thomas August 12, 2012 at 12:52 pm

I’d like to add that orange peels and vinegar makes a wonderful organic cleaner.


14 Merissa August 13, 2012 at 5:15 pm

Great idea!


15 Tasha January 20, 2013 at 3:24 pm

I just head of this recently, I made up my first batch and used it for the first time today. It smells great!


16 Alice October 26, 2013 at 5:22 am

I’d love to know how to do the orange/vinegar cleaner! And also what can I use egg shells for?



17 Merissa October 26, 2013 at 7:13 am

For the vinegar and orange cleaner you just need to put orange peels in a container until it’s full, then fill it the rest of the way with vinegar. Let it sit for a few days and you’ve got a great cleaner! Here’s our list of What You Can Do With Eggshells.


18 Alice October 28, 2013 at 10:26 am

Thank you so much!


19 Sarah Kasch August 12, 2012 at 12:54 pm

Same here. Always. I grew up this way.


20 Michelle August 12, 2012 at 12:54 pm

Banana peels for a smelly car? That’s a new one! Great tips. I wish I had some chickens to toss some of these out to them!


21 Marilyn Rose August 12, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Turn it into compost for a garden, or feed it to the chickens who lay your eggs. πŸ™‚


22 Leisa August 12, 2012 at 1:28 pm

We can’t have chickens here so we Composte! Everything we don’t use, goes in there, even egg shells for next year to supplement our garden.


23 Chris Turner Pasek November 13, 2013 at 7:43 am

Yes we too can not have chickens where we live so we to compost everything that can be composted. We have a bin out behind the garage that we use all year but this year I am going to do a smaller one for the basement so that things get going a bit earlier….saw on Martha Stewart a couple of yrs ago how to do it and it is online too. My husband is NOT A SOUP person but I am so when I have collected what I need for a chicken soup I make it and it goes to several neighbors that share their soup with me. I have a natural gas grill out on my deck that has a side burner….oh my that thing gets my soup pot boiling quickly….faster than in the house on the gas stove….and when I make the soup….usually chicken/beef chowder or called Firemen’s Chowder the whole neighborhood comes calling with containers for some….I really do wish I had one of those kinds of pots the firemen use so I could share more but my largest pot will have to do and it is canning kettle size. I can post a recipe for the Firemen’s Chowder if you would like. The way they make it they use these huge pots that are over either gas or wood fires and are stirred constantly with this large long handled wooden paddle for the last 2 or 3 hours of the soup making time. When the firemen make this chowder the whole town can smell it and it is so good.


24 Susan August 12, 2012 at 1:56 pm

Bananas – When a bunch is getting too ripe and I know I won’t get to them, I slice them or sometimes just tear them in 1/2-1″ slices, put in ziplock snack size baggies – 1/2 banana per baggie – then put all the snack baggies into a gallon size freezer bag and freeze them. Perfect for smoothies – makes them extra cold – and in the right portion size! πŸ™‚


25 Merissa August 13, 2012 at 5:14 pm

I love doing this too. Frozen bananas are so handy and have so many uses!


26 Ronda Kaufman January 20, 2013 at 3:29 pm

I juice carrots, fruit, greens and squash that need to be used and depending on how much it is I either drink it or freeze into cubes and use in soups, stew and other dishes.


27 Tina Watson January 20, 2013 at 6:46 pm

I’ve never had chickens to share with. I learned from my older family members who went through the Depression. I scrape the bits of butter left on the paper wrapper. I save the last 3 peas drowning in the bottom of the serving bowl. Everything goes into the freezer. It used to go to soup but my family has shrunk. So I make dog food for my 13 year old dog. Carrot peels and eggshells go into that. Nearly everything other than onions.
And maybe a bit of soup for myself once in a while.


28 Maura January 20, 2013 at 7:35 pm

After using apples for applesauce, use the peels to make apple jelly! Yum!


29 Joelle January 21, 2013 at 12:31 pm

I always peel our oranges and clementines over the sink and send the peels through the disposal to help keep it smelling fresh.


30 Holly Dorval February 24, 2013 at 4:04 pm

I use leftover Italian bread or sometimes hamburger buns to make homemade croutons.


31 ddebru01 February 24, 2013 at 4:32 pm

Once an onion is cut, whatever is not used has to be thrown out. According to one of the doctor shows, onions become dangerous for a persons’ health after they are cut and aren’t cooked. We have a Siberian Husky sled team so all remnants unless dangerous for them go to the dogs. Since it’s just the 2 of us, we always put leftovers in the freezer for another meal. All of you have some great suggestions.


32 Merissa February 24, 2013 at 8:40 pm

I’d be interested in seeing the evidence behind this. We use half used onions almost every single day and haven’t had any troubles with them yet!


33 Phyllis Clish November 8, 2013 at 1:17 pm

It is a fact that onions are toxic to dogs. Any Vet will confirm this. About using leftover onion, I have also heard the horror stories but I think they apply to cut onions left out at room temp. I put mine in an airtight container and refrigerate immediately and have never had a problem.


34 Donna November 13, 2013 at 3:42 am

I’ve never heard anything like this before. I use partially used onions ALL the time! I don’t need a whole onion for an omelette, so the rest gets sealed & refrigerated, sometimes for days /week at a time.


35 Chris Turner Pasek November 13, 2013 at 7:51 am

The problem with onions is when you use them in a potato or mac salad and they sit out for a while. It isn’t the mayo that goes bad and gets you sick it is the onions so I try not to use onions in my potato or mac salad unless I know it is not going to sit out at all. A couple of my friends have had some problems doing this so it is no onions in salads for them anymore. Also I have these thin cutting boards that you can get at the dollar store….you can use them and put them in the dishwasher….they can be rolled up if necessary….when they have too many cuts on them I use them for crafts and not for food any longer….they are cheap enough that you can always have a package of 2 on hand.


36 Heather @ My Kansas Life February 24, 2013 at 7:10 pm

I have a small bucket with a filter lid and I put my scraps in there for the compost pile.


37 Ali April 17, 2013 at 1:35 pm


It’s not the onions; it’s how you handle them

According to science writer Joe Schwarcz, onions are in no sense a “magnet for bacteria.” In fact, Schwarcz writes, cut onions contain enzymes that produce sulphuric acid, which inhibits the growth of germs. Onions can become contaminated during handling, but there’s nothing about them that makes them intrinsically more susceptible to bacterial growth or spoilage than any other raw vegetable.

“So unless you have sliced your onions on a contaminated cutting board, or handled them with dirty hands,” Schwarcz explains, “you can safely put them in a plastic bag and store them and there will not be any bacterial contamination.”
I am thinking we are ok. I have always sliced them and put them in fridge to use later. I’m 60 and not dead yet..not even half dead.


38 Merissa April 18, 2013 at 3:31 pm

Thanks for posting this Ali, now we know!


39 Pamela November 12, 2013 at 10:10 pm

We put the rinds of oranges and lemons down the garbage disposal to make it smell good. (We don’t compost rinds if the fruit wasn’t organically grown.)


40 Pamela November 12, 2013 at 10:17 pm

You can use backyard hen eggs, NOT store eggs (that are washed with bleach), to make your own calcium powder. Rinse them out (to get out the egg white, but not the membrane that has nutrients), bake them at about 200 degrees for about 20 minutes or boil them for about 10 minutes and then let them dry. Then crush them into a powder to add to drinks, smoothies, soup, or whatever. Extremely good for you!


41 mitzi November 12, 2013 at 10:28 pm

Growing up our neighbor saved all leftover meats in a freezer bag ….when full she ground everything and added to spaghetti sauce or goulash


42 Maggie November 13, 2013 at 5:05 pm

In England we make “Bubble & Squeak” from left over mashed potato and cooked cabbage. Mash them together well, form into balls then flatten them. Fry in a little oil, turning them carefully. I use corn oil which gives them a nice golden colour. Delicious with cold meat left over from the Sunday roast and some pickles or salad, or with bacon and egg for brunch.


43 Jamie December 9, 2013 at 10:13 pm

No one in our house likes leftovers so I started using thefreezer cooking method. It makes cooking much easier & we no longer have a problem with uneaten leftovers because they’re eaten a week or two later. Also, I freeze most fresh vegetables since they weren’t being used quickly enough.


44 Judi Pavlovszky December 10, 2013 at 8:32 am

We do eat leftovers, but my husband does the cooking and often we have more than we can eat. What I’ve been doing lately is freezing portions and sending them over to my father who lives alone and does not like to cook. He lives some distance from me so I save up the individual portions and my sister stops in to pick them up. He is very appreciative.

We raise our own pork (in the spring,summer and fall, we don’t keep them through the winter). They get all our leftovers including the cooking water plus garden waste, fallen apples, etc. We grow corn to supplement their feed.

When we don’t have pigs, our dog gets some scraps. He is a large dog and we still restrict the amount. We compost everything that can be. I hate to waste anything.

Bones are boiled to make soup stock. We have two chest freezers and one has meat, veggies, etc. The other is premade stock, pie crusts, baked goods, etc.


45 Barbara Elephante December 11, 2013 at 12:32 am

The use I’ve not seen yet for left overs: I have jumbo muffin tins. I take scrap meat and vegetables and put them in the bottom of the tins and then whisk 5 or 6 eggs in a bowl with whatever spices I think go with the stuff in the tins and pour it over the leftovers, trying to get an even amount of food in each muffin cup. Bake at 325 F for 20-25 minutes. 1 of them makes a healthy breakfast item that can be frozen if you make more of these than you need immediately, and they keep in the refrigerator for up to a week. You can microwave them for 1 minute in the morning to reheat them.


46 Angleia January 15, 2014 at 2:48 pm

I make veggie broth every sunday with veggies leftovers. I use that for cooking. I make orange vinegar for cleaning so I use orange peels for that.


47 Colleen January 17, 2014 at 2:09 pm

I also save the wrappers from my butter, and store them in a zipper bag in the freezer. When I need to grease a pan I use one of these. Saves on oil/spray, too.


48 Pamela March 24, 2015 at 6:57 pm

My husband makes tacos almost every Saturday. Afterwards, we
take the cut-up onion/tomato mixture and add to scrambled eggs.
Alternately, we put on top of tortilla chips with olives , cheese and melt.
Sometimes , we add same to cooked chicken pieces with added spinach
and spices.


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