8 foods you should upcycle in your kitchen

Are you a pro at using your food waste bin? Well, now that you’re finally in the rhythm of moving your food away from the rubbish bin to help reduce the global impact of food waste – why not try the next step? Food upcycling. There are plenty of tasty treats for you to try that can help the environment but also… you get more bang for your buck! Food isn’t cheap, so don’t waste it so freely. See what you can do with it using our recipes below: 

1: Citrus peels 

This one is super easy and one of our favourites. Your kids will love them too! Save money on the cost of expensive sweets, reduce your plastic waste AND reduce food waste?! It’s a no brainer. 

After you’ve enjoyed your fruit… for example an orange. Take your peel and chop it up into smaller bite size pieces. Add it to a pot of boiling water and allow it to simmer for 5-10 minutes. Remove them from the water and allow them to sit while you add sugar to the boiling water to make a syrup. Add your peelings back into the syrup mixture and simmer for 10 minutes. Once you’re done, simply remove and douse in sugar for that classic sweet look, feel and taste!  

2: Bread 

Are you worried that your bread has gone a bit stale? Don’t throw it out! The kids may no longer want it for their sandwiches but there’s no reason you won’t love it topped on a classic chicken Caesar salad. They’re so easy to make! You’ll be wondering why you ever binned bread in the first place!  

Cut your bread into cubes, roughly the size of a croutons. Douse them in some olive oil and throw them in the oven to bake for 200 degrees for around 20 minutes. You can get as creative as you want adding herbs and spices too. 

3: Banana peels 

If you’re a fan of cakes you’ve probably been baking from a young age. Butter, milk, sugar, eggs, flours, baking powder – you know the drill. There are plenty of different ways and measurements to make a cake. So we’ll just give you a link to our favourite simple cake or you can stick to your favourite recipe. However, we want you to try this twist of adding banana peels in order to reduce waste. 

Slice your banana peels into thin strips and the chop them into squares. Simmer them in boiling water for 10 minutes until soft. Strain the water and then use a blender to mash your peels. Voila! Now you can make a cake like normal, adding your mashed banana peels in like you would any other ingredient. 

4: Green vegetables 

Regrow food? Yes! Sometimes making the most of food scraps and upcycling involves regrowth. Something that’s easily done with a lot of greens. It’s as simple as popping the ends/roots in a jar of water and putting them in your fridge or sunshine. Take a look at how to regrow these greens! 

  1. Spring onions – just leave this in a glass of water at room temperature 
  1. Celery – Pop the base in a bowl of water and pop in sunlight. When leaves sprout, pop it in soil. 
  1. Romaine lettuce – Put this into water and then transfer to soil when leaves start to grow 
  1. Leeks – these take longer, but pop the bottom two inches in water at room temperature and wait 

5: Potatoes 

Is the potato the most versatile and tasty vegetable in the UK? We would argue yes. Chips, roasties, mash, boiled, jackets… not to mention the sheer volume of recipes they can fit into. But there’s often one part of the potato that gets neglected. The peel. Now, some of you might be sitting there saying “I eat the peel” – but if you’re not using 100% of your peels, why not try this recipe.  

Cut your peels into snackable chunks. Spread them on a baking tray and douse them in olive oil. Now, get creative with your flavourings. You might put a few sprigs of rosemary on there. Some chilli flakes. Garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cumin, oregano, thyme! Gosh there’s SO many options. Flavour as you desire then pop in the oven at 200 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Then munch on them with a good film.

6: Cooking oils and fats 

There are a few different things you can do with your cooking fats and oils. The only thing you should never do is pour them down the sink! Not only could you cause a messy blockage but nobody needs a hefty plumbing bill to go alongside the rise in the cost of living. But how can you reuse them? 

You can quite literally reuse most cooking fats and oils by storing them in a glass jar until you need to cook again – bacon grease is perfect for that! But if you’re fully stocked, why not feed the birds? Mix the fat or oil with some bird seed and then pop it in the freezer. Once everything hardens, you can pop it in a bird suet cage. Perfect for bird watching and reducing your waste. 

7: Herbs 

Do you have a few herbs left that you’re worried you won’t get into a mixture before they go bad? No need to fret. Even if they’ve got plenty of time left in your fridge. Enjoy some fancy butter or get creative with cooking. Picture this: a lazy Sunday in front of the TV with some freshly made sourdough and herby butter to enjoy with a glass of your favourite. Perfect. So how do you make the herby butter? Simple! 

Grab whatever herbs you’re trying to use up. Dice them into small pieces. Then mix them with olive oil and soft butter. Pop them in an ice cube tray and freeze! You can defrost them for using as a spread or cook with them and jazz up your veggies. Thank us later – this one’s a real treat! 

8: Vegetables 

As a rule. Anything from a vegetable you start to scoop into the food waste bin – pause! There are so many bits you can eat that people aren’t aware of. If you don’t fancy adding them directly into your recipe, just roast them with some herbs and spices then grab your favourite dip for a tasty snack. But here are some 

  1. You can use the stem on a courgette 
  1. Carrot tops and leaves can be blended for soup 
  1. You can eat the leaves on a strawberry top and they’re tasty too! 
  1. Broccoli stems are perfect in any kind of stir fry 
  1. Any herb stems you have leftover, blend with some water, freeze and voila – a flavour bomb for future use in curries, soups, stews and stir fry’s. 

If you find yourself throwing any of these foods away. Take a moment to see if you could try out one of the recipes above. Remember food waste contributes to 6% of global emissions and each 100g you save from the food waste bin, reduces your carbon footprint by 250g CO2e.

4 Responses

  1. I think every house should have a trash bin which can manage food waste. The amount of food waste is currently quite a lot in cities even though there are also quite a lot of food shortages.

  2. Another re-use tip: dried-out coffee grounds make a great gentle abrasive for cleaning your hands. A little bit of it combined in your palm with a squirt of washing-up liquid will help you work the worst muck and grease off your hands. A lot cheaper than Swarfega!

  3. Great idea for using up banana skins. We usually chop ours up to put in the compost bin. I hope it’s adding potassium to my compost!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Share :


If you’re not already a member, then you’re missing out! All of our members get rewarded for living a greener lifestyle, including reading this blog.