You Shouldn't Throw Out Your Vegetable Scraps. Here's Why

Whenever you're making a salad or cleaning veggies to snack on throughout the week, you'll always end up with a few scraps, like odds and ends from carrots, onions, and celery. Your first instinct might be to toss these remnants in the trash, but when you do that, you're actually throwing away ingredients that you can still use. Instead of tossing your veggie scraps, put them to work in your kitchen by making vegetable stock or repurposing the leftovers for a new recipe (via The Kitchn).

Vegetable stock is a super simple and tasty way to use almost any veggie scraps you have. According to The Kitchn, carrots, onions, and celery are the essential ingredients for vegetable stock, but you can use scraps from tons of other veggies too, like garlic, potatoes, squash, asparagus, and even corn cobs. Roots, leaves, peels, stalks, and ends are all fair game, you just want to avoid vegetables like cauliflower and cabbage that have strong flavors because they can overpower the stock.

Once you've collected a few scraps (you can freeze them for later if you're not using them right away), making vegetable stock couldn't be easier. According to Tasty, all you have to do is add the scraps to a pot, cover with water, and simmer for about half an hour. Then, use a fine mesh strainer to separate the scraps from the liquid, and you'll have a delicious, flavorful, homemade stock.

Other ways to use vegetable scraps

Making vegetable stock is an easy way to put your scraps to good use, but if you don't make soup your own soups or sauces very often, there might be a better way for you to use the leftovers from your kitchen. According to Food Network, instead of tossing broccoli stems, you can thinly slice them and add them to slaws or soups to sneak in a few extra nutrients. And the leaves from root veggies that you might normally throw away (like beets and carrots) can sometimes be sauted as their own side dish, or added to a salad. You can also add extra spinach or kale ends to pesto to make it a little more nutritious.

A big part of finding ways to use vegetable scraps is just getting creative with how you cook. Bon Appétit also suggests using carrot and radish greens in your pesto, or sauteing kale stems to tenderize them and add to a salad or as a garnish on a dish. So the next time you're prepping veggies for the week, think twice before throwing anything away — those scraps might be the base for another delicious recipe.