As part of HuffPost’s “Reclaim” project, HuffPost Taste will focus the entire month of July on simple ways you can reduce food waste in your own home.
Summer is a time of great harvest, but it often feels impossible to eat the abundance of fresh produce before it goes bad. And then there’s the scraps. The amount of watermelon rind left behind alone is enough to fill an entire trash can in a matter of days (btw, you can and should be pickling that), not to mention corn husks and cobs from backyard grill outs (there’s also some good stuff you can do with that!).
Composting this food waste is one way to ensure it gets a second life, but there is more that you can do. A lot of food scraps ― like strawberry tops! ― can actually be turned into delicious meals or drinks. We’re always looking for new ideas, and the folks behind Foodstand, a community of people focused on good eating and fighting food waste, feel the same way. They started a #NoFoodWaste campaign with this aim and have surfaced some new ideas to stop food waste in the kitchen. Below, we rounded up our favorite ideas:
Dry over-ripe strawberries.
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Carpe deli at Foodstand recommends taking over-ripe strawberries and drying them in a low-temp oven to turn them into strawberry chips.
Remember, pesto is not just for basil.
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Imperfect Produce recommends getting creative with pesto. Think beyond the basil and use kale, carrot tops or beet greens, too.
Turn leftover rice into dessert.
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Carpe deli also turns leftover Basmati rice into a sweet treat. First, heat it up with oat milk, then top with blueberries and honey.
Cook with those turnip greens.
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Olivette at Foodstand believes in using the whole turnip. Chop off the greens from the turnips before storing in the fridge in order to help them last longer. Then use the turnip tops like you would spinach or kale.
Use leftover herbs to make Green Goddess dressing.
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Etsummer makes vegan Green Goddess dressing out of a medley of leftover herbs. Genius!
Don't let those avocados over-ripen on the counter.
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Lauren at Foodstand reminds us that we can freeze avocados -- a great way to preserve them before they go bad.
You can use stale bread, too.
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LezEngat resurrects stale bread in the form of croutons.
Turn leek greens into leek pasta.
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Sugardetoxme uses the leek greens -- which most people toss -- to make leek pasta. To try this at home: cut the greens off of your leeks, wash them thoroughly, boil for 5-6 minutes in salted water, drain and then sauté with some olive oil, garlic, salt and serve.
Slow cook all your leftovers together
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Rachna at Foodstand uses the slow cooker to cook up wilted veggies, frozen scraps, leftover herbs, plus whatever else might be in the fridge. Think of it as slow cooker magic. (Example recipe: red lentils, split chickpeas, leftover asparagus, frozen ginger, garlic, wilted onions, a frozen chicken breast, quinoa and a bunch of your favorite spices. Put it all in a slow cooker filled with water and within three hours, you have dinner.)
Use the lemon peel, too.
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Imperfect Produce recommends using the lemon peel. Grate the peel before using the lemon and use to top on meals or drinks. It's even tastier than a squeeze of lemon juice.
Make good soup out of a wrinkly cucumber.
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LizEngel at Foodstand uses wrinkly, nearly over-ripe cucumbers to make a cold cucumber soup. Perfect for the summer.
Take Action Now
Join thousands of Americans calling on Walmart to help reduce food waste by mounting a comprehensive campaign to sell "ugly" fruit and vegetables.