Gardening is a lot of work, and throwing some of the harvest even into the compost pile can feel like a waste! Learning the ways we can use all of the harvest can help us put more food on the shelf, feel good about our food production, and get one step closer to a no waste kitchen.
Love finding ways to use up every bit of what you harvest from the garden you work so hard on each season? I get you! For some reason, I feel a little bit stingy feeding the compost pile unless I can get one more use out of my precious produce!
Of course, this list is not at all exhaustive—that would be a VERY long article if I included all the ways you could use each item on my list. However, I am including some fun and creative ideas that you may not know about for using the scraps, as well as some of my favorite uses for each bit of produce I’m sharing about today. I hope you find some cool new ways to make your harvests no waste!
No Waste Ideas
Peaches are so delicious in so many different ways! This year was the first that we got plenty of peaches from our tree, so I needed some ideas for using them all up. Here are some ideas that I’ve used in the past (with store-bought produce), and that I used this year.
- Eat raw
- Can whole or halved (water bath)
- Jams, syrups, preserves, pickles, and other canned items
- Dehydrated into fruit leathers
- BBQ sauce — For real! And it’s so good! I used this recipe from Ball
Pits and Skins
For our family, tomatoes are one of the most versatile vegetables (or fruits, if you’re a stickler) we grow in our home garden. My favorites that I keep coming back to are San Marzano (a paste tomato–great for canning), and Brandywine (a beefsteak tomato–great for slicing). Here’s what we do with all of our tomatoes each year.
- Water bath canned whole or diced, or sauce (show mine)
- Dehydrated for the shelf (show mine)
- Frozen for later canning, or even just later use (my article)
- Make my favorite Garden Veggie Sandwich
Cores and Skins
- Tomato powder – can be made into juice, sauce or paste (show mine)
Onions are fun because you can just harvest the tops for garnish and flavoring your dishes, which reduces waste if you don’t need the bulb. However, if you do need the bulb, you can replant the root side to grow another onion! Here are some more ways you can use up your onions.
- preserve them (here’s an article with 5 ways!)
- dry, grind and use them in homemade spice blends
- keep some slices on hand for a homemade bug bite treatment
Peels and Ends
- replant the ends and grow more onions! (works with green and bulb onions)
- freeze the skins and scraps to flavor bone broth
Leafy greens are so good for us! Packed with vitamins and minerals that we need, they are the perfect addition to any meal (or smoothie) to give us those extra nutrients without all the extra calories! Here’s some ways you can use the whole plant!
- green powder to use in smoothies
- kale chips
- regrow a head of lettuce with the end
- “pick as you go” – leave it in the ground and just pick outer leaves so it remains super fresh!
If you are lucky enough to get a bounty of apples every year, you’ve got great opportunity for filling your shelves! Apples are hugely versatile and pretty much every part can be used for something!
- apple pie filling
- fruit leather
- preserve as apple butter
- eat raw
- dehydrate them in rings for snacks
Cores and Skins
- Make apple cider vinegar