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One man's food trash is another man's treasure

These are the food parts that we throw away but probably shouldn't!

DENVER — According to the EPA, about 94 percent of the food we throw away ends up in landfills or combustion facilities.

In 2015, we disposed of 37.6 million tons of food waste. By reducing waste, we can save money and conserve resources for future generations.

But aside from recycling and composting, what are other ways that we can reduce waste?  One way is to eat your food, and I mean all of it!

Here are some foods that we are typically throwing away, but shouldn’t be:

CITRUS RIND: Don’t just squeeze out the juice and toss the rind. Not only are there tons of uses for the rind, but it’s great for you too! It’s higher in vitamin C than the flesh itself and it’s a good source of fiber. You can use the rind to make candied citrus peels, marmalades, or toss it into smoothies.

You can zest the rind and use in vinaigrettes, marinades, yogurts, coffee, or teas. The zest is also great for muffins and bread. If you don’t have an immediate use for it, store it in the freezer in a zip-lock bag for later use.

WATERMELON RIND AND SEEDS: Watermelon rind is high in vitamins B and C. Add watermelon rind to smoothies, chop and add to fruit salad, salsa, chutney, or pickle it. As for the seeds, you can roast them in olive oil and salt and toss onto salads or add into trail mix.

CARROT TOPS: Don’t just eat the orange part, eat the green stems too! Carrot tops are a good source of fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, and iron. These green, leafy stems make a great herb substitute for any savory dish. They can also be mixed into salad greens. 

Boil them for delicious soup stock. Pretty much any unused vegetable pieces, carrot tops included, can be frozen and then simmered in water for a delicious vegetable broth.

FERMENTED PICKLE BRINE: After you devour your cucumbers, don’t throw out the brine. This liquid is high in probiotics (these probiotics are found in the pickle brands with live cultures that you find in the refrigerator section of the grocery store, pickles you find in the center aisles of grocery stores have been pasteurized and don’t have probiotics). 

Probiotics are great for gut health and immunity. Since the brine is high in sodium, some athletes use it post workout in place of electrolyte drinks! This brine can be added to soups, hummus, tuna salads, chicken salads, etc. to add and enhance flavor.

AQUAFABA: Aquafaba is the liquid in canned goods such as chickpeas, lentils, and beans. Instead of draining the liquid, try using it as an egg replacement!

Just whisk it until it’s white and foamy. You can then use it to make things like chocolate mousse, homemade mayo, and cookies. Bonus: it’s vegan-friendly and low calorie.

Now go off and enjoy saving money and the environment! 

Lauren Ott, RD is a registered dietitian and founder of The Dessert Dietitian Nutrition Counseling.  Check out her website www.thedessertdietitian.com, Facebook page (The Dessert Dietitian), and Instagram @thedessertdietitian for nutrition tips and recipes!