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10 unusual ways to use your fruit & veg scraps

Publisher - Great British Food Awards
published by


Jul 07, 2020
9 minutes to read
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From homemade apple vinegar to citrus rind cordial, there are plenty of exciting ways to ensure no food goes to waste in your kitchen. Food waste expert and co-founder of Oddbox Emilie Vanpoperinghe shares her simple tricks

1. Pineapple-skin tepache

This delicious, slightly fermented fizzy drink from Mexico is made from the tough pineapple peels and the core that you might usually throw away. It takes about 10 minutes to prepare and a few days to ferment into a deliciously refreshing summery drink. You’ll need raw cane sugar, your pineapple offcuts and a 3-4 litre jar. Here’s a recipe for you.

2. Apple-core vinegar

Save apple peelings and the cores to make your own apple cider vinegar. Simply add the scraps to a jar. Dilute 2 tablespoons of sugar to every 500ml of cold water, then pour the mixture over your apple scraps. Cover the jar with a piece of cloth or kitchen towel, secure with an elastic band, then set aside to ferment for one to two weeks, stirring it once a day. You’ll soon see it start to bubble and fizz. When it starts to smell and taste like vinegar, strain it into a clean bottle and store in the fridge. Perfect for salad dressings!

3. Onion-dyed eggs

This is a fun activity to do with the kids. Once peeled, your slow-boiled eggs will not only look pretty, they’ll taste good too. Fill a saucepan with a load of onion peelings – this is a great way to clear out your vegetable pantry or you can save up peelings as you go. Cover with water, add plenty of black pepper and bring to the boil. Carefully add your eggs and leave to simmer over a low heat for a couple of hours. After an hour, remove the eggs and gently crack the shells slightly to allow the onion water to seep in without breaking the shells entirely. Once ready, get the kids to peel them to marvel at their stained-glass patterns.

4. Citrus rind cordial

You can use any citrus rinds here, from grapefruits to oranges, lemons to limes (or a mix) to make a deliciously tangy fruit cordial to spruce up plain water. Weigh your fruit husks and place in a jar or large bowl, then combine with the same amount of caster sugar. Cover and set aside for a couple of hours or preferably overnight until a sweet cordial collects in the bottom. Strain it out, pressing down on your fruits to squeeze out as much of their flavour as possible. Store in sterilised bottles for about a month.

5. Citrus-scented cleaner

If cordial isn’t your thing, use your spent citrus rinds to add a zesty scent to homemade all-purpose bathroom or kitchen spray. Fill a large jar with your rinds, pour in white vinegar to cover, secure with a lid and leave in a dark place for at least a fortnight – the longer you leave it, the more time it will have to infuse. Strain out your peelings with a fine-mesh sieve, then decant your newly scented cleaner into a spray bottle.

6. Avocado-peel moisturiser

Avocados contain plenty of fatty acids that are beneficial for your hair and skin. Rub the peel all over your skin and hair, leave it for 20 minutes to work its magic, then wash it off.

7. Squeezed lemons to clean your grill

A quick trick for barbecue season to get that grill sparkling clean. Dip a squeezed lemon rind in salt, then rub it over a hot grill – its acidity helps to sterilise and get rid of unwanted grease. Easy!

8. Fruit-pit vinegar

The team over at Bon Appétit have some great ideas for turning the stones in peaches, apricots and cherries into peachy, fruity-flavoured vinegars. Collect your stones and combine with four times as much vinegar (they use Champagne vinegar but you could use white wine vinegar instead), then leave in a dark cupboard for about three weeks. Perfect for all those seasonal stone fruits this summer.

9. Skin-soothing potato (and a handy gravy thickener!)

Rather than using cucumber slices to reduce puffy, tired eyes, slices of raw potato will work just as well – a good way to use wrinkly potatoes that are slightly past their best. Rest the slices on tired eyes for 10 minutes. Alternatively, a little mashed potato will help to thicken too-thin gravies or sauces.

10. Don’t chuck those veg scraps!

From celery to lettuce, spring onions to beets, you can actually regrow these veg stubs with just a little time, water and TLC. Here’s our guide to help you.

For more information about Oddbox visit

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