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How to Use All of Your Produce, from Top to Tip

Creative cooks can find uses for nearly every part of fruits and veggies, from skins to roots. By using a few old-fashioned techniques and some modern recipes, you'll waste practically nothing.

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Organic kitchen waste in a white plastic bowl on wooden tablePhoto: Shutterstock / Jan Herodes

Did you know you’re probably wasting perfectly good food? Blame it on our fast-paced lives or our familiarity with certain parts of veggies that we’re used to cooking with (corn kernels, we’re looking at you). But in line with a “use it up” philosophy, many home cooks are finding ways to use nearly all of their fruits and veggies. By truly embracing a waste-not-want-not way of life, you will see big changes in both your grocery budget and your food waste. Simmering a batch of homemade vegetable broth is just the beginning. Here are more tempting ways to use it up, top to tip!

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Fresh broccoli on the wooden tablePhoto: Shutterstock / Alexander Prokopenko

Broccoli Stalks & Leaves

Yes, you can eat the stems; just be sure to peel off the tough outer layer before cooking. Leaves, which are higher in vitamins than florets and stalks, can be stewed similar to collard greens or kale. Or you could throw either of them into your favorite broccoli salad right along with the florets.

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Set of raw and boiled corn on a sackcloth and on a white background.Photo: Shutterstock / Libertyphoto

Corn Cobs

Delicate corn flavor sweetened with sugar becomes a jelly that takes corn cobs from trash to treasure. Like holding summer in a mason jar, this yellow jelly is a must-try seasonal fave that exemplifies the zero waste mentality.

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fresh ripe lemons on wooden tablePhoto: Shutterstock / MaraZe

Lemon Peel

Well known for its zest-ability and as an addition to water and tea, lemon peel can also be candied. Use any citrus peel in this tasty recipe that also makes a welcome gift.

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Green stalks of celery on a wooden table.Photo: Shutterstock / Avrora Studio

Celery Leaves

Fresh and delicious, celery leaves can be added to soups or salads or used as a garnish. You can also toss them into the blender as a smoothie add-in.

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Half of watermelon on blue wooden backgroundPhoto: Shutterstock / inventbbart

Watermelon Rind

When you think pickles, you probably don’t think watermelon, but you should! Pickled watermelon rinds are a delicious way to hang on to summer all year long.

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orange pumpkin on the tablePhoto: Shutterstock / nndrln

Pumpkin Seeds

Move over, pumpkin spice everything, there’s a new pumpkin obsession on the horizon. Pumpkin seeds are delicious, healthy and versatile. Tossed with spices and toasted, they pack quite a punch in both the flavor and nutrition departments.

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Fresh parsley on black wooden backgroundPhoto: Shutterstock / YARUNIV Studio

Parsley & Cilantro Stems

The stems of delicate herbs like parsley and cilantro are so frequently thrown away. But if a recipe calls for these herbs chopped or minced, great news: You can cut up the stems right along with the leaves.

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Opened sack of potatoesPhoto: Shutterstock / Sea Wave

Potato Skins

Instead of peeling potatoes, treat the skins as the favored part. The first step in making these restaurant favorites is to scrub the potatoes and remove any eyes or bruises before peeling. Bake or broil them as a healthy and delicious snack or appetizer.

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