"It's An Old School Technique That I Use All The Time": People Are Sharing Their Favorite Ways To Give New Life To Leftover Ingredients

There's no worse feeling than wasting perfectly good food. But with a few creative tips and tricks, it's possible to stretch leftover ingredients or give those food scraps in your kitchen a whole new life. So redditor u/DAGuardian asked, "What are some of your 'leftover' ingredients that others throw away but you use?" Here's what they said, along with some members of the BuzzFeed Community (and I also added one of my very own ways to use leftovers).

Chef Carmen "Carmy" Berzatto and Sydney Adamu from "The Bear" prepare food in a commercial kitchen. Carmy is in a white shirt and blue apron; Sydney is in a white shirt and blue apron

1."I collect the heels of loaves of bread and store them in an airtight container in the freezer. With eight heels, I can make a large, killer bread pudding."

Close-up of a creamy bread pudding with a spoon scooping out a portion
Robynmac / Getty Images/iStockphoto

2."When you finish a jar of pickles, don't throw away the juice. Pickle juice is a great marinade for chicken."

An open jar filled with pickles on a wooden table, surrounded by garlic cloves and a small bowl of spices
Merc67 / Getty Images

3."My family was shucking some peas, and we had a huge pile of pea pods left over. I was initially going to compost them, but then it occurred to me that they may be edible. One Google search later, I found out you can make a paste with them, or you can even keep them in the pods to use for soup."


4."I turn my leftover bits and bobs of vegetables into pasta sauce. I usually roast them for more flavor, then freeze them in portions to serve with pasta."

Fork twirling creamy pasta with vegetables in a bowl
Aleksandr Zubkov / Getty Images

5."Older watermelon is great to cut into chunks and throw in a blender with a squirt of lime juice. Then, drink it like a smoothie. It will separate in the fridge, so stir or shake it before you pour a glass. Of course, you can add other fruit to it as you like."


6."When my jars of peanut butter are nearly empty, and there's only a little bit of PB left, I use the jars as containers to make overnight oats. The oats sop up all the peanut butter flavor. And you can try this with any nut butter."

A jar of peanut butter and a jar of jelly sit open on a marble countertop. In the background, there's a plate with two slices of bread
Image Source / Getty Images/Image Source

7."I take any fat I remove from meats, render it in a pan, and store it for later. Having my own tallow is awesome. I love searing/basting filet mignon in beef tallow, and carnitas confit in pork fat you rendered yourself is just next level."


8."I see a lot of people throw away the stems for cilantro and just use the leaves. I use every last inch of the cilantro! The stems contain even more flavor in my opinion."

Close-up of hands preparing a dish by chopping herbs over a pan with various ingredients cooking. One wrist has a green bangle
Robertdodge / Getty Images

9."Pineapple peel tea. When you cut a pineapple, save the core and peel. Boil that with two sticks of cinnamon, an inch of ginger, and a tsp of turmeric for maybe 20-30 min, let it sit for an hour, and strain. Yum!"


10."When I was growing up, my mom made me a special treat whenever she made pie. She would take the crust trimmings, add butter and cinnamon sugar, and bake it like a cinnamon roll."

Close-up of hands using cookie cutters on dough, with a rolling pin and more dough on a floured surface in a kitchen
Lisa Schaetzle / Getty Images

11."I often use schmaltz, which is rendered chicken fat. You can either skim it off the top of your homemade chicken stock or melt it off of chicken skin; either way, you'll need to render it. I use schmaltz to make matzo balls for soup, but it can be used sparingly like butter on foods, or you can use it as a cooking fat."

A mixing bowl with cookie dough and five rolled cookie dough balls on a wooden cutting board
Scott Harrison / Getty Images

12."I’m committed to using everything that’s edible when I cook. One thing that comes to mind that’s probably rare for home cooks to use is carrot tops. They taste like carrots in herb form, so I use them as such. I love to turn the tops into a chimichurri with other herbs and olive oil."

Close-up of a bunch of fresh carrots with green tops, displaying a mix of orange and white colors
Photography By Alison Dunn / Getty Images

13."Whenever I have a few bites of leftover steak, burger patties, or pork chops from the grill, I dice up the meat and freeze it for chili. I love many different kinds of meat in my chili, and the grilled flavor adds something special."


14."No one understands why I have a bag of Parmesan rinds in my fridge...until they taste my homemade risotto."

Person stirring risotto in a pot on a stovetop with a wooden spoon. Garlic cloves and ingredients are on a cutting board in the background
Gmvozd / Getty Images

15."Berries just past the point where you want to eat them as-is make great jams or sauces. It's is an old school technique, but I do it often."

A person is ladling homemade jam into a glass jar in a kitchen setting
Alexandr Kolesnikov / Getty Images

16."I freeze vegetable scraps to make vegetable stock. It couldn't be easier; it contains nothing processed, has no salt, and is delicious. Whenever I chop vegetables, I drop whatever is left into a Ziploc, like onion and carrot tops, fennel tops, zucchini tops, anything. When I have a gallon-sized Ziploc full, I dump it into a pot, cover it with about two inches of water, bring it to a boil, and then simmer it for about an hour. Strain and freeze."


17."Broccoli stalks. Rather than toss them, I either roast them and serve them like any other roast veg or chop them up finely and add them to stews. They are delicious."

A person is adding chopped celery from a white bowl into a pot of soup simmering on a stovetop
Lucentius / Getty Images

18."Lots of cheese rinds are edible. They can be used to add funk to soups and braises, blended into powders that can be added to bread doughs, crackers, all sorts of stuff."


19."Potato peels! After you peel potatoes, wash and dry the peels. You can fry them later like chips, and they make a delicious snack; just need some salt."

Person peeling a potato with a peeler over a wooden cutting board
Capelle.r / Getty Images

Do you have something to add to the list? How do you like to use a leftover ingredient that others might be inclined to throw away? Tell me in the comments or drop your responses into this anonymous form.