How to make use of leftover strawberry tops and other scrappy cooking hacks to reduce waste

Sustainable food hacks turn scraps into star ingredients and these easy tips will make the most of odds and ends in the kitchen.

Plant-based food blogger, recipe creator and founder of PlantYou, Carleigh Bodrug, shared some of her scrappy cooking recipes that are a simple way to start reducing one’s environmental impact.

PHOTO: PlantYou founder and plant-based food blogger Carleigh Bodrug.

“These are hacks I was already doing in my home to save money — as produce prices continue to climb — but I really had no idea the concept would resonate so well,” Bodrug told “Good Morning America.” “That’s how Scrappy Cooking was born, and I’ve now produced 12 different recipe videos using common food scraps like broccoli stems, banana peels and more.”

Check out a few full recipes for her zero-waste food ideas below.

Strawberry Top Vinegar

“Strawberry tops are entirely edible! If you’re not throwing them in your smoothie, try making a strawberry top infused vinegar, perfect for salads and cocktails,” she said.

Time: 48 hours

Lends: 3 cups strawberry top vinegar

Ingredients

3/4 cup strawberry tops

3 cups white vinegar of choice, such as white wine or all purpose white vinegar

Directions

Pour vinegar and strawberry tops in a sealable jar. Allow to rest at room temperature for at least 2 days.

Transfer mixture to a sealable bottle, discarding the tops. Store and use as you would regular vinegar.

Candied Orange Peels

“The peels of your favorite citrus fruits like lemons and oranges can be transformed into a delicious candy, reminiscent of gummy worms,” she said.

Time: 45 minutes
Lends: 1 ½ cups orange peel candy

Directions

Peel the oranges and freeze or set aside for another recipe. Alternatively use orange peels you have saved previously.

Wash the orange peels thoroughly.

Slice the orange peels into thin strips and then set aside.

Bring a pot of water to a boil and allow the orange peels to simmer for approximately 15 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.

Now in the same pot, bring equal parts water and sugar to a boil to make a simple syrup. Whisk until combined. Add the orange peels back in, and set to lower. Simmer on low for approximately 30 minutes, until the orange peels have candied.

Transfer to a parchment paper lined baking sheet and allow to cool for 4 hours. You can store the candied citrus peel for up to a month in a cool, dry place on your countertop.

Aquafaba Chocolate Pudding

PHOTO: Whipped aquafaba, or liquid from a can of chickpeas.

“You need to stop throwing out the liquid left over in your can of chickpeas. This magical ‘bean water’ is called aquafaba and makes the perfect vegan egg replacer,” Bodrug said. “It whips up into a ‘meringue’ just like egg whites, and makes the most delicious chocolate pudding.”

Time: 25 Minutes
Lends: 3 servings

Ingredients
Aquafaba from one 250ml can of chickpeas
1/2 cup semi-sweet vegan chocolate chips
1 tbsp sugar of choice

Directions

Drain your can of chickpeas, capturing the aquafaba in a large mixing bowl. Set the chickpeas aside for another recipe.

Melt the chocolate chips according to preference, either using a double broiler or in the microwave. You can add a tablespoon or two of almond milk to help achieve a velvety consistency if desired.

While the chocolate “sauce” cools, start whipping your aquafaba using either a handheld mixer or a whisk. You need to be patient for this step. It will take approximately 10 minutes for the aquafaba to foam up into a white meringue like substance. You cannot over whip aquafaba, and you want to achieve stiff peaks before moving onto the next step.

Incorporate the chocolate sauce into the whipped aquafaba slowly, along with the sugar. Fold it in until combined. It is normal for the meringue to lose some of its foaminess and size in this step.

Transfer to jars and chill in the fridge until you are ready to enjoy!

Date Seed Coffee

PHOTO: Roasted date seeds to be used for coffee grounds.

“Date seed coffee, which originated in the Middle East, has been used as an alternative to coffee for centuries,” Bodrug said. “The date seeds are packed full of antioxidants, and provide a caffeine free alternative to coffee with a similar but subtle flavor profile.”

Time: 45 minutes
Lends: Approximately 4 cups of date seed coffee

Ingredients
1/2 cup date seeds (around 8 seeds per cup)

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment.

Remove the seeds from your dates. I used the seeds from medjool dates. Clean thoroughly under warm water to remove any leftover date residue.

Roast on a parchment lined baking sheet for around 40 minutes.

After removing from the oven, use a coffee grinder or food processor to create date coffee grinds. Prepare as you would regular coffee, in a drip machine, French press or pour over.

Since going plant-based in 2015, Bodrug said her “passion for creating recipes that are both good for our health and the planet” has only grown stronger. Bodrug’s debut cookbook, “PlantYou: 140+ Ridiculously Easy, Amazingly Delicious, Plant-Based, Oil-Free Recipes,” comes out in January 2022.

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