If you’re like us, you throw away a ton of food scraps on a regular basis, but did you know that you can repurpose much of it? You can, of course, start a compost pile, but there are also many uses of kitchen scraps, and they would make your life easier if you are prepping or just homesteading.
One of the primary components of eggshells is calcium carbonate, which has all kinds of nifty uses around the house. Here are just a few:
- Fertilizer – your plants need the calcium and other minerals in the shells so you can crush them up and mix them into the dirt or you can soak the eggshells in the water that you use for your plants. You can even use the entire shell as a “cup” to start your seeds in if you crack them carefully.
- Pest deterrent – having problems with deer or cats in your garden? Crush the eggshells and scatter them around your garden.
- Calcium supplements – we all need plenty of calcium but in a survival situation, we may not be able to get enough. Thank goodness you thought to raise chickens! Just grind the eggs into a fine powder and mix it into your smoothie or other food once per day.
- Feed them to your chickens – that’s right – they need calcium to make more eggs so instead of using oyster shells, crush up the egg shells and give them back.
- Candles – if you crack the tops off carefully, you can fill the shells with beeswax, add a wick, and you’ve got a candle that you didn’t need to use another container on.
- Seed starter pots – again, crack them carefully and put your soil and seeds in them. You’ve got organic seed pots that are already rich in calcium and minerals that your plants need.
Apple peels have several good uses. Just a few are:
- Clean your pots and pans – the acid in apple peels helps remove discoloration and stains from your aluminum cookware.
- Filter pollutants from water – we just wrote an article about using banana peels for water purification, and apple peels work similarly. They attract and capture ions and pollutants because they’re adsorbent. This won’t purify the water or remove biohazards but it will help remove some of the dangerous pollutants.
- Making Jelly – don’t want to waste the apple meat on jelly? That’s OK. The pectin in the peels will do a dandy job of making delicious (and pretty!) jelly.
- Make apple peel vinegar – just put the peels in a jar and cover with water. Weight them down so that they stay beneath the water. Cover and store in a warm place for about a month. Strain and you’ve got vinegar!
You’re going to be pleasantly surprised to find that there are several uses for onion skins, so don’t toss them!
- Removing pollutants from water – they act the same was as apple peels and banana peels do.
- Make stock – when you’re making any kind of stock, you typically use onions. Well instead of using the actual meat, use the skins and ends that you cut off. You’re just going to drain it off anyway.
- Grow more onions – the roots of the onion will regrow if you plant them in the soil, just like bulbs of flowers do.
- Sooth stings – the end of the onion can be used to sooth stings. Just hold it on your skin.
- Use them to dye your hair a beautiful golden brown, or to color fabrics or Easter eggs a bright purple!
- Cook it up along with your garlic peels to make an organic pesticide. It stinks, but it works!
Whether you want to filter water or make some dolls, corn husks have way too many uses to just toss them in the trash!
- Filter water – you can either just let the water drip through the filter, or grind the husk into dust and mix it with coffee grounds and clay. Add enough water to make it “clay-like” and shape it into a bowl. Allow to dry in the sun, then put your water in it and place it over another vessel. The water will soak through the bowl and into the other vessel, leaving contaminants behind. Rinse the corn husk bowl and reuse.
- Make baskets – braid or weave the husks into a basket.
- Protect delicate foods when grilling – if you want to grill your fish or other delicate food but are afraid it will fall apart and be wasted, wrap it in a wet corn husk while cooking.
- Treat bladder infections – boil the husks into a tea for relief. It also works as a pain reliever for some types of joint or muscle pain.
- Start fires – dried husks are extremely flammable so if you don’t have any good kindling, don’t pitch those husks!
These are just a few ideas for survival uses of kitchen scraps. I’m sure if you get creative, you can come up with many more. As a matter of fact, we know you can, and would love for you to share your ideas with us in the comments section below!
This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.