Upcycling Food: Turn Food Scraps into Meals

Food waste is a major problem globally, with millions of tons of food being thrown away every year. While composting and recycling are effective ways to deal with food waste, upcycling is a growing trend that is gaining popularity as a way to reduce food waste. Upcycling food means taking food scraps that would otherwise be thrown away and using them to create new dishes, snacks, and beverages.

In this article, we’ll explore the concept of upcycling food and provide tips and ideas for turning your food scraps into delicious meals.

What is Upcycling Food?

Upcycling food is a process of transforming food waste and byproducts into new, usable, and valuable food products. It’s a practice that has been gaining popularity in recent years as a way to combat food waste and promote sustainability. The idea behind upcycling food is to make use of food that might otherwise go to waste, whether it’s because it’s too ugly to be sold, or because it’s close to its expiration date.

Upcycling food can involve using ingredients in new ways, creating new products from existing ones, or simply finding creative ways to use up ingredients that might otherwise be discarded. For example, a company might use pulp leftover from making juice to create a new type of snack bar, or a restaurant might use food scraps to create a vegetable broth.

Upcycling food has a number of benefits beyond reducing food waste. It can help to conserve natural resources, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and promote sustainable food production. By finding new ways to use existing ingredients, upcycling food can also help to create new business opportunities and support local food systems.

Overall, upcycling food is a practice that has the potential to make a significant impact on our food systems and our environment. With the right strategies and approaches, it’s possible to turn food waste into a valuable resource and create a more sustainable food system for all.

Why Upcycle Food?

Upcycling food has many benefits. First and foremost, it helps to reduce food waste. By using parts of the food that would normally be thrown away, upcycling helps to reduce the amount of food that ends up in landfills.

Upcycling also promotes creativity in the kitchen, as it challenges you to think of new ways to use food scraps. Finally, upcycling can help save money on groceries, as you’re making use of parts of the food that you would otherwise throw away.

upcycle food

How to Upcycle Food?

There are many ways to upcycle food, and the possibilities are endless. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Use vegetable scraps to make broth. Save vegetable scraps like onion peels, carrot tops, and celery ends in a container in the freezer. Once you have enough, put them in a pot with water and some herbs and spices, and let it simmer for a few hours. You’ll end up with a delicious, flavorful broth that you can use in soups, stews, and other dishes.
  2. Turn stale bread into croutons or breadcrumbs. If you have bread that’s starting to go stale, don’t throw it away! Cut it into cubes and bake it in the oven with some olive oil and herbs to make croutons. Or, pulse it in a food processor to make breadcrumbs that you can use in recipes like meatballs or meatloaf.
  3. Make smoothies with overripe fruit. If you have fruit that’s starting to get overripe, don’t throw it away! Chop it up and freeze it, then blend it with some yogurt or milk to make a delicious smoothie.
  4. Use beet greens and carrot tops in salads. Instead of throwing away the tops of beets and carrots, wash them and use them in salads. They add a delicious crunch and are packed with nutrients.
  5. Make vegetable chips with leftover veggies. If you have leftover vegetables like kale or sweet potatoes, thinly slice them and bake them in the oven to make crispy, healthy chips.

Upcycling Food Recipes

Here are a few upcycling food recipes to get you started:

  1. Banana Peel Bacon
  • Ingredients:
    • 2-3 ripe banana peels
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
    • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
    • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Directions:
    1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
    2. Wash and dry the banana peels.
    3. Cut the peels into strips about 1/4 inch wide.
    4. In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
    5. Dip each strip of banana peel into the mixture, coating it thoroughly.
    6. Place the strips on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
    7. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until crispy.
    8. Enjoy as a bacon substitute in sandwiches, salads, or as a snack.

upcycling food recipes

  1. Broccoli Stem Slaw
  • Ingredients:
    • 2-3 broccoli stems
    • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
    • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon honey
    • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Directions:
    1. Peel the tough outer layer from the broccoli stems using a vegetable peeler.
    2. Shred the stems using a grater or food processor.
    3. In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper.
    4. Toss the shredded broccoli stems with the dressing until well coated.
    5. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving.
    6. Enjoy as a side dish or topping for burgers and sandwiches.
  1. Carrot Top Pesto
  • Ingredients:
    • 1 cup packed carrot tops
    • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
    • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    • 1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1/2 cup olive oil
    • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Directions:
    1. Wash and dry the carrot tops thoroughly.
    2. Remove any tough stems and chop the leaves roughly.
    3. In a food processor or blender, combine the carrot tops, basil, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts or walnuts, and garlic.
    4. Pulse until the mixture is finely chopped.
    5. Slowly add the olive oil while continuing to pulse, until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
    6. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
    7. Enjoy as a spread on toast, pasta sauce, or as a dip for vegetables.
  1. Beet Green Chips
  • Ingredients:
    • 1 bunch of beet greens
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Directions:
    1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
    2. Wash and dry the beet greens.
    3. Cut off the tough stems and tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces.
    4. In a bowl, toss the beet greens with olive oil, salt, and pepper until well coated.
    5. Place the beet greens on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
    6. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until crispy.
    7. Enjoy as a healthier alternative to potato chips.


Upcycling food is a simple and effective way to reduce food waste and promote sustainability in the kitchen. By using parts of the food that would normally be thrown away, we can create delicious new dishes and snacks while also helping to save money and reduce our environmental impact.

So the next time you’re about to toss out food scraps, think twice and consider how you can upcycle them instead. You might just discover a new favorite dish!

Originally posted 2023-02-20 13:48:51.

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