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Ways to save money in the kitchen

Karen Miner is the Food & Travel Assignment Editor for SheKnows, ChefMom and FabulousFoods. She is a freelance writer, recipe developer and is also the cook, author and photographer behind the food blog, Tasty Trials, a collection of ori...

Less food waste, more money saved

Nowadays, we do as much as we can to be green and keep as much as possible out of the trash. The kitchen is one place to easily eliminate waste, and these tips will help you use up all your excess food.
Pot on stove

Most of us have quite a bit of food waste, but a lot of that can be kept out of the garbage can and even the compost bin. Read on to find out how to use up all those scraps and excess quantities instead of throwing them away. Not only will you save food, but you'll save money, too. Win, win!

Get more bang for your buck: Check out these dinners for less than $10 >>

Stock

One of the easiest and most common ways to use bones, vegetable peels, rinds and other inedible food pieces is to make stock. Let your scraps dictate the kind of stock you'll make and add anything you can't use in your dish — the more you put in, the more flavorful the end result will be. Making homemade stock is as easy as throwing everything into a pot, covering it with water and simmering for four to six hours. Strain and freeze for later use. Although you do throw the scraps away in the end, you've now made something out of nothing. Tip: For extra flavor, add Parmesan cheese rinds to your pot.

Learn how to make homemade chicken stock >>

Herb pesto

How often do you buy an entire bunch of herbs only to use one tablespoon for a recipe? The next thing you know, they're wilting at the back of the crisper. A great way to use all those herbs is to make herb pesto. Think outside the box and beyond the standard basil pesto by using cilantro, parsley or mint instead. Pestos use a large quantity of herbs and give a huge flavor boost to your meal.

Check out these recipes for herb pesto >>

lemon peelCitrus peels

Not only do lemon, lime and orange peels have tons of flavor, they also freshen things up in the kitchen. Stick a few pieces down a stinky garbage disposal for a natural cleansing or even throw a few dried pieces onto a fire for a citrusy essence. Citrus peels can be used in liquids to enhance flavor — try adding some to your glass of water or infusing vodka. If you're roasting or braising meat, throw the peels in and remove before serving.

Learn how to make flavor-infused vodka >>

Overripe fruit

Bananas turn brown fast and peaches seem to go from green to overripe in a matter of hours. Although these fruits might be a little too mushy to eat whole, they're perfect for baking. In fact, banana bread is better when made with overripe bananas since they have a much more concentrated flavor. Likewise, overripe peaches, plums and apricots are perfect for baking or making jam. For cocktail time, make happy hour even sweeter by using strawberries that are slightly past their prime in a daiquiri or margarita.

Check out this delicious banana bread recipe with pecans >>

Take a bath

At the end of your long day in the kitchen, take some of those scraps into the bathroom and draw a relaxing, fragrant bath. This is another great use for citrus peels, which lend a pleasant scent to the water. For dry, itchy skin, drop in soothing cucumber peels. After saving all this money on food, you deserve a little pampering!

Check out more foods that double as beauty products >>

Compost

When all else fails and you've made as much stock and pesto as you can handle, compost your scraps and let your garden benefit. You're still keeping it out of the trash and that's something to feel good about.

Learn how to make your own compost bin >>

Watch: How to store food

Today on the Daily Dish, our host shows you the best way to store your leftover food in your refrigerator.

More on budget cooking

5 Tips for grocery savings
5 Ways to make a meal out of what's already in your kitchen
Money-saving meals

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