We've shared stories about the huge amount of food that gets wasted everyday, but it's worth sharing the shocking numbers one more time. As much as half of America's fruit and vegetables are thrown away, and while most of that waste happens in farms, factories and grocery stores, we can all do our part to stop food waste at home. One of the biggest ways Americans are wasting food is the fruit and vegetable "waste" that we carelessly throw out.
It turns out pretty much every part of our fruits and vegetables are edible - and tasty - but we've raised an entire country of picky eaters.
Next time you open up your vegetable crisper, think about this list of 7 produce "scraps" that are really useful.
1. Corn silk
While corn husks and leaves are actually featured in some grilling recipes, the stringy "silk" at the end of your corn is a hidden gem. While it can feel "icky," these fibers are loaded with vitamin K and potassium, which help prevent UTIs and kidney stones.
You don't need to munch on dry corn silk either, steeping it in boiling water makes flavorful corn silk tea.
2. Celery leaves
The first thing we do when we cut up a new stalk of celery is chop the leaves off and throw them into the garbage. What a waste! Think of these leaves as herb, because that's pretty much what they are. They taste just like parsley, so get creative and reuse them in any healthy recipe, including smoothies and salads.
3. Apple peels
Like cutting the crust off of bread, we learn bad habits at a young age that lead us to waste perfectly good food. If you're eating apples for the extra fiber or antioxidants, you should know that those are mostly found in the peel.
The fiber-filled apple core and seeds are safe to eat as well - don't believe any silly rumors about how they'll poison you.
4. Banana strings
Here's another part of a fruit that people avoid mainly because it seems "gross." The leathery strings inside a banana peel are called phloem bundles, and they deliver water and nutrients to the fruit. That's right: all these years you've been throwing away the most nutritious part of the fruit just because it looks a little weird. Now don't you feel silly?
5. Watermelon rind
If you like the crunchier part of the watermelon down near the rind, odds are you'll also enjoy the rind. It's actually the perfect snack for a hot summer day, because it has a satisfying crunch but it's also refreshing.
Plus, the rind of a melon is chock full of citruline, a nutrient that improves circulation and helps lower blood pressure.
6. Broccoli and cauliflower stems
Some grocery stores actually sell versions of these vegetables without the stems attached. It seems almost nobody uses these, so customers think it's a way to "get more for their money." If you really want to start saving, look up some of the delicious recipes - especially for soup - that feature the stems.
Cauliflower leaves can also be recycled: add a little salt and oil and you can roast these for a healthy snack.
7. Citrus peels
We know, we know, nobody wants to just bite into an orange and eat the whole fruit, and we don't expect you too. But it's still true that the ring has most of vitamins and the potassium that we buy these fruits for. Just save your rinds and add them to water for a flavored drink, or mix them into your baked goods.
Share this list with someone you know!