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Reusing Food Scraps

This week’s STEM challenge is playing around with food! Would you normally throw out carrot peelings or the bottom of the head of celery? You don’t have to! We’re going to challenge you to use fruits and vegetables that you would normally just throw away. Not only is this good for your family (it doesn’t cost you extra money), it’s also good for the planet (less food waste!).

You have two options with this food:

  1. Regrow: use part of the food to grow more food (or at least an interesting plant).
  2. Use up: find a recipe to use up a part of the food you’d usually throw away.

Here is more information about those options.

Regrowing Food (Kitchen Scrap Gardening)

My kids are always wanting to plant the seeds they find in tomatoes or peppers, and it turns out they were on to something! There are many foods you can regrow from kitchen scraps.  What’s so cool about this is it doesn’t cost you any money.

Here are some great foods you can regrow using pieces or seeds from your original:

  • Celery
  • Romaine
  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Potatoes
  • Green onions
  • Basil

Want some instructions? Here is a great website with more ideas and instructions for each of the ones I just listed:  I can’t wait to try the celery one!

Using Up Food (Kitchen Scrap Cooking) 

It may seem like a weird idea to cook with carrot peelings or watermelon rinds.  But four students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison knew that people could actually cook with these things, not just throw them away! Will, Astrid, Hannah, and Halie created an online, free cookbook (cookbook here) to help people make yummy parsley stem smoothies or baked potato peel chips.

Here are a few of the recipes that looked very easy and delicious to me!

Overripe Banana Ice Cream 


  • Overripe Bananas
  • Cocoa Powder

Directions 1. Slice the bananas and freeze. 2. Blend the frozen bananas until they reach ice cream-like consistency. 3. Add cocoa powder.

Baked Parsnip and Carrot Peel Chips


  • Carrot peelings
  • Parsnip peelings (optional)
  • Olive Oil
  • Spices of choice

Directions 1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees 2. Coat peelings with olive oil and desired spices 3. Place on a lined baking sheet in a single layer 4. Bake for 8-10 minutes until browned and crispy.

Let us know if you try to regrow or use up any food in your house.  We’d love to see pictures of what the results were!  You can post your results on the Facebook post about this challenge.

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