Food Storage & Leftovers

You can re-grow vegetables from scraps.  See the following articles.

Here’s an article on re-growing vegetables at home in a week:
Or vegetables that re-grow with care (simple, average, and difficult):
And easily growing garlic scapes indoors:

f you are not able to use foods before they go bad, freeze them  If the food has already gone bad, there’s always the compost pile.
3 Ways to Compost – Food52

Stock water – If you are blanching vegetables/bell peppers/etc., save the water for cooking rice or noodles.  You can refrigerate it if you’ll be using it in a couple days, or freeze it for later use.  Note:  If blanching a bitter vegetable like broccoli rabe or collard greens (or a meat like Italian sausages), use the water in your garden or flower bed.  You can also use your pasta water in the garden-don’t throw it down the drain. 

I generally freeze stock and other liquids in pre-measured 1 cup Ice Cube Trayincrements so I can use them later in recipes.  I like to use square shaped containers to maximize the space used in the freezer.  Round containers take up more room to freeze less quantity. 

Once frozen, I pop them out of the container and put them in a ziptop bag.  Be sure you label the type of stock that’s in the bag:  beef, chicken, vegetable, bell pepper.

Bell Pepper ZiptopBell Pepper – slice into strips, place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper or parchment and freeze.  Once frozen, put in a plastic ziptop bag, label, and store in freezer.  Use pieces as seasoning, in stir fry, or fajitas.Bell Pepper - all

Bread – bread keeps well in the freezer until you are ready to use it.  In our house no one eats the ends, so I dry them in the oven at 250 degrees.  Once the bread is dry (but before it toasts and turns brown) crumble it with a rolling pin and store in a plastic ziptop bag in the freezer.  Use the breadcrumbs in meatloaf, as fried chicken coating, or any other normal use.  If you want to make croutons, cut the bread into cubes drizzle with olive oil and season before drying.

Buttermilk – measure out 1 cup.  Freeze in a plastic container then pop out like an ice cube and store in a plastic ziptop bag with a label in the freezer.  For smaller amounts, use an ice cube tray.  Use later in breads or biscuits.

Celery – slice and freeze in an ice cube tray.  Add enough water to cover the pieces.  When frozen, pop the cubes out, label, and store in a plastic ziptop bag in the freezer.  Celery is mostly water, so use as soon as possible.  Add celery leafy tops to salads.  You can also re-grow the celery using the bottom of the stalk.

Cheese – there is a French recipe, fromage forte, that uses leftover bits of different cheeses to make a cheese spread.  It’s great on crostini, or just with crackers or crudité.

Coffee Grounds recycle those coffee (or tea) grounds into your garden.

Cookie Dough – when you make cookie dough that makes 2 dozen cookies or more, freeze the dough in rolls that make 1 dozen cookies.
For example:  your cookie dough makes 36 cookies.  Divide the dough into thirds.  Roll each piece of dough into a log.  Set one aside to bake now, and wrap the other two in wax paper and then plastic wrap.  Label and freeze.
If you want to make them even more oven-ready (like chocolate chip cookies), take your log of dough and divide into 12 pieces.  Roll each piece into a ball and flatten slightly.  Place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and freeze.  Once frozen, place the cookie rounds into a plastic ziptop bag and store in the freezer ready for baking.

Children's Discovery Museum -photo by SongScouting

Children’s Discovery Museum -photo by SongScouting

Corn – save the corn husks to make corn husk dolls, or use them to wrap tamales.  Use the corn cob to make a pipe (be sure you treat it), add it to your vegetable stock with the ends and peels of other vegetables, compost it, or burn it in your fireplace or wood stove as fuel.
If you keep (barnyard) animals, crush it as a fiber additive in their feed.  Check with your vet first

Crackers  – broken or crushed crackers can be used as bread coating for fried foods.  Store in the freezer if you don’t have enough to use.  Keep one container for regular crackers, one for cheese crackers, and one for potato chip crumbs.  Be careful of mixing lots of different flavors together in one storage container – you may end up with a terrible tasting concoction.

Crushed Pineapple or Canned Fruit – store in an ice cube tray and freeze.  Once frozen, pop the cubes out, label, and store in a plastic ziptop bag in the freezer.
Use a cube or two of crushed pineapple to top your ice cream or in a homemade milk shake.
Crushed pineapple also makes a nice cake filling between layers – just sprinkle it over the icing or whipped topping in the middle layer.
Note:  pineapple will seep through a plastic container and make the outside sticky.  If storing in the refrigerator, use a glass jar.  Never put a glass jar in the freezer – it may expand and explode.

Flour – store in an airtight container.  Grandmother’s Tip: place a bay leaf in the flour to keep out bugs.
Storing Flour. 

Green onion – cut in pieces and freeze in an ice cube tray.  Add enough water to cover the pieces.  When frozen, pop the cubes out, label, and store in a plastic ziptop bag in the freezer.  Or use the bottoms to re-grow the onions:


Maraschino Cherry Juice – save in the refrigerator and use small amounts as ice cream topping, milk shake flavoring, or as a grenadine substitute in club soda.

Mushrooms – fresh mushrooms don’t keep.  If you put them in a brown paper bag right away and keep them in the refrigerator, they will keep almost a week.  Otherwise freeze them by slicing, place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper or parchment and freeze.  see Bell Pepper photo  Once frozen, put in a plastic ziptop bag, label, and store in freezer.  Use in green salads, tomato sauce, soups, or other dishes. 

Sugar, granulated – Grandmother’s Tip:  place a saltine cracker in the sugar to prevent clumps. 

Sugar, brown – Grandmother’s Tip:  soak a small piece of unglazed terra cotta in water.  Place it in the brown sugar to prevent the sugar from drying out.


Chili sauce, pizza sauce, pear puree

Tomato Sauce or Spaghetti Sauce – for a small amount, freeze in an ice cube tray.  For medium amounts, put individual size servings into a snack size plastic ziptop bag, lay on a baking sheet, and freeze.  Once frozen, store several in a larger plastic ziptop bag with a label. Use one for an individual serving of pasta or pizza.  see Recipes
For larger amounts, freeze in a container as usual.

Vegetable Ends and Peels – collect for a day or two and use to make a vegetable stock.  If you keep them more than a couple days, they dry out.  You can put them in a glass jar of water in the refrigerator to keep a little longer.  Some vegetables can be re-grown from the ends.  See the articles at the top of this page.

Wine – use leftover wine to add to stew, cook pasta, make fondue, risotto, or polenta.
Note:  it is NOT TRUE that cooking wine removes the alcohol.  Roughly 40-60% of the alcohol remains after 2 hours.  Cooking all day may reduce the alcohol to about 10%.


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