Chefs Share Easy Ways to Cut Food Waste in Your Kitchen

Top chefs offer their favorite tips for using everything in the kitchen.
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mason jar of picked vegetables

All Dried Up

“If you have fruit or vegetables that are about to go bad and you can’t use them right away, try dehydrating them in the oven,” says Marco Canora, chef-owner of Hearth in New York City. Thinly slice your produce, arrange it on parchment paper-lined baking sheets, and bake at 200° until the produce is dry. Add the dried fruit or vegetables to your favorite granola. 

Related Recipe: Try these breakfast muffins made with carrots, tomatoes, and dried pineapple

Soup's On

Don’t toss those cheese rinds! “Hard-cheese rinds, like pecorino, are a great addition to sauces and make an awesome broth,” says Jamie Bissonnette, chef-partner of Coppa in Boston; Little Donkey in Cambridge, MA; and Toro in Boston, NYC, and Bangkok, Thailand. Pack rinds in resealable plastic freezer bags in the freezer until you’re ready to use them.

Related Recipe: Save that Parmigiano-Reggiano rind to make our Chicken & Escarole Soup 

Butter Up

The same goes for shrimp shells! Sauté raw shells in butter until golden, grind them in a food processor, and blend with more butter. Then scrape the butter through a sieve to remove any solids. “The result is an incredible toasty butter that can be used for a variety of things like pasta, risotto, or polenta, as well as shrimp or lobster,” says Fabio Trabocchi, chef-owner of Del Mar, Fiola, Fiola Mare, Casa Luca, and Sfoglina in Washington, D.C.

Related Recipe: Try Angie Mar's Bone-In Rib Eye with Blackberries, Garlic & Prawn Butter

In a Pickle

“If you learn to quick-pickle, then you’ll never waste anything again,” says Amanda Cohen, chef-owner of Dirt Candy in NYC. “You can pickle almost any leftover vegetable.” Steam up to four cups of your chosen veggies. In a pot, boil a cup plus two tablespoons of white vinegar with one tablespoon of sugar and four teaspoons of salt over high heat until the sugar and salt dissolve. Pour the liquid over the veggies until they’re covered and let cool to room temp. “Use your pickles for pops of flavor in salads or soups,” says Cohen. “Pickled radish does amazing things to a martini.”

Related Recipe: Try our Pickled Red Onions with Fresh Herbs