From trash to treasure: Turn discount produce into a tasty treat

From trash to treasure: Turn discount produce into a tasty treat

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Food waste is a major problem in the United States: 30 to 40 percent of food supply in the country gets tossed in the trash.

To counter this, more people are making it their mission to turn would-be trash into edible treasure.

Abby Steele prides herself on running a sustainable kitchen.

"It does drive me crazy when I see people throwing away food," Steele said.

If she buys it, she eats it—even food items some might consider scraps.

Most fruit leaves and veggies can make it into smoothies, but Steele also uses things like carrot tops to spruce up her pesto.

And when avocados get past their prime? She blends them with chocolate to make a mousse.

Nutritionist Rebecca Scritchfield said that's not all you can do with the nutrient-packed produced.

"When you have avocado and it's about to go bad or there's brown spots in it, you can actually take the avocado and use it in recipes, even your brownies," she said. "You won't notice the color difference there."

Don't throw away those kiwi rinds either—those make a great meat tenderizer.

"So, I'm just cutting the kiwi fruit in half here and I'm going to scoop out the inside," Scritchfield said "You would take it and rub it on chicken or beef, and that's going to help make it more palatable."

There are numerous uses for coffee grounds: they can fertilize plants, absorb food odors in the fridge, and when mixed with coconut oil, they make for a fantastic facial scrub.

"I'm getting more creative with the products that I'm using on my skin," Steele said.

Wasting food is undoubtedly an environmental issue, but it can also hit your wallet.

"We have more food in landfills than plastic or paper and that contributes, um, to global warming," Scritchfield said.

The average family of four wastes an estimated $1,500 worth of food each year.

Steele said sustainability makes sense all the way around.

"I'm saving money, and I'm making my food healthier, and I'm having more fun," she said.

To reduce food waste, experts said you can first use what you have on hand. Plan before shopping, and only buy what you need.

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