Kitchen Life: Thrifty Kitchen Tips for a No Waste Kitchen
In the latest video in my Kitchen Life series, I share 5 Thrifty Kitchen Tips and Cooking Tips for creating a No Waste Kitchen, including Depression Era Cooking suggestions and tips for starting a Victory Garden.
The No Waste Kitchen
My mom lived through the Great Depression of the 1930s as well as World War II. Surviving those difficult times when food shortages and rationing were common took a lot of creativity in the kitchen. But most importantly, my mom learned never to waste anything. Food was very precious…every little scrap of it!
Over the years, as I was growing up and my mom was teaching me how to cook, she also passed on all her Kitchen Tips for creating what is commonly called today a “No Waste” kitchen. My mom simply called it stretching her food dollar to get the most out of her food budget.
In this post, I want to share just a few of the tips that my mom has taught me over the years. I look forward to sharing more tips with you in the future, as well as learning about your best thrifty kitchen tips too!
Thrifty Tip #1: Roast Chicken Bone Broth
It’s amazing how you can make an excellent bone broth from nothing more than scraps. Next time you roast a chicken and have picked off every usable piece of meat, don’t throw away the bones!
Use the bones to make Roast Chicken Bone Broth along with any vegetable scraps that you have. You will make a rich broth that will be perfect to use as a base for soups and stews or in place of water when cooking rice or grains. Or you can simply enjoy the warmed broth as a delightfully rich and nutritious beverage in place of coffee or tea.
Get started making chicken bone broth by first learning how to make a simple roast chicken:
Thrifty Tip #2: Cooking With Scraps
When it comes to scraps, you would be surprised at how you can often make a complete meal out of the ingredients you might have otherwise thrown away! When you peel carrots, save the shavings. Down to the root of celery? Save it. Just peeled some onions? Save the skins! Put all these treasures in the fridge or freezer and use them when you make bone broth. The vegetable scraps will add a wide variety of nutrient-rich minerals and antioxidants to your broth.
In addition to using these various vegetable scraps when you make bone broth, you can also make a variety of dishes with all sorts of scraps. Be sure to check out the cookbooks in my Recommended Readings section, as well as my Cooking with Scraps series of videos below:
Thrifty Tip #3: Save Used Coffee Grounds
If you are a coffee drinker—like everyone in my family—don’t throw out those used coffee grounds! The grounds are great for adding to your garden beds. Just throw them into the dirt and mix them up a bit. You’ve made a free and beneficial fertilizer!
Coffee grounds add organic material to your soil, which helps to reduce the density of your soil and promote good drainage. Used coffee grounds also help with water retention, something especially important in hot and dry climates, like we have around summertime in Central Texas. And…as I recently learned, coffee grounds help feed microorganisms that benefit our plants, and they attract earthworms. Can you believe coffee grounds do all this? And we may have otherwise just thrown them in our trash!
So thanks to coffee grounds, your kitchen Victory garden will provide you a bounty of vegetables, fruits, and herbs. To learn more about Victory Gardens, check out The New Victory Garden book in my Recommended Readings section and be sure to watch today’s Thrifty Kitchen Kitchen Tips video.
Thrifty Tip #4: Don’t Discard Your Eggshells
If you eat eggs and find yourself with lots of leftover eggshells, don’t throw them out! Like coffee grounds, eggshells can provide a lot of nutrition for your garden. Just crumble up your eggshells, and add them to your soil for a calcium boost, especially your calcium-loving tomatoes!
To make a calcium-rich liquid fertilizer, you can simply mix crushed eggshells with water. This fertilizer is especially helpful if you find that your soil is very acidic, but your vegetables prefer a less acidic environment. This “calcium water” will help raise the pH of your soil making for happy tomatoes and other garden vegetables and fruits, including apples, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cherries, citrus, melons, grapes, lettuce, peaches, pears, peppers, potatoes, and more!
Eggshells extend their benefits beyond just your garden. Because of their calcium content, eggshells are a wonderful addition to your stock pot when making bone broth. Although the process of making bone broth leeches some calcium from the bones, the amount of calcium is a lot less than folks realize.
The bones’ main role in a bone broth is to provide collagen, which is what makes our bone broths gelatinous. A rich and gelatinous bone broth soothes our stomachs and joints and nourishes our skin, hair, and nails. Adding eggshells provides an extra mineral boost by improving the calcium of our bone broth. And to think these wondrous shells may have just gone into the trash!
Thrifty Tip #5: The Magic Of Onion Skins
Most of us have discovered that onions are good for us, but would you believe that onion skins are too? It’s true! Onion skins are a rich source of flavonoids, particularly quercetin, which is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. And the skins are also very rich in fiber.
So next time you peel an onion, don’t throw out those skins. Save them in your fridge or freezer, and when you have saved a few cup fulls, make onion broth.
When the broth is ready, don’t discard the spent skins. Instead, puree them to thicken your broth, and make a delicious onion soup! You’ve created a delicious and free meal made with onion skins that otherwise would have been tossed into the trash!
You can use your onion broth for more than just making a broth or a soup. You can use your onion broth in place of water when cooking rice or grains for added flavor and nutrition. The flavor and nutritional benefits of onion skins can liven up meals and give you and your family variety, especially when your food budget might have been stretched to the limit and your groceries are running low—or you just can’t get to the grocery store.
And of course…those onion skins can always be added to bone broth. But I think you know by now that in my kitchen…all roads lead to bone broth! 😉 Here’s a recipe for bone broth that uses onions with the peels left on.
- Stovetop: How To Make Stovetop Beef Bone Broth
And How About Your Ideas?
I would love to hear from all of you on this subject. Please share some of your favorite Thrifty Kitchen Tips and Cooking Tips for a No Waste Kitchen. We can always learn from each other how to make the most of the food we have and how to stretch our grocery budgets to get the maximum amount from our food dollars. Whether it’s a depression, war, recession, job loss, epidemic…or even a pandemic, I am a firm believer that Victory over all of these can often start right in our own Kitchens!
As you go forward in returning to—or transitioning to—a Traditional Foods Kitchen, be sure to watch my Mastering the Basics of Traditional Foods playlist below where I walk you through all the basics of nutrient-dense foods cooking from bone broth, cultured dairy, ferments, sourdough starter and sourdough bread, soaking and sprouting grains, beans, nuts, and seeds, and making sprouted flour at home.
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I look forward to having you join me in my Texas Hill Country Kitchen!Love,
Shop for items used in this blog post or video
Favorite Bone Broth Making Supplies
- 8-Quart Duo Plus 9-in-1 Instant Pot
- 6-Quart Duo Plus 9-in-1 Instant Pot
- 8-Quart Slow-Cooker
- 10-Quart Slow-Cooker
- Fat Separator (Learn about this useful device.)
- Stainless Steel Strainer
- Flour Sack Towels
- Two Cup Glass Storage Jars with Lids
- One Cup Glass Storage Jars with Lids
Heidi’s Etsy Shop
- Pretty in Pink Ruffled Floral Apron, one of the unique items from Heidi at Rain Country Homestead on Etsy
Heidi makes beautiful aprons that make you feel like a real pioneer woman. They are generous in fabric, and every stitch shows the love that she puts into every apron. I’m thrilled to own three. So be sure to visit Heidi’s Etsy shop to view her lovely collection of handcrafted items, including lovely aprons, lady’s frontier skirts, and more. She takes special orders too!
Here are links to the other YouTube channels that I mention in my video:
- Eassyons Family Garden where Rob and his family take you along on their suburban gardening adventures sharing what works – and what doesn’t – in a backyard garden.
- This and That with Denise, where Denise Jordan teaches young homemakers all the ins and outs of traditional homekeeping, including some great tips on making effective hand sanitizer and household cleaners.
Amazon Shop and Shopping Guide
- Visit Mary’s Nest Amazon Shop
- Visit my Shopping Guide page
Learn where I buy my Beef Bones, Wild-Caught Fish, Sprouted Grains, and more…and learn about Special Discounts for Mary’s Nest visitors, including from US Wellness Meats, Vital Choice, Masontops, and Breadsmart.
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