From Trash to Treasure

Alright, this may sound totally out in left field to most of you. Have you ever considered all of the stuff that you throw away might actually be worth something? What if I told you it was actually useful? Don't give me that look, it really is!!! Let me give you a few examples.

Corn Cob Jelly
Corn cobs. Yes, I said corn cobs. They have a wonderful taste trapped inside there! You even have a few different options you can use them for. My absolute favorite is corn cob jelly. Remove the corn from a dozen ears of corn. Take the corn cobs and add 6 cups of water. Simmer. Take 3 cups of liquid (add water if you need to), add 3c sugar, and pectin to make a jelly that tastes like honey.

If you don't like the sweets so much those corn cobs can also be used to flavor veggie stock or even corn broth to make the most fabulous soups without all of the chemicals and preservatives that come in the commercially canned varieties. Oh, and that water you boiled your corn on the cob in? Yup, you can use that too! If you don't have the use for the broth at least use it to water your plants with. You all know that nutrients are lost to the water that food is boiled in, why not reclaim them instead of sending them down the drain?

Once you are done with the cobs dry them out, run them through the shredder and make them into mulch so you can water the garden less often and reduce the need to weed.

Watermelon rinds make the most excellent pickles! Here's how: Once all of the watermelon is cut from the rinds, take the rind and cut ALL of the green stuff off.  You want the white part, it will take on the flavor of whatever brine you make.  Some people prefer to use the dill pickle recipe of brine, but the Blue Book of Preserving by Ball has a great recipe for watermelon rind pickles in there.

Peels, cores, and pits of apples, peaches, and pears? Yes, just add water and boil them to draw out the flavor to make juice from what you were going to throw away. Yup, that juice can even be made into super yummy jelly!!!

Citrus peels can be used to make recipes tastier.  Usually this is called zest in most cooking.  This is basically grating the colored part of the peel, do NOT use the white part.  It is pith and makes things taste bitter.  They can also be candied or dried and powdered for future use.  I would like to try some of my powdered fruit to see if I can make a naturally flavored koolaid and jello like foods.   Another use is to peel the color off with a veggie peeler and put two whole peels in 1/2 cup vodka with 1/4 cup water for 6-8 weeks to have the flavor extracted from the peel.  So, if you use lemons it will be lemon extract.

 The pulp and seeds from your juicer can be used too!  Lay them out in a thin layer in your dehydrator on fruit roll trays or oven set to the lowest setting on a cookie sheet and dry them until brittle. Then run it through your blender, food processor, or coffee grinder to make it into powder.  This will add nutrition and flavor to your meals without wasting a thing. It also can act as a great thickener in soups and sauces that are just too runny.

That t-shirt with the stains down the front, holes under the arm pits, or a frayed collar? Here are some things I have made from old t-shirts depending on the reason for the trash heap. Those with bad sleeves can be made into adorable vests.  The ones with frayed collars make adorable shrugs.  You can also make any jersey knit t-shirt into anything you like without having to sew a stitch because they don't fray, though they would look adorable with frilly trim sewed on.  I have seen some that were made into tank tops and bags, though anything not a shirt will have to be sewn.  The project I am currently working on is covering stains with home made patches made from jeans that were cut off.  Next, I will attempt to make my kids some of those popular bags that all the kids in town are carrying these days.


Hubby's Scrap Stash
Scrap lumber. Yes, I said it. All of that wood your husband insists on keeping around because there might be a use for it? It's true! My husband made me this planter box almost entirely out of scraps of lumber we had laying around here!
Window Box Made from Scrap

Thank you for stopping by to chat with me. Please leave me a message, I'd love to hear your thoughts! Cindy

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