Tuesday, June 20, 2017


"Don't throw that away" was a mantra at my house growing up.  My folks lived through the great depression (I don't know why they called it great), and this was the mentality most all people had.
I am sure many of your parents and grand parents went through these times as well.
It seems to be where we have all acquired of FRUGAL MINDSETS!

So today we talk about what NOT to throw away and HOW to thoroughly use something up!  I am sure you do many of these things, but some may be new to you.

  • When canning tomatoes or making tomato products - DO NOT throw away those peelings.  Dehydrate them and grind into a power.  I use a coffee grinder to grind thoroughly.  This powder is great added to soups and you can basically make your own tomato sauce or puree.  No need to buy!
  • Do NOT throw away that hard stalky part of asparagus.  Dehydrate and grind.  This adds great flavor to soups and can be added to homemade dry soup mix for a 'cream of' soup.
  • Do NOT throw away the tough stems of broccoli - peel them and cook as usual.  This is my favorite part! *You can also dehydrate the peels and grind.
  • Those big outer leaves of cabbage and broccoli plants can be used as well.  Cut into smaller pieces and dehydrate and grind (do you see a theme going here?)  LOL
  • Brown or spotted bananas - freeze and use for breads or muffins.  I don't even peel.  When thawed I cut the end off of banana and the fruit comes squishing out!
  • Blend up the banana peels with some water and use around your roses - great fertilizer.
  • Stale bread (not moldy) can be dried for croutons, crumbs or dressing cubes.
  • Peels from citrus - ZEST and freeze for future recipes.  You can also place them in a jar with vinegar to make a lovely cleaner.  Cook on the stove in water for an air freshener.
  • BONES - chicken, turkey, ham, beef, etc.  Place them in water and cook for hours to make stock/broth.  You can even add veggies scraps/peelings for extra flavor.  Can or freeze.
  • You can make stock with the shells from shrimp or any fish heads/carcasses as well.  Fish stock is expensive
  • GREENS from beets, radish, turnips, etc. can be cooked and eaten.  They are so yummy and full of vitamins.  Use carrot tops in salad or mix in smoothies.
  • Cores from pineapples - dehydrate and grind.  Great flavoring for any dessert
  • Watermelon rinds can become pickled or make preserves.
  • REGROW ITEMS - many folks only use the green top of green onion - let it continue to grow or plant the bottom (white part) from the ones you buy.  ***** Place the bottom part of celery bunch in water to root - once rooted - plant.  You can grow your own.  ***** Start the bottom end of Romaine lettuce in water - follow same directions for celery.  *****  Potato with growing eyes can be rooted and grown.  *****Pineapple tops can be rooted and grown - you will never get a FULL size pineapple, but you will get a little one.  *****Bok Choy bottom section can be rooted in water, planted and regenerated.  *****  Leeks can be done this way as well.  *****Ginger can be grown from store bought pieces.  *****Separate the pieces from a head of garlic and plant - you will grow many new heads.
  • MUSHROOM STEMS can be regrown.  I have never tried this , but I going to try.  Supposedly you plant the stem in very rich compost like dirt, so that just the top shows.  IF it regenerates it will be quickly and with abundance. (I understand this can be tricky)
  • Large onions (sandwich onions) - keep the root end and plant with a little dirt over the top.  It will generate several smaller (green onion like) onions.I planted one the other day - we'll see what happens!
  • Coffee grounds, tea grounds/bags, and egg shells are all great for the garden.  Grounds keep away crawly pests, and shells add calcium.   NEXT WEEK I WILL DO A WHOLE POST ON COFFEE GROUNDS, TEA, AND EGG SHELLS!!!!!!!! (it's more than bug control!)
  • Fruit scraps - make jelly.     Corn cobs - make jelly.  YEP that's right!

Save the cobs from about 12 ears of corn (keep and freeze after cutting off corn till you have enough)
Place 12 cobs into a large pot and cover with water (cobs completely covered).  Boil hard for about 30 minutes.  remove cobs and strain liquid.  You need 3 1/2 cups for a batch of jelly.
Pour that 3 1/ Cups into a clean pot, ADD 2 tsp. lemon juice and  package of pectin (dry).  Bring back to a rolling boil and add3 1/2 C sugar.  Bring back to a rolling boil for 1 minute.
Fill jelly jars leaving 1/2" head space.  Cap and water bath for 10 minutes.
Has a honey flavor.

3 1/2 C corn juice
3 1/2 C granulated sugar
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 pack pectin (like Sure Jell)
Makes 5 half pint jars.


Peels/cores from 15-20 apples (leftovers from sauce or canning)
6 C water (for cooking peels/cores)
1 (1 3/4 oz.) box dry pectin
9 C sugar
1-2 drops red food coloring

Cook peels/cores in 6 cups of water for 20-30 minutes.  Strain - add water if needed to obtain 7 CUPS OF LIQUID
Add pectin, stir in, and bring to a rapid boil
Add sugar, stir in, and bring back to a hard rolling boil for 1 minute.  Add food color.
Pour into sterile jars, leaving 1/4" head room.  Water bath for 5 minutes.


  • Keep and cool the water from boiling eggs or veggies (no salt added) - and use to water garden or plants.  It is full of nutrients.
  • All scraps/peelings from veggies are kept to add to stock making
  • Leftover cooked food - add to something else to make a new dish or pot of soup.  Blend up leftover veggies or fruit to add to muffins or bread.  Freeze in ice cube trays.  Blended fruit can be used in popsicles or homemade ice cream.
  • Leftover wine (ha ha) gets frozen in cubes to cool wine at a later date - or add to Sprite for a spritzer
  • Keep all glass jars that food is purchased in to use for leftover storage in the frig. (try to get rid of plastic)
  • Keep old clothes and scraps for quilting - pillows, lap throws, quilts (you don't need to know how to quilt to do patchwork).  Repurpose clothes into NEW clothes.
  • Keep any grocery bags you get to use in trash cans
  • Newspaper can be used for weed guard, cat litter, animal cages, and even shredded - some can be added to compost
  • Old t-shirts - cut into rags, hankies, sweat bands, blankets, etc.
  • Old bed pillows - I keep old pillows, till I have enough stuffing to make a new bed pillow or throw pillow

I could go on and on and on!!!!!!!!!!  I guess it was pounded into my head as a child - WASTE NOT WANT NOT!  I still feel that way.  I see absolutely no reason to throw something away that can be used in a new way.  We worked hard for our money - and I sure don't want to just throw it away.

When I have exhausted all safe and healthy remakes - it goes into the compost pile to make NEW soil!  It doesn't get any better than that.

WHAT DO YOU NOT THROW AWAY?  What are your favorite re-uses of items?
I hope to get some new ideas from you guys!

Have a blessed and frugal day,


  1. What great tips! I have never made jelly from corn cobs or apple peels.
    I am trying to see if I can regrow lettuce.
    My Daddy was the most frugal person I know. He didn't go out and buy something, but he would see if he could repurpose something he already had. He could fix most anything. He would get the last bit of toothpaste or whatever, by cutting the tube open. Add water to get the last bit of detergent or shampoo. Attach the sliver of soap to a new bar so it wasn't wasted.

    1. Kathy I think I would have loved your daddy! I do so many of those things myself. Why waste it? Love his mentality!

      When I have regrown lettuce - I have always made a very thin cut on the base - cutting a very thin layer off and giving it a clean fresh bottom. It rooted easily.
      Good luck!

  2. Your recipes sound delicious Cheryl- I can wait to try them both!
    I want to dry my tomato skins as well. Thanks!

    1. Vickie you won't be disappointed with the tomato skins. I love having that around for flavoring.

  3. When I first began dating my husband, he was impressed that I brought him some rags from clothing... and one day I found in the dumpster some kitchen cabinet handles just like the ones on his cabinets, so I gave them to him. He was so impressed that I thought along the same lines as he did! Funny! I'm always eyeing the alley ways to see if someone has discarded some sort of item I can use. I have a couple pieces of furniture I now use that had been sitting beside a dumpster. Yeah, I'm a dumpster diving diva.

    1. Joy - you go girl!!!!!
      I have taken several curbside things myself! I have a small Rubbermaid child's picnic table I found in the alley. It's perfect and I checked the price and it was over $100. I use it as my "kitchen garden" outside the back door! I have found many pieces I use in the gardens.

      You are so smart to re-use those things. It sounds like your THEN boyfriend found his soul mate!
      If you live near a college campus check then out at semester end. Tons of good stuff!
      Keep diving!!!!

  4. I love the idea of combining pillows, I have many old squished feather pillows that with a good solid covering so the feathers don't poke through, will make a lovely cushion. I am so glad I didn't toss them, tonight they will get a sunshine airing, combine them into one casing, and then dryer fluff them. So excited to try this! I once had an old feather stuffed living room chair, I am so sorry I got rid of it when I moved, had I only realized, it would be a favorite knitting chair for me now.

    1. Ellen I am glad that tip will help you. I put pillows through the dryer a lot to fluff (and get rid of dust/skin) - but they do get to a point that nothing helps - thus combining.

      Oh my, that sounds like it would have been a heavenly comfy chair.
      Have a good one!