Welcome to our newest series. In “Friday Favorites,” our team will share a handful of favorite items. These can range from clothes to beauty products to recipes to books and anything in between.

I know what you’re thinking: reuse fruit and vegetables? Eww, gross.

Surprisingly, there are some amazing ways that fruits and vegetables can be utilized and repurposed. After moving to our current duty station and noticing a litter problem, it really made me contemplate how I can contribute less to the landfills and live a more earth-friendly lifestyle, starting with what my family throws away every day. We already recycle religiously, but I felt compelled to find ways to minimize my family’s contribution to the amount of trash we push to the road for pickup each week. So, I began finding different ways of reusing fruits and vegetables instead of just throwing them away. 

In honor of Earth Day this month, I thought I would share with you some of my favorite ways to repurpose different items from the produce drawer. 

All-Purpose Cleaner with Orange Peels

Instead of throwing away the peels when you eat an orange, you can use them to make a non-toxic cleaner. All you need are orange peels, distilled white vinegar, and a mason jar. Fill the jar completely with orange peels and add enough white vinegar to cover them. Then, close the lid tightly. Store in a dark and cool place for between two and four weeks. Lastly, strain the liquid into a spray bottle removing the orange peels, and you’ll have a homemade cleaner. This mixture is a non-toxic cleaner and a degreaser.

Banana Peel Fertilizer

I first heard of this amazing hack from my mother-in-law. She visited a local farm and learned that soaking a banana peel in water overnight and adding to your garden would fertilize it. And it’s simple! You will need a large plastic container with a lid, water, and a banana peel.

We eat many bananas in my household, so I began giving this fertilizer a try. My garden sprouted in no time. Evidently, the nutrients from the banana peel are just what plants need to thrive. In addition, you can throw the banana peel into a compost bin once you have made and utilized the fertilizer concoction.

vegetable and herb scraps in a bowl

Homemade Vegetable Broth from Scraps

We all cut up vegetables several times a week, but did you know some of those scraps would be perfect for boiling to make your own vegetable broth? This is perfect when you want to make vegetable soup. Making your own vegetable broth using the scraps from cutting up vegetables and herbs is a great way to be more earth conscious and to reuse what you already have available.

Grow More Vegetables!

Did you know there are certain vegetables that can be born again? Usually, all it takes is a bowl of water, some sunlight, and time for celery, bok choy, romaine lettuce, pineapple, carrots, garlic sprouts, and cabbage to grow again. Other vegetables (potatoes, mushrooms, and ginger) will regrow by planting them again. You need to process the seeds of vegetables like pumpkins, tomatoes, and peppers in order to regrow them, but you can also try this on your own. Herbs such as basil, cilantro, mint, and lemongrass can be rooted again to help them grow.

Who knew our food scraps could have more than one life?

herbs and vegetables in a flower bed
compost, waste, and recycle bins

Create Your Own Compost

After you have tried all of the above things, what more can you do with your fruit and vegetable scraps? You can start a compost bin.

Companies like Subpod make it easy for beginner composters to learn the art of this earth friendly way of eliminating waste. What’s more, you can eventually use the soil to fill up containers or raised beds to continue planting flowers, herbs, and vegetables. 

 

I encourage you and others to take your own steps in going green and doing your part to clean up your communities. You can also join me this Earth Day in a Global Park Clean-Up on April 22, 2021. Follow the link for all the details!

 

Global Park Cleanup poster
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Wendi Iacobello is a graduate of Appalachian State University with a Master of Arts in Educational Media. She also has a BS degree in Early Childhood Education. Her professional career in education spans across ten years in the public education sector to include; middle and high school special education, adult education for incarcerated men, women, & youth, compensatory education, High School Equivalency instruction formerly known as GED, community college instruction in Early Childhood Education curriculum courses, and most recently as an Instructional Design Assistant for a virtual school for at-risk high school students. Wendi has been an Army Spouse since 2015 and became a first time mom in the fall of 2019. In addition to chasing around her energetic toddler daily, she is a blogger, freelance writer, brand ambassador, and instructional design assistant. Wendi became a published author in 2020 and has been published in multiple military affiliated websites and magazines. Her hobbies include; volunteering in the local community, gardening, baking, and encouraging the military community through her blog Strength 4 Spouses.

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