7 Food Scraps You Should Be Saving Instead of Throwing Out

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As we all know, Americans tend to throw out food when it's not necessary. In part, this has to do with society being wasteful when it comes to consumption — though there are organizations across the nation working to supply the hungry with unused food from restaurants and school systems. However, food preservation can be done on a much more micro level as well, even in your very own kitchen.

There are a number of common foods we discard for a variety of reasons. Some foods are no longer considered edible, when often they can still be used in other ways (we're looking at you, blackened bananas). Then, there are the parts of foods that some people don't think to hold onto, when it's actually pretty useful to keep them around for other dish preparations, like chicken bones.

Read more: 4 Healthiest Fast Food Breakfast Hacks for the Busy Commuter

Check out all the foods you probably threw in the trash this week that could have instead been saved to make scrumptious new meals:

The tops of your vegetables

Source: The Washington Post/Getty Images
Source: The Washington Post/Getty Images

Yep, you can actually savor the top of those veggies you cut off and toss out without a second thought — for soups, to sauté with meats and even to use raw in a variety of other meals. You're paying for them, you might as well get your money's worth!

Bacon grease

Source: Tannis Toohey/Getty Images
Source: Tannis Toohey/Getty Images

The simmering pot of liquid left after making deliciously crunchy, perfectly unhealthy bacon can mess up your pipes if you continue to pour it down the drain, and disposing of it in a garbage can leads to sticky messes nobody wants to deal with. Simply pour that grease into a mason jar and store it in the fridge to use the next time you want to turn any meal into a bacon flavored treat. All you have to do is heat it back up on a stove top. 

Chicken bones

Source: Tara Walton/Getty Images
Source: Tara Walton/Getty Images

Something about making your very own deep-flavored, brown chicken stock makes you feel like a savvy little genius living on the prairie. Once you're done with a rotisserie-styled chicken or a roast, simply toss those leftover bones into a ziplock bag after the meal. Once you've gathered enough bones you can make your own stock and it will be glorious. 

Stale bread

Source: The Washington Post/Getty Images
Source: The Washington Post/Getty Images

One word: croutons. Seriously, you'd be surprised how good a substitute crunchy bread mixed with spices makes for the real deal in a homemade salad. 

Blackened bananas

Source: Matthew Mead/AP
Source: Matthew Mead/AP

A personal favorite food hack: In order to turn blackened bananas into delicious goodness, freeze them for a few hours. That's it — in no time you have the perfect ingredient for a smoothie, shake or even banana flavored ice cream. Yes, your banana expiration date was just doubled. Boom. 

Rinds

Source: Tim Graham/Getty Images
Source: Tim Graham/Getty Images

The hardened part of cheese doesn't have to mean a sad chunk of your heart gets sliced into the waste bin every time you leave a block of cheese out a little too long. Ever heard of fromage fort, also known as strong cheese? The tasty spread is a blend of cheeses, as well as wines and herbs: What more could anybody possibly ask for?

Orange peels

Source: Tim Graham/Getty Images
Source: Tim Graham/Getty Images

Many Jamaican and Chinese households leave orange peels out in the kitchen and on window sills, as their cultures have often hailed the fruit's leftovers for having supposed medical health benefits. Not to mention, the small peels make amazing room scents and are much cheaper than harsh aerosol house sprays.