Working with 'waste': Carleigh Bodrug and her scrappy cooking ideas

This Environment Day, a look at some scrappy cooking ideas to lessen kitchen waste


As the world (with a little nudge from the wondrous invention called the internet) grows increasingly aware of the current climate crisis, the responsibility has fallen on everyone's shoulder to do their part in healing the ailing planet. Carleigh Bodrug, through her Instagram (@plantyou) account, has become quite a celebrity with her innovative ways to help reduce kitchen waste.

This Environment Day, let's take a look at some of her scrappy cooking ideas to lessen kitchen waste.

    Onion peel powder

  • Collect onion peels, discard the unsalvageable ones.

  • Wash the peels.

  • Soak it in water for 30 minutes.

  • Drain and rinse.

  • Pat dry with a clean cloth.

  • On a dehydrator sheet or parchment paper lined baking sheet set it out in the sun for 24 hours or in the oven at the lowest setting for 3 hours.

  • Grind the dehydrated peels into a powder.


Onion peel powder, like garlic powder and dried herbs, enhances flavour.

    Homemade apple cider vinegar

  • Add the leftover apple scraps into a clean glass jar.

  • Add warm water and sugar.

  • Cover the top with a cloth and secure it.

  • Put it away in the pantry for two weeks.

  • Strain the scraps.

  • Allow the liquid to ferment for another two weeks.


Can be used in salad dressing, as a marinade or a substitute for white vinegar.

    Corn cob broth

  • Place the cobs in a vessel.

  • Add poultry seasoning/Italian seasoning, bay leaf, garlic, onion skins and black pepper.

  • Set it to boil.


Can be used like vegetable stock.

    Candied orange peels

(4:2 ratio – 4 oranges to 2 cups of sugar)

  • Peel the oranges and freeze.

  • Slice the orange peels into thin strips.

  • Bring water to boil, and allow the orange peels to simmer for approximately 15 minutes.

  • Drain and rinse with cold water.

  • In the same pot, bring equal parts water and sugar to a boil to make a simple syrup.

  • Whisk until combined.

  • Add the orange peels back in, and set the heat low. Simmer for approximately 30 minutes, until the orange peels candies.

  • Transfer to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, and allow to cool for 4 hours. It lasts for a month.

    Ginger ice cubes

  • Peel the ginger and juice the lemon.

  • Add both, and water, to the blender.

  • Blend it at a high speed until the ginger gets pureed.

  • Pour into an ice cube tray and wait till it freezes.

    Fruit leather

  • Preheat the oven to 79.4 °C.

  • Line a baking pan with a silicone sheet or baking parchment. (note: when using a parchment, make sure it is laid flat on the baking sheet)

  • Blend the berries with chia and maple syrup. Using a spatula, spread the mixture in the baking sheet as evenly as possible.

  • The layer must be thick enough to bind together, but at the same time thin enough to dehydrate properly.

  • The leather tends to shrink once water is removed. Leave this in the oven for two and a half hours, before turning it and let it dehydrate for a couple more hours.

  • When the fruit leather easily slips off, it is ready.

A dehydrator can be used instead as well; simply leave it in for 8-12 hours depending on the water content. 

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