It's no secret that Kiwis waste a large amount of perfectly good food - about $1.8 billion per year according to research.

While a lot of the waste comes from not finishing meals or simply not eating food before it goes off, a dig through the scraps could save Kiwis tonnes of edible food every year.

Love Food Hate Waste's Jenny Marshall has picked out the top 10 foods we consider scraps, that can actually be eaten.

Aquafaba (chickpea brine)

The brine that chickpeas are canned in acts as a substitute for egg whites.

Advertisement

"It can make a meringue or a chocolate mousse," Marshall said.

While it doesn't smell the best, adding plenty of chocolate or other flavourings will make it taste fine.

Broccoli stalks

New Zealanders throw out about 282 tonnes of broccoli stalks each year, but there's no need.

The stalks can be cooked up just like the florets, whether it's roasted in the oven as chips, blended into fritters, or prepared some other way.

Chicken carcasses or other bones

Many people will finish off a rotisserie chicken and throw the bones in the bin, but there's a better way to deal with the leftovers.

"Use the bones to make a stock," Marshall said.

People can throw the carcass into a slow cooker with a bit of water and any desired flavourings, and cook it for seven or eight hours to make a stock, which can then be frozen and kept for later.

For those without a slow cooker, boiling the bones in a pot works well too. This can be done with other bones, including what's left after a lamb or pork roast.

Advertisement

"All that flavour will come off the bones."

It doesn't have to be done straight away either. the bones can be thrown into the freezer in the meantime, and act as a ready-made base for a stock or soup.

The green part of a leek

Cooking leeks can feel particularly wasteful when only using the white part of the vegetable and throwing out the majority of the green part.

But the green bit is perfectly edible - it only takes a little longer to cook, Marshall said.

The green bit should be washed more thoroughly, but with just a little extra cooking, it will taste just the same, she said.

Otherwise, "you're kind of potentially wasting half of the vegetable".

Beetroot leaves

Most people buying beetroot at the supermarket will find it has already had the leaves removed, but for those growing their own or buying at a farmers market, the leaves can be cooked and eaten like silverbeet.

Marshall serves it with a little lemon juice or something similar.

"It tastes fabulous."

Fish heads and frames

Fish heads are not for everyone, and many people buy their fish without them.

But many Kiwis are disposing of heads and frames that others would be happy to cook with. There is plenty of meat on them that can still be eaten.

Free Fish Heads allows people to offer up the heads they don't want for people that do want them, instead of letting them go to waste.

Vegetable peels

While there's not usually any need to peel vegetables, given many nutrients are found in and under the skins, for those that do there is a better way to deal with the peels than throwing them out.

Most types of peels can be tossed through some olive oil and salt, and roasted in the oven to make crispy homemade chips.

Kiwis get rid of a whopping 7039 tonnes of potato peels alone each year, Marshall said.

Cauliflower leaves

Like beetroot leaves, cauliflower leaves are unnecessarily thrown out.

They also taste similar to silverbeet when cooked, but there is more than one way to eat them.

Keen cooks can even make pesto out of the leaves.

Parmesan cheese rind

If you take care of your cheese properly, all you should have left over is the rind. But even that doesn't have to go to waste.

Marshall said the rind can be made into a tasty cheese crackling snack.

It's as simple as placing the rinds on an oven tray and baking them until they puff up.

Citrus peels

Uses for citrus peels might be more popular with people who enjoy being a home chef, Marshall said.

Those with the time to do it can use their peels to make marmalade, or they can use them in fruit cake.

Love Food Hate Waste has a recipe for chocolate-dipped candied citrus which can put the peels to good use.

Why bother?

Making an effort to eat what we usually think of as scraps can save Kiwis money, Marshall said.

"It kind of sounds a little bit trivial ... [but] you can get an extra salad, you can get an extra vegetable out of it."

There was often "almost a meal's worth of meat" left on chicken carcasses.

Marshall said the volumes of edible food being thrown out were "quite staggering".

"Yes, you're only one individual person, but if everybody in New Zealand ate their broccoli stalk, that would a huge amount of food not being thrown away."