At Your Disposal: How to Use Up Kitchen Waste

Chefs tell Food Network Magazine how they use perfectly good ingredients that the rest of us throw away.

Used Coffee Grounds
At Atlanta's Floataway Cafe pastry chef Jonathan Kallini turns spent coffee grounds into granitas.

DIY: Steep 1/2 cup grounds in 2 cups boiling water, covered, 8 minutes; strain through a coffee filter. Whisk in 1/4 cup sugar and a pinch of salt. Pour into a metal baking dish and freeze; scrape with a fork.

Parmesan Rinds

Real parmigiano-reggiano is pricey, but San Antonio chef Clark McDaniel from Paesanos 1604 makes the most of each block by tossing their rinds into soup. "It gives vegetarian soups a deep, nutty flavor without using chicken or beef broth," he says.

DIY: Add a parmesan rind to tomato or vegetable soup as it simmers. If you're pureeing the soup, remove the rind before you blend.

Corn Silk
Elote Cafe in Sedona, AZ goes through 200 ears of corn each night, and chef Jeff Smedstad collects all of the string silk to make a soothing tea for his staff. "It helps relieve stiff joints," he says.

DIY: Steep 2/3 cup silk (from about 4 ears corn) in 2 cups simmering water for 10 minutes; strain.

Apple Cores

The bar at Camino in Oakland, CA is stocked with flavored brandies that chef Russell Moore makes himself - using apple and pear cores from the kitchen. "They add sweetness to the brandy without any extra sugar," he says.

DIY: Put 5 or 6 cores in a jar and add 2 cups brandy or vodka; cover and infuse for at least 2 weeks. Strain and use the infused liquor in cocktails, or serve straight up as a digestif.

Celery Leaves
Chefs know the best part of celery is the part that's usually thrown away: the tender light green leaves in the stalk's center. At Bluestem Restaurant in Kansas City, MO chef Colby Garrelts tosses them into salads. "They really are one of the most underused ingredients," he says.

DIY: Toss celery leaves into a green salad and dress with olive oil and lemon juice; season with salt and pepper. Serve on top of fish or as a side salad.