by Barb Moody

Instead of throwing away little bits of leftover food or vegetable trimmings, start drying them. You’ll be amazed at the amount of useable food you can salvage. We often use the top tray of our dryer for little tidbits saved here and there.

Leftover pieces of cooked meat, fish or poultry can be dried and saved. Be sure to strip any excess fat before drying or, dry fattier meats such as pork or bacon on a paper towel. Dried meats should be refrigerated or stored in a very cool place. Add dried meats to casseroles, soups, stews, or just use for snacking.

Dry leftover cooked or raw vegetables. Start a soup jar. A spoonful of peas, a few pieces of carrots, a couple of uneaten beans...all can be saved and dried, storing them in one jar. The next time you make a soup or stew, add your dried tidbits.

Vegetable trimmings can be dried and used to flavor soup broths. Even corn silk can be dried and saved. Not only does it make a tasty tea beneficial to kidney function, but it adds a wonderful flavor to soups. To use dried trimmings, tie them in a piece of nylon organdy, a cooking bag, or a laundered panty hose foot. Simmer in water. The broth will make a great basis for soups or stews.

Dry leftover casseroles. We dried a spaghetti caasserole intending to use it at a later date on an overnight climb. However, the dried spaghetti was so tasty just eaten out-of-hand that we ended up snacking it away before we could take it on our trip. Remember, any food with dried meats, cheese, or oil should be refrigerated.

Experiment with throw-aways. Dry that last piece of bread, or save that uneaten slice of cake. Cakes and sweet bread make tasty cookie-like munchies when dried. You’ll discover a whole new aspect of creative cooking and will have fun while saving money. To find out how dried apple peelings and cores can find a useful purpose, refer to the article on pomanders elsewhere on the site.