How to Save Money with Fermented Food Scraps

Who isn’t trying to save money on groceries these days? I know I am. And when a post like this comes along, I want to read it. Because if you can save money fermenting food scraps, and reap health benefits at the same time, that’s a win-win in my book.

No Cost Fermented Food Scraps

Waste not, want not.  There’s a lot of energy, nutrition, and flavor left over in food scraps and fermenting is a great way to extract every last little bit of it.  Before you send your food scraps off to the compost bin, you may be able to use them to make one last tasty ferment before committing them to the garden worms for decomposition.

Here are a few great ways to use food scraps for creating novel, low-cost ferments:

Apple Scrap Vinegar

If you’ve made a large batch of applesauce and you’re not sure what to do with the cores and peels, vinegar might be just the thing to get one last use out of those hard-to-use apple flavored leftovers.  Apple peels and cores, along with a little sugar and water, can be placed into a fermentation vessel and transformed into a tasty apple cider like vinegar.  Natural yeast on the apple peels will ferment the mix into a very light hard cider, and then a little more time and exposure to the open air and the mix will quickly convert to vinegar. For step-by-step instructions on how to make apple cider vinegar, read this post.


Tepache is a traditional South American drink made from the core and peels of pineapples.  While the peel is spiny and inedible, there’s tasty pineapple lining the inside, and fermentation is a great way to extract that flavor and nutrition.  The peels and core are placed into a fermentation vessel along with sugar and spices of your choosing, and in the end, you’re left with a fizzy, sweet ferment that reuses parts of the pineapple you would have otherwise thrown out. A great tepache recipe is here.

Pickled Stems from Kale, Broccoli or Collards

If you’ve chopped off the stems from your broccoli before steaming up the florets, don’t toss those!  They’ll make excellent quick lacto-ferments with just a little bit of time and a small amount of salt brine.  The same goes for kale or collard stems and ribs.  Though they may be tough when cooked traditionally, fermentation is an excellent use for them and makes sure you’re getting every possible bit of nutrition out of your vegetable purchases. Your family might even enjoy Zesty Broccoli Stem Pickles.

Bread Kvass

Most fermentation fans have heard of beet kvass, but what about bread kvass?  It’s a traditional drink from Russia and the Ukraine that extracts the last bit of goodness and calories out of stale leftover bread scraps.  Basic recipes begin with half a loaf to a loaf of stale, dried out bread.  It’s important that the bread has not yet begun to mold, but it’s just past the point where you’d want to eat it.  The bread is then soaked overnight in water which extracts the starches.  The actual bread is filtered out through cheesecloth, and the starchy bread water remains.  From there, sugars and seasonings are added.  To begin the ferment, you can allow for wild fermentation to take place with the natural flora in the air, or inoculate with sourdough starter or commercial yeast.  The end result is a very low alcohol probiotic drink with a taste reminiscent of beer.  The final result will depend on the type of bread you’ve used, as a traditional rye bread will make a very different kvass than other types such as white, whole wheat or cinnamon raisin.


No matter which of these money-saving ferments you want to try, you’ll need the proper tools. Get everything you need to make your fermenting journey successful in the Fermentools store.


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