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August 14, 2017

Scrap Cooking: Don’t Throw That Away!

Some people like repurposing or upcycling their Goodwill finds, like vintage clothing, or second- (or third- or fourth-) hand furniture. And I think that’s great, but I’ll leave it to the people who are more talented than I with a needle, a sewing machine, paint, power tools, or all of the above. My talent is scrap cooking. (Not scrap booking. Oh, no. That’s far too close to art, and I can’t do art. I save my pictures on my phone, like a normal person.) I like to take bits and pieces of food and see what I can do. And when I go to Goodwill? I head to the kitchen section first.

The other day, my husband and I were at Soda City, buying a ton of produce, some bacon, a few bottles of hot sauce, and eggs. We were paying for the eggs, and the woman selling them checked each carton to see if any were broken.

“Look at that! You got the lucky egg!”

There was a white egg nestled in with the brown ones. Assuming this was just a way to break up the day and make small talk, I let out a soft, “Yay!” punctuated with jazz hands. But as we were leaving, she was all, “Don’t forget your free cantaloupe!” Wut. Apparently the luck of the egg was a free melon. This was thrilling. (If you know me, you know that anything free is thrilling. And this was so totally unexpected. It actually made my day.)

At home, I opened the cantaloupe and cut it into cubes, because it tastes so much better that way. This gorgeous, perfectly ripe melon made me feel even luckier. I caught a whiff of the seeds and was reminded of pumpkin seeds, which only interest me in the fall, but there had to be a way to make a seasonally appropriate cantaloupe seed…something.

Doing a thing with cantaloupe seeds. I’ll tell you about it later. #scrapcooking #summer #wastenotwantnot 

I started with butter. (When in doubt? Always start with butter.) After rinsing the seeds and letting them dry a little, I tossed them in a pan with melted butter. Then I added a dash of sugar, some lavender salt, and just a sprinkle of cayenne pepper. With the heat on low, the seeds took a while to cook. The husks are tougher than pumpkin seeds—which I knew because I kept tasting them to see if they were done—but after maybe 15 minutes they were caramelized and crunchy. You do need to be careful, because when they get hot enough, they’ll start to pop like popcorn kernels, so be prepared with a lid for your pan. I left the seeds to cool on the counter—after threatening everyone in my house with their lives so they wouldn’t eat them—and went on about my day.

When they were completely cool and still a little sticky from the caramelizing, I sprinkled them over vanilla ice cream with a little chocolate sauce. YOU SHOULD TOTALLY DO IT. It was delicious. I love turning garbage food into…food.

Have you found any surprise uses for the scraps recently?