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Dealing with onion skins when we don’t compost...

 
Posts: 97
Location: Frederick, MD zone7b
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kids duck bee homestead
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So, confession - we dont compost.

At least not in the traditional sense. Instead we feed scraps, trimmings, cuttings, etc to our flock of ducks. Most things they demolish no problem. A few things they dont care about/ arent good for them. The big ones in our house are citrus peels and onion skins.

Since we dont have a compost pile, they dont really have a place to go. We have experimented leaving them in the woods across the street, and leaving them in the duck pen. Anybody have a better idea? Any chance those things might keep predators away if left in the right place?

Thanks!
 
pollinator
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Location: Illinois USA - USDA Zone 5b
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Bury them in your garden and let the worms and fungi eat them?
 
pollinator
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Location: Southern Oregon
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I save onion skins and scraps for the stock pot. Granted they still get thrown away (or composted), but at least they get used.
 
pollinator
Posts: 189
Location: Near Philadelphia, PA
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Save them and give to someone who dyes yarn!  

http://www.allnaturaldyeing.com/onion-skin-dye/
 
Posts: 28
Location: Kentucky - Zone6
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You can drill holes in a pvc pipe and put it in the ground in one of your garden beds, the onions will eventually break down, something like this:
https://offbeathome.com/worm-tube-composting/

You can cover it so mice/rats cannot get to it. Easier than digging a hole every time you want to bury a new batch of onions

M
 
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Location: Martha’s Vineyard MA
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hugelkultur cat food preservation
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I second making stock with onions (and carrot ends:celery butts etc)

With the citrus rinds I soak in vinegar...adding to a jar until it’s full and leaving for a couple weeks. Makes a mean cleaner.
 
pollinator
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Stacy Witscher wrote:I save onion skins and scraps for the stock pot. Granted they still get thrown away (or composted), but at least they get used.



Yes, me too.  Any veg scraps that the chickens don't/can't eat go into a container in the freezer:  this includes onion and garlic skins, rutabaga/potato/etc peelings, carrot ends--anything too hard or fibrous   These, along with any bones we've collected (including the ones we cooked and chewed the meat off first, like pork chop bones) get saved up until I'm running low on stock.

The stock simmers for 2-3 days in the slow cooker until the bones crumble;  I strain it and give all those solids to the chickens, where it disappears rapidly!  They particularly like the soft bones, but seem to make short work of everything.  I can't say if ducks will be as enthusiastic, but it couldn't hurt to try.

The strained stock goes into the freezer in convenient portion sizes, and is great in soups, stews, gravy, rice, and even just for boiling up some veg.  

If for some reason I don't have any bones but am running low on frozen stock, I'll make a pot of veg stock.  It only needs to cook about overnight (on the stovetop it would probably take an hour or less), and the result won't have the same body and richness, but is an acceptable substitute, particularly for cooking rice or other grains, or to make gravy.
 
pollinator
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yes, stock pot for onion skins, and vinegar or vodka soaking/infusion for cleaners for the orange peels.

I've also heard that drying the orange peels turns them into a good fire-starter...haven't tried it yet though.
 
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Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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phil wrote:Save them and give to someone who dyes yarn!  



Yes! They are a wonderful natural dye  https://permies.com/t/44102/fiber-arts/dyeing-onion-skins

Onion skins dye best on wools and silks (animal proteins) but also work on linen, hemp, rami and cottons.
It's a great one for kids to try and one of very few 'kitchen leftover' dyes that is actually color fast.

It's one of my favorites and even when I'm not actively dyeing I save them for other dyers.

And they definitely add a nice color to a soup stock as others have mentioned.

If you store them for dye, store only the dry parts and there ill be no onion smell at all.
 
pollinator
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You don't need to actively compost by turning your pile regularly.  You can create a passive pile and do lazy composting.   I have a couple of places in the garden where I just toss stuff like citrus peels or veggie vines and let them molder away for six months.  

If you want it to look a little bit neater, then tie 4 palates together with some old rope and situate your lazy-man's compost bin in a forgotten corner where it will not bother you to look at.  I usually put down a thick layer of wood chips below (like, a foot or more) so that any stinky runny stuff that emerges from the passive pile will be absorbed by the chips.  Then I basically ignore it unless I'm dumping something onto the pile.  It breaks down slowly.

In the fall, when I've got all the vines from the garden (tomatoes, pumpkin, cucumbers, zuchini, etc.), I just pile that stuff into the passive bin and leave it for the winter.  
 
Posts: 42
Location: Central Vermont
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For citrus peels, you can make candied peel. Requires some boiling, then simmer in a concentrated sugar syrup and dehydrate. Add to baked goods. If you have a lot, you might know bakers who would appreciate this as a gift.

Some people remove more of the pith and process long strips which they then dip in chocolate to make candies.
 
Bryan Gold
Posts: 97
Location: Frederick, MD zone7b
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Love all these suggestions!

Am definately going to work on perfecting our veggie broth and preserved citrus peels.

Will absolutely try to light a bonfire with an orange peel. That sounds like magic.
 
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