Holiday Food You Can Use in Your Winter Compost

Before you throw away scraps and leftovers this holiday season, think twice about whether you can use them for winter composting. A lot of unlikely items can provide key nutrients for your plants once composted.

Here is a list of things you might already have around the kitchen during the holidays that could improve your winter compost and benefit your garden.


With all that holiday baking, you'll probably go through a few eggs. Instead of tossing the shells in the trash, put them in your compost pile. Eggshells are rich in calcium and other valuable nutrients that your soil thrives on. To avoid visible shell pieces in your finished product, allow the eggshells to dry out before you compost.

Brines and Bones

While meat is not recommended for winter composting, brine and bones are okay. Add brine to your compost for moisture; just make sure it doesn't have excess meat. Once boiled or scraped of leftover meat, bones can be added to your compost pile as well.


With the exception of walnut shells, which can be toxic to plants, nutshells can be great for composting in the winter. Because they are coarser than other items going into your compost pile, nutshells tend to support the structure and drainage, allowing for better airflow through the compost.

Stale Bread

There are always leftover rolls from holiday dinners. If they're not going to be eaten, let the bread grow stale and throw them into your composting pile. Stale bread adds to the green matter aspect of your compost.

Coffee Grounds

When family and friends visit for the holidays that means more pots of coffee are being brewed. Put the used coffee grounds to work in your garden. Coffee grounds provide nitrogen-rich nutrients that help maintain a healthy living environment for the bacteria in the compost pile.

Fruit Peels, Cores and Rinds

Making an apple pie? Or perhaps a loaf of banana bread? Peelings, cores, and rinds can be extremely beneficial to compost. Adding fruit leftovers to your pile will speed up the decomposition, as well as make for more valuable compost.


The Dirt from Troy-Bilt

November/December 2014