Stinky bins no more! Top tips for discarding prawn shells after Christmas Day

Dec 24, 2023
Here are five easy ways to reduce the smell of prawn scraps. Source: Getty Images

Whether they’re barbecued, fried or eaten fresh, prawns are a delicious addition to Christmas lunch or dinner. Not to mention, they’re very quick and easy to prepare!

But as easy as they are to whip up, they’re a pain to get rid of. Leftover prawn shells can really stink out your bin if you don’t use the correct disposal methods — and no one wants a smelly bin come Boxing Day, especially in Australia’s hot climate. Smelly bins can also attract unwelcome visitors such as an array of bugs and flies. So, here are five things you can do with your prawn scraps to minimise wastage and avoid stinky bins.

Freeze them

If your bin man isn’t coming for another few days, the best thing you can do is wrap up the prawn leftovers in a plastic, sealed bag and freeze it. On the day of collection, chuck the frozen waste directly in your bin to stop any pungent smells from forming and stinking out your home and neighbourhood.

Compost your prawns in the garden

Rather than throwing out the prawn leftovers, you can dig them into the garden to help combat bacteria that damages tomato plants, fruit trees, vines, and roses.

Similar to other shellfish, shrimp shells are very useful in compost, which in turn benefits your garden and plants. The shells contain compounds that feed bacteria and fungi which, in turn, helps the soil to break down. However you’ll want to grind your prawn shells up to be as small as possible before digging them into your garden soil and watering them in for best results.

Create a flavourful fish stock

Prawn shells, tails and heads are packed with flavour, making them the ideal base for a flavourful fish stock. Instead of tossing them out, save them and whip up a delicious stock or prawn bisque – after all, a flavour-packed fish stock can make any seafood dish sing. Alternatively, you can freeze the prawn shells for up to a month if you have no use for fish stock just yet.

For a basic stock, you could simmer the prawn heads and shells with water and a few of your favourite veggies. This makes a great base for seafood dishes, risotto, Asian-style dishes, Italian sauces and pasta and can also be used as a general flavour enhancer in stir fries, veggies, curries and noodle dishes.

Make crispy prawn heads

You can turn the prawn heads into crunchy prawn “bites” – a great snack on its own or served with some dipping sauce. Whilst the thought of eating the prawn heads may not be for everyone, those who enjoy it claim it’s something you have to try at least once!

Feed it to the chooks

Did you know that chooks love prawn heads and can eat prawn shells, and tails? They are a great source of calcium for your chooks and can help them when it comes time to lay eggs, for example. So if you own chooks, don’t let your leftovers go to waste.

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