“Root to Leaf” cooking

I’m a big fan of kale, but I have to admit, I’m not the best at eating all of it. In fact I only recently found out that I could be eating all of it. My friend likes to cook the ribs in stir fry – he just gives them a head start so they aren’t as tough before tossing in the rest of the veggies. This has inspired me to look at what other parts of veggies I could and should be eating.

So I’ve made a totally subjective definitive ranking and list for beginning to take a “root to leaf” approach to your veggies. If you’ve mastered eating an apple without cutting off the nutritious peel, then please proceed to the next level, or totally ignore the levels and try any of them cause they’ll all help reduce waste. Maybe you think you are already a waste warrior – well perhaps, like me, you didn’t even realize some things were edible.

  • Beginner:  Mushroom stems; apple, carrot, and potato peels; broccoli stems and leaves; pumpkin seeds; chard stems
  • Intermediate: Asparagus ends; beet greens; turnip and radish greens; kale ribs; brussels sprout greens (may only be available if you have a garden, but they are a great substitute for collards)
  • Advanced: Corn silk; orange and lemon rinds; carrot greens; watermelon rind  (good for pickling)

Okay, so maybe you knew some of these were edible, but the problem is what do you actually do with them?  A good start is to simply leave the peels on when eating fruits or root vegetables (maybe just give them a good scrub). Another easy thing is to use scraps, stems and skins to make soup or stock. For me, my go-to meals with veggie bits would be soup, stir fry, and smoothies or juices (great for kale ribs or the inner stalk of pineapples – so good).

If you are looking for more inspiration, you can check out some recipes:

Creamy Asparagus Ends Soup

Carrot Top Pesto

Pickled Chard Stems

Sweet and Spicy Sautéed Kale Stems

Watermelon-Rind Chutney

Red Lentil Soup with Beet Greens

Looking for other veggie parts you could be eating? You can start your search here.

http://dontmesswithmama.com/10-vegetable-fruit-discards-can-actually-eat/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/02/fruits-and-vegetables-not-eating_n_4868505.html

 

The intricate web of food waste

food issue map

Designer Christina Amelie Jensen created this web to show the ‘issue space’ of food waste in the restaurant context. One can imagine how much more complex the web would become if it were to include other sectors. For instance, how would it change if it were looking at the household level? This web is useful for beginning to think about the many connected actors and processes that contribute to the creation and disposal of food waste.

Image from: http://designobserver.com/article.php?id=34178

Food rescue retail

Former president of Trader Joe’s, Dough Rauch, has opened a groundbreaking new type of grocery store: a non-profit model that tackles food insecurity, reduces food waste, and promotes good nutrition.  The Daily Table store opened June 4, after managing to pass the hurdles of non-profit approval and convincing authorities that wasted food can be safe and nutritious food. The shop is located in the low income community of Dorchester, Massachusetts, and provides access to healthy food at very low prices.

produce at The Daily Table

This new initiative is a major departure from more traditional food charities. It is strongly committed to providing nutritious meals that can compete with fast food in its price and convenience. At the same time the retailer is committed to preventing food waste by collecting donated food and selling it fresh or transforming it into ready-to-eat meals.The shop is challenging cheap, unhealthy calories in a way that is financially and environmentally sustainable while ensuring the health and dignity of its patrons. There are many non-profits that serve rescued food, but the distinction here is that Daily Table allows customers a choice – they are not simply recipients. Being in a retail space enables Daily table to be grounded in the community, provide employment and training, as well as make money to cover costs. I’m excited to see how this project will fare as it employs it’s innovative approach to food waste, nutrition, and food insecurity.

Check out a National Geographic interview on Daily Table with founder Doug Rauch  here, or more coverage from NPR.

More Food Waste Art

Brazilain artist Narcelio Grud uses food waste to make a bold statement. The project “Tropical Hungry” was created using food collected from markets, which was then separated by color and used as a sort of paint to create the wall mural. Like other food waste art, this piece is a bit morbid and unsettling as it confronts the viewer with a grotesque image of waste.

Another artist is working with wasted bread to capture the attention of passersby and call attention to the massive food wasting. Markus Jeschaunig created the piece “Arc de Triomphe” from stale bread, metal, wood, and concrete to create a replica of its namesake. The installation was displayed at the “street gallery-Lendwirbel Festival 2012” in Graz, Austria where it won the “Environmental Award of the City of Graz”. The arch is typically thought of as a monument to victory and glory, but in this context it pays a twisted homage to the excess and waste of civilization.

At least this kid knows bread is food not waste!