The average person wastes about $150 of unconsumed food per month, but wise home cooks know that flavor lurks in the rinds, stems, and peels that are often discarded. Keep reading for a few of our favorite tips to help you cut down on grocery runs, reduce food waste, and make the most of your fruits and vegetables.
Root to Stem Cooking
The practice of eating vegetables from root to stem isn't new but can have a massive impact on personal food waste generation. Root to stem eating is also a great way to be more considerate of the fruits, vegetables and ingredients we consume, and how they make their way onto our plates.
Sometimes, the stems and leaves of vegetables are even more nutrient-dense than the more commonly eaten parts. Surprisingly, papery onion peels are rich in fiber and antioxidants like quercetin and fructan. Try simmering them whole in stocks or broths for added flavor and nutrients. Broccoli stalks also contain more fiber, vitamin C, and calcium than the florets. Use them for dipping in hummus, or chop them up and add to stir fries, pastas or soups in your Stock Pot. Swiss chard stems are rich in glutamine, an immune-boosting amino acid. They can be tough and bitter, so try tenderizing them in boiling water in your Sauce Pan before turning them into a delicious Swiss Chard Hummus.
Other vegetables that can be eaten whole are carrots, beets, radishes, cauliflower, tomato, asparagus, celery, and fennel. As a simple introduction to eating root to stem, try swapping blanched carrot tops for traditional basil in a Fresh Pesto.
Peels, Skins & Rinds
Potato peels are often overlooked but contain the majority of fiber and minerals found in potatoes. Keep your potato skins and roast on your Baking Sheet with EVOO, black pepper, and salt. Enjoy as a snack or to add a bit of crunch to your salads.
Always save your parmesan and pecorino cheese rinds. They’re the perfect addition to a homemade broth, adding umami and richness. Try our easy Summer Celery & Leek Soup to put your leftovers to good use.
Stale bread makes the best croutons. Add some crunch to salads or soups by chopping your bread into small squares, drizzling with EVOO, and seasoning with salt and pepper. Add garlic powder, onion powder, Parmesan cheese, nutritional yeast, or fresh herbs for more flair.
Lemon peels can do it all, so make sure not to toss them. Grate and freeze lemon zest, make your own candied lemon peels, dehydrate them in the oven at 200ºF on your Baking Sheet, or use them to make a homemade lemon pepper seasoning. The citric acid found in lemon peels is also a powerful cleaning agent and can help remove any stains or discoloration of your Oak Cutting Board.