Taking the Trash or Treasure Challenge Myself
We are running a cool competition this week called Trash to Treasure – which explores the possibilities of what we can do with our food “scraps” instead of throwing them away and adding to the gigantic amount of food waste.
I’m on this journey with you! Learning about the magnitude of food waste has been so eye-opening! It is a magnitude that is difficult to comprehend. The biggest surprise for me is that it’s scale and effects are comparable to that of plastic pollution. The whole world is (rightly so) up in arms about plastic- and yet food waste is just as damaging. Disappointingly, the effects of food waste remain under-reported. Most of us are blissfully unaware of food waste even being an issue. Maybe this is because it seems quite natural- right- throwing organic bits back into our organic Earth. Why should be a problem?
By starting the Trash to Treasure Challenge, I have asked that you, my community, stretch your cooking skills that extra bit. Starting in each of our homes, can make a massive impact on food waste.
I’m not the type of person to throw a challenge out – without putting myself through the paces too! Today’s blog is a little bit science report-ish about all my magnificent findings amongst our “trash” pile. Here are some of my discoveries from taking the challenge in my own home:
Most people throw away the leafy greens that come with bunches of beets. These beet greens are very similar to Swiss chard in colour, flavour and nutrition. They can be used for soups, sautés, smoothies, juices and salads. I made an awesome dish: creamed beet greens with parmesan. These beautiful leaves are never going into the trash again!
Our kids tried an experiment where they placed carrot tops in a shallow bowl of water. This allows the carrot tops to resprout – they grow little carrot leaves! It’s been so cool to watch! We have now replanted these sprouted carrot tops and are hoping that they will grow into carrots again (which they are meant to!). I will have to keep you updated on our progress with this!
I had this habit of removing the skin from apples when I cut them up for my kids. I’m not even sure where that came from. Now, I just leave it on, and I have had no complaints whatsoever. For many of us, apple skin is often the first to go when using this fruit for cooking or baking. Apple skin is rich in insoluble fibre, soluble fibre and vitamin C. These nutrients work to clean out the digestive system by removing toxins and waste from the body. The skin is also rich in quercetin, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory that can reduce inflammation in the body.
Broccoli Leaves and Stems:
I bet most of you throw out your broccoli leaves and stalks! I did too! Little did I know that they make a versatile, delicious and nutritious ingredient. The stalks have a ton of fibre and the leaves contain beta carotene, vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, antioxidants and folate, which supports red blood cell production. Broccoli leaves are the next kale! Both the leaves and stems (thinly sliced) can be used in salads, steamed, sautéed or tossed into smoothies. They also make a great pesto base!
We are so accustomed to using what we need and throwing the rest out. With herbs, we often use the leaves and discard the stems. I have found that using herb stems are exactly the same as using the leaves. They give the same taste, if not more intense. Stems can be added to a quick pesto for extra zing, or even chopped up and frozen with oil in an ice block tray. This way, you can use an herby ice block any time you want to add extra flavour to a soup, risotto or a stir-fry, for example!
Potato skin chips are so good! Just sprinkle them with some parmesan and olive oil and bake until golden! It’s one of those no-brainer recipes that will make you never throw them out again.
Also known as aquafaba, the liquid drained from canned or home-cooked chickpeas, is a miracle ingredient. It mimics eggs in baking, so you can use it anywhere you would use egg whites (think vegan meringues)! What really makes this starchy liquid magical is that it whips and creates a foam. Aquafaba is therefore able to trap air, giving items structure as egg whites would. So cool!
This one is a no brainer and I cannot believe that I hadn’t thought about it sooner. Instead of draining your can of tuna and discarding the liquid, why not use it as a super tasty salad dressing?
The awesome carcass that is left after your family devours a takeaway roast chicken is the perfect beginning of a tasty chicken stock! Just simmer away with all your leftover vegetable scraps and voila!
Guys, I highly recommend dipping your feet into this challenge. It’s been so much fun discovering new things in my kitchen, and also knowing that I am helping cut down on the food waste issue. There are new recipes, methods and tasty tips waiting to be revealed. Enjoy yourself and I can’t wait to see what you all come up with!