Scraps, Wilt + Weeds is your guide to "trash cooking," and it's a marvelous tool for improving your health and the health of the planet.
Fortunately, we can change our behavior and save the world. Maybe?
Here are seven tips for reducing food waste at home:
- Buy ugly produce. Too many perfectly edible fruits and vegetables are thrown out because of their looks, but as Refslund says "It's okay for a fruit or vegetable to have a blemish, be misshapen, to show a little bruise or two. Insect holes are fine."
- Buy less. The more food you store in your enormous refrigerator, the more you waste. Bigger is not better.
- Ignore expiration dates. Expiration dates and labels, such as "Sell by" and "Best before," do not indicate when a food is safe to eat. Use your senses to gauge a food's freshness. If a food is moldy, smells bad or improperly stored then throw it out, but don't toss it based on expiration date. Like Refslund writes, "Food isn't perfect one day, and then suddenly when the stamped date arrives, it is instantly old and bad."
- Preserve your food. Cooking, canning, freezing, drying, fermenting, brining, and pickling make food last longer, sometimes much longer.
- If you juice, save the pulp. Leftover fruit and vegetable pulp adds flavor, bulk, nutrients, and moisture to all kinds of dishes, such as burgers, muffins and soups. Once I ate a "hot dog" where at least half the meat was replaced with beet pulp, and it was delicious! And, I don't like beets.
- Make pesto sauce. Lots of vegetables and herbs can stand in for basil. In the book, Refslund shares a recipe for Carrot Top Pesto, Celery Scrap Pesto and Fennel Pesto.
- Prepare tea out of leftover herbs and fruit scraps. Fruit and herbal teas are delicious on their own, but they also work as a base for smoothies and poaching liquid. Refslund uses leftover apple peels and cinnamon to concoct a warming and nutritious Autumn tea.
These are a few of my favorites, but I suggest you buy the book for more pointers for reducing plant and animal waste, amazing recipes ranging from simple to challenging, a guide to foraging, and more.