To me, it’s sort of funny that wasting food is not taboo. It’s one of the last environmental ills that you can just get away with.”– Jonathan Bloom
Healthy Foodies – let’s take a minute and talk about food waste!
This statistic came through in my inbox and it blew my mind:
Did you know that food waste represents 8% of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions; and in Canada it is estimated that $49.5B worth of food is lost or wasted?
Reducing food waste is by no means a new topic. In fact, most of us were probably raised on the notion to eat up everything on our plate to avoid wasting food. There are the obvious economical and environmental advantages, but over the years I’ve learned that there are nutrition and taste benefits to “no waste” cooking as well.
When cooking meat, it’s referred to as nose-to-tail, meaning that every part of the animal is used, including the organs and the bones. When referring to vegetables, it’s called root-to-leaf, meaning that all parts of the vegetable, even the leaves and tops, are included in your dishes.
You can make some very delicious meals with the less popular leaf/tops of vegetable like beets, radishes, turnips, carrots and green onions. Usually the green leafy tops of vegetables are thrown away, typically because most of us don’t know what to do with them. But if you toss them away, you are tossing out a lot of nutrients.
In fact, in some villages in Vietnam, the children are fed the sweet potato greens along with the potatoes as a way to protect them from malnutrition.
You may not be getting too excited about the thought of eating your carrot tops or radish greens. But I assure you that with a few ingredients like garlic, olive oil and herbs, these less popular tops can be turned into something delicious!
Here are a few simple ideas to get you started:
- Beet greens – sauté greens in extra virgin olive oil and garlic (remember the garlic trick from this blog). Then add a little water to the pan and stir. Remove when wilted. Serve with a little fresh lemon juice or a touch of balsamic vinegar.
- Turnip and radish greens – sauté greens in a little olive, small pieces of cut up bacon (pasture raised) and green onions (tops and bulb). Add a little water to the pan and stir. Remove when wilted and drizzle a touch of balsamic vinegar over them when serving.
- Kale Stems – Did you know you can use your kale stems in your hummus recipe? Just boil them for 30 minutes (or until tender) and blend them into your recipe. They will add some extra vitamins, minerals and fibre to your hummus.
Another root-to-leaf vegetable that I’d like you to acquaint yourself with is something called “salad turnips” – also known as Hakurei or Tokyo turnips. They’ve got very little bite, if any at all, in comparison to your typical mature turnip which you’d have to cook. These turnips can be enjoyed raw, and are available in the spring. For a great recipe, with a whole host of vitamins and minerals, click here.
Always remember, healthy food and tasty food are not mutually exclusive – even if you are munching on scraps!
P.S There’s some great ideas on root-to-leaf cooking in the book, Cooking with Scraps by Lindsay-Jean Hard.I was gifted this book and it’s been a great resource!
P.P.S Like these tips? Spread this no-waste message by forwarding this email to a friend.