One of my favourites is the stem of Calabrese broccoli. This is almost always thrown away, and that is such a shame because it is succulent and tasty. You have to peel it of course, and remove some of the outer layer if it looks fibrous, but that is an easy task with a vegetable-peeler.
When cooked it has the texture of a Turnip, but the flavour of Broccoli.
The inner "cores" of Cabbage and Cauliflower can be used in the same way. Next time you're preparing a Cauliflower, try eating a piece of the stem raw. It's lovely!
Here are some other ideas:
- The outer leaves of Cauliflower, Cabbage, Brussels Sprouts etc can be cooked and processed into a lovely tasty soup. When they are blitzed the coarser texture of these leaves is not a problem!
- Winter Squash (e.g. Butternut) - roast the seeds on an oven tray with a little oil. Eat as a "nibble" with drinks, or as a substitute for pine-nuts or toasted Almonds.
- The flesh taken out of your Halloween pumpkin to make a lantern is edible (if perhaps a little bland), so why not make it into soup or a pie?
- Turnip leaves (aka Tops) - stir-fry or use as general-purpose "Greens".
- Beetroot (Beet) leaves - cook the big ones as a hot vegetable; use the tiny ones raw as a salad ingredient.
- Radishes - if they bolt, leave them to form seeds and then use the seed-pods in the way you might use gherkins, e.g. pickled as an hors d'oeuvre.
- Nasturtiums - flowers, (peppery) leaves and seeds are all edible. The seeds are sometimes pickled in the same way as Capers.
- Carrot leaves can be used as a salad ingredient when very small. Larger leaves can be made into a sort of pesto.
- Pea pods - cook, then blitz in a blender with some stock to make a soup. (Maybe add a fried onion, some cream and some bacon?!)
- Lettuce - use the tougher / less picturesque outer leaves to make soup.
- Potato peelings can be cooked into a variant of the potato crisp - "Potato Skins", often cooked with paprika or some such, and served as a nibble with beer!
- Celery, Celeriac and Leek leaves can be added to soups, stews or stock.
- Likewise, Parsley stalks are often discarded but will add flavour to a stock or casserole. Chop them finely with a large knife before adding them to the pan.
- The peel of citrus fruit can be used to make marmalade or can be candied to make a baking ingredient. Candied orange peel dipped in chocolate???
- The skin of a Papaya / Paw-Paw is a good meat tenderiser, and can be used in a marinade.
Kanak Hagjer, a blogging friend from India, has written recently about using chilli leaves as a green vegetable. I can't honestly say I fancy that, but I suppose you shouldn't knock it until you're tried it!
Annemarie on Real Food Real Deals has written about making apple Cider Vinegar with apple cores and peelings.
I'm sure there must be loads of other ways in which potential Food Waste can be used as real food. I invite all my readers to add Comments telling us about other suggestions on this theme!