We all know that fresh produce, especially fruit and vegetables, are the cornerstone of a healthy diet, but how can we get more out of them and reduce waste? In celebration of our partnership with Live Below the Line, which encourages participants to live on $2 a day to raise money and awareness for global poverty, we're exploring smarter ways to make the most of our food and its scraps.
Regrow your veggies
Did you know lots of vegetables (and some fruits) you buy can quite easily be replanted to grow more? The head, heart or cuttings of some veggies can simply be put in water and sunlight and will regrow more leaves and sprouts including romaine lettuce, fennel, garlic sprouts, basil and green onions. The more patient and experienced gardeners could try planting from fruit seeds (lemons or avocados), propagate from cuttings (try mint) or even plant the crown of a pineapple and watch a new one grow! For a full set of instructions, check out the Natural Living Ideas article linked below.
Transform peels and rinds
Many fruit and vegetable peels and rinds can be used for other dishes including relishes, pickles and seasoning. Citrus rinds can be oven-dried and then added to soups and stews for extra zest, or thicker-skinned peels (like oranges and grapefruit) can be used to make candied fruit. Clean potato peels can be tossed in oil, salt and dried herbs and then baked to become a crispy snack or side dish. The same can be done with apple peels, swapping out salt and herbs for butter and cinnamon sugar, for a sweet treat. Melon rinds are both nutritious and very versatile - they are able to be used instead of cucumbers in salads, pickled or made into chutneys and even chopped up and added to curry, a speciality in certain regions of India. Just chop of the green skin and enjoy the white flesh of the rind.
Vegetable stocks are perfect for making a healthy stock or broth (the difference being that broth is seasoned, while stock is not). You can freeze containers
of vegetable scraps to use in your stock. If you have a Thermomix or heavy-duty food processor, you will also be able to make a vegetable concentrate in paste form, which is fantastic to add to the base of many savoury dishes including soups, curries and stews. Most veggie scraps will work for this including carrot peel, celery leaves, mushroom stems, green onion ends and onion skin. Foods from the brassica family (that's brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, etc) can make stock bitter so consider avoiding.
When in doubt, compost
For those veggie scraps you can't reuse, pop them in your compost heap
, worm farm or bokashi bin
and close the loop in your own home! For a simple Compost Bin for your kitchen, we also recommend the Oggi Bin - stainless steel, 3.8L capacity (so ages before you need to empty it) and its charcoal filter means no smell or attraction of pests. Win-win! Further Reading