How much food do you throw in the trash? No one thinks twice about discarding mouldy bread or packaged food in the back of the pantry with July 2012 stated as the use-by date. This is a good thing. Eating off food can make you very ill.
What about perfectly edible, fresh food? How much of that do you think you throw away? You might feel like saying “that’s preposterous! I don’t waste food.” but you might be surprised by just how much you throw in the trash. Some ‘scraps’ that end up in the bin or on the compost heap are perfectly edible and even delicious!
As a matter of fact, some ‘scraps’ are packed with nutrients. So even if you’re not too worried about wasting food, you should at least consider the wasted nutrients you’re literally throwing away.
Here are just a few examples of food scraps we should be eating:
- All peels. Potato, apple, carrot and just about any fruit or veg that you might usually take the peeler to, have a very high concentration of nutrients in that very peel. If you peel these things because you’re worried about cleanliness you can try the vinegar trick – fill a tub or sink half way with water and add 1 cup of vinegar, let your fruit and veg soak for 15 minutes and rinse. This will naturally disinfect the food and remove any nasties. Plus, it helps to keep it from going off in the fridge for a little longer.
- Broccoli stems. The stems are just as good for you as the fluffy green bits on top. But it’s not really as palatable is it? Well there are plenty of ways to prepare broccoli stalk that isn’t steaming chunks of it whole. The easiest is to grate it and eat it raw in a salad or coleslaw, or grate it and cook it in a stir fry or as part of a soup base.
- The green part of leek. How awful is it cooking with leek and throwing away more than half of what you paid for at the store? Well this one will save you some money too! Here’s the secret: the green parts of leek are just as good for you and just as edible as the white parts – they just take longer to cook. So next time you need 4 leeks for a recipe, just buy 2 and use up the whole things, the key is to put the green parts on 5-10 minutes (depending on cooking method) before the white parts.
- Tops. Think the green parts of carrots, turnips, beetroot etc. No, the green leafy bits on top of the carrot are not going to taste like carrot, but that doesn’t mean they’re not good for you. These kinds of ‘scraps’ are fantastic in salads or added to your smoothies for an extra nutrient boost.
Food wastage is a massive problem in most western countries. By reducing the amount of food we throw away, we will not only be helping our planet but also our wallets. Think of all the money you can save by getting the most out of all your fruit and veg. And for detailed info on what nutrients are contained in which foods, and how these benefit you specifically, check out ph360 and their comprehensive and extremely detailed food list.