January 3, 2019 @ 11:36 AM

Maybe New Year resolutions would be more successful if we made ones that can help others, instead of focusing on personal shortcomings. A few new books came out recently that discuss the problem of food waste in this country, but offer lots of tasty ways to reduce waste and eat better in the process. 

"Scraps, Peels and Stems" by Jill Lightner and "Cooking With Scraps" by Lindsey-Jean Hard, offer takes on imaginative ways to use  peels, pith, goo, stems, shells. One book has more of an environmental POV and the other, a culinary slant. Together, they offer a really full look at this problem of  food waste. The National Resource Council says that 40% of food in the US is tossed out, equaling $165 Billion per year!!! This is caused by wasteful consumers as well as wasteful growers. Aside from being wasteful, it is an environmental hazard and  also an ethical issue, when we have so much food, yet so many undernourished people.

      Growing up with my Depression era grandparents, "waste" was a dirty word. My grandma patched clothes and made food stretch. She used "pot liquor"---which is the water left after steaming or boiling veggies. She often drank it straight after it cooled, or froze it for soup stock. It was tasty, but it also contained many of the nutrients that were lost to the cooking water. But, to get to the  point of cooking our foods, we often peel things unnecessarily (lots of nutrients and roughage are in the peels) and we throw away the peels/seeds/piths/cores and stems----all containing nutrients and composing a good deal of the per pound price we pay for those foods.

      Some of my favorite tips from these books are as follows:

~ citrus peel vodka

~ save citrus zest as you go, for year long baking--just add zest to a bag in the freezer and use as needed. Using zest in baking is so far superior to using lemon/orange peel powder or flavoring

~ cookie crumb pie crust--or use cereal crumbs

~ Baked apple peels- after making a pie, toss peels in cinnamon, sugar and bake at 250% for 1-2 hours on a parchment lined cookie sheet

~ Baked Potato peels--prepare the same way as the apple peels, but toss with oil, salt, herbs

~ roast broccoli stems

~ cook and puree broccali/cauliflower stems with beans to make a dip, topped with a gremolata--serve cold as a dip or warm , as a side dish

~ using pumpkin pith/goo to make scones

~ quick pickled melon rinds

~ Pineapple skin lemonade


    There are tons of easy recipes for all types of leftover foods and scraps. Beautiful photos too. Help yourself----help the world!!!

"Use it up

Wear it out

Make it do


Do without"