Now is a good time to take a look at your food waste and see if there’s any scope for improvement. Even the most fastidious food waste fighter might be able to do more to ensure that everything is all used up. We’re always learning new ways to become better at preventing food waste and we want to share them. Here are some things you may not have thought of…

Super stems

Many vegetable stems and stalks are overlooked but these parts are totally edible, nutritious and can be delicious when prepared well. Check out Foodtank’s #StemsAreSexy campaign. They point out that broccoli stems contain higher levels of Iron, Calcium and Vitamin C than the florets. Broccoli stems can be eaten raw or cooked. Peel them first if they are woody. Broccoli stalks work well in a stir fry or coleslaw or try pickling them for something new.

Versatile greens!

Blitz up some pesto, dressings, dips and sauces with greens such as rocket, instead of basil or other herbs. Make up salads full of herbs such as parsley in couscous or bulgur wheat. Did you know that beetroot and carrot tops are edible and can be used much as you would spinach? Incorporate fresh mint into a juice or smoothie for a delicious herby hit.

Bake it in

Seeds, nuts and herbs can be incorporated into bread and other baking.

Get the last scrap

Instead of scraping the jar of honey/jam/mustard/tahini, add some ingredients for a dressing and shake it out. This will ensure that you use every last bit that’s in the jar and you have salad dressing ready in no time. Easy!

Carrot Tops

This one is divisive. Perhaps the jury’s out on this but did you know that carrot tops are edible? Though the flavour is slightly bitter, this can be balanced with a splash of lemon juice. Incorporate them into soups or salads or try out this recipe for chimichurri from Chef Tom Hunt and see for yourself.

No peel

Often, we go into autopilot mode in the kitchen prepping vegetables the very same way for every dish. There’s often no need to peel vegetables. It will save on effort! Use butternut squash and pumpkin with the peel on and remember citrus…There’s fantastic flavour in the rind of lemons and oranges. Freeze the zest for later use. If you have a preference for peeling vegetables, keep the trimmings for the stock pot. Mushroom stems, tops/ends of spring onions, herb stems, celery roots and leaves all provide good flavour for stock.

If you’re keen to know more about using the whole vegetable, take a look at ‘Root to Stalk Cooking’, a book written by Tara Duggan. It’s available in the library! Start with one item that you used to discard and in no time you will be incorporating many different foods into your everyday recipes.

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