Culinary Upcycling: Reuse food scraps you normally throw away

Culinary Upcycling: Reuse food scraps you normally throw away

May 9th, 2012 by Holly Leber in Life Entertainment

A crunchy salad utilizes shaved broccoli stalk, which is paired with carrots, celery, fennel, jicama and edamame, tossed with rice vinegar and sesame oil.

Photo by Jake Daniels/Times Free Press.

An apple syrup, made from boiling the peels and cores of apples with sugar and water, is drizzled over vanilla ice cream with walnuts.

Photo by Jake Daniels/Times Free Press.

Broccoli Stalk Salad

Cut the stalk of broccoli off the heads.

Peel off the thick outer layer of skin.

Using a vegetable peeler, shave off strips of the stalk.

Shave or thin-slice strips of other crunchy vegetables of choice, such as carrots, fennel, cucumber or celery.

Add edamame or toasted nuts if desired.

Toss with 1 tablespoon sesame oil and 2 tablespoons rice vinegar.

Marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before serving.

Food is wasted at an alarming rate.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, more that 34 million tons of food waste were generated in 2010, second only to paper.

"What's happened here that we throw away food," said Dr. Joel Kimmons, a nutrition scientist for the Centers for Disease Control. "I think there's a moral decency issue here. How can we waste food? It's a crisis, I think."

Wasting food also wastes money, but there are plenty of ways to stretch both a dollar and natural resources by getting a little creative in the kitchen.

Preservation can be as simple as freezing leftovers or putting slightly wilted fruits into smoothies or pies instead of throwing them away, but plenty of food is discarded simply because people don't know what to do with it.

"A lot of times people who are trying to eat more fresh foods end up with a lot of scraps in their kitchen," said Melanie Mayo, spokeswoman for Crabtree Farms. "A smart way to keep using those is to get more life out of them."

Here are some ways to get more life out of your food.

• MILK: Carol Kimmons, of the Sequatchie Valley Institute, said that when milk goes past its prime, she creates kefir, a sort of liquid drinking yogurt that contains beneficial yeasts and probiotic bacteria. Slightly spoiled milk - think sour, not rancid - can be used in baking, or to make paneer, a mild farmer's cheese used in Indian cooking.

• VEGETABLE SCRAPS: Vegetable scraps - carrot peelings, celery leaves and onion skins - where do they usually end up? In the trash can, the garbage disposal or, for those who are particularly conscientious, in the compost pile, right? Try boiling them down to make a vegetable stock, which can be used as the base of soups or for sautéing in lieu of oil. Stocks can also be made from meat and poultry bones.

• CORN COBS: After gnawing delightedly on summer corn, don't just toss away those empty cobs. They can be added to a stock pot or boiled in water or milk to make corn-cob jelly or sweet corn ice cream.

• BROCCOLI STALKS: Most of the time, when Mom says "eat your broccoli," she's referring to the fluffy florets. The stalk is often discarded. However, once the very outer layer is peeled off, the crunchy stalk can be shaved for a salad, julienned into a slaw or sliced into rounds and added to stir-fry. The mild taste goes well with Asian flavors.

• APPLE PEELS AND CORES: Making an apple pie or crisp? Instead of discarding the peels and cores, boil them down with sugar, cinnamon and water to make an apple-cinnamon simple syrup that can be poured over desserts or mixed with seltzer water for a delicious apple pie soda. The skins and cores of apples are high in pectin, so Carol Kimmons said she boils them and uses the water when she makes jam.

• SEEDS: Toasting pumpkin seeds is an autumn tradition, but it's a little early for pumpkin this time of year. We are, however, coming up on watermelon season. Watermelon seeds, often discarded, also can be dried and toasted in the oven or cooked on a stovetop. Anne Olsen, of University of Tennessee Extension, said she has baked papaya seeds and crushed them to use as a spice. "Its a mild, peppery taste," she said.

• CITRUS RIND: The zest of citrus rinds can add flavor to recipes. Add lemon or orange zest into pies or cookies, or dry it to be added to tomato sauces or soups later on. For a sweeter take, try candied citrus peel. Carol Kimmons said this is a time-consuming, but delicious project. Boil the rinds to make peeling off the white pith easier, then cook strips of orange or grapefruit rind in a sugar syrup and dry overnight.

• GREENS: The green leaves and red stalks of beets are just as edible as the earthy bulbs. They have a less bitter flavor than collard or turnip greens and can be sautéed in olive oil and garlic for a savory side dish. Beet greens are high in calcium and vitamins A and C. Cauliflower greens are also ripe for cooking and are often passed over in favor of the big, brainy heads.

• FENNEL FRONDS: In a previous interview, Erik Niel, executive chef at Easy Bistro, said he uses fennel fronds to flavor stocks. The fronds also can be dried and used as a spice, similar to dill.

Paneer

Boil 8 cups whole milk (can use milk past the expiration date).

When it becomes hot, add 3-4 tablespoons of vinegar.

Boil until the curds separate from the liquid.

Pour into a colander lined with a plain cloth.

Bind it tight. Put some weight on it so all the water comes out.

After 2-3 hours, the paneer is ready.

Source: Sitar of Chattanooga

Candied Citrus Peel Recipe

Orange rind or grapefruit rind (see note)

Granulated sugar

Water

Scrub the outside rinds thoroughly to remove any dirt. Put rind in cold water, bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes. Drain and repeat this process two more times. Drain, rinse with cold water and scrape away the pithy white part of the peel. Slice into strips.

For each cup of rind, prepare a sugar syrup of 1 cup of sugar to 1 cup of water. Put rind in syrup, and cook slowly until syrup is completely absorbed, several hours. Stir occasionally and watch carefully near the end of the process.

Cool the peel, and coat the strips with granulated sugar. Dry overnight on a rack. The sugared peel, when dry, may be dipped into melted semisweet chocolate.

Note: Grapefruit skins are much thicker than other citrus skins. Cooking them a while in boiling water helps loosen up the white, pithy part so it is easier to scrape off.

Source: www.simplyrecipes.com