What we choose to eat has a huge impact on the world – but just using more of what you buy could make a big difference. According to food waste prevention charity Love Food Hate Waste, if every person in the UK did not waste food at home for a day, it could have the same impact on greenhouse gases as planting half a million trees.
Completeness expert Ellen Tout shares some of her favorite ways to use all the edible parts of fruits and vegetables from The Complete Book of Vegan Compleating, which she wrote to share easy ways to incorporate the kitchen zero waste in our daily life.
Smoked ‘salmon’ carrot lox
Using a peeler along the length of one to two medium carrots, create ribbons of carrots. Press down firmly with the peeler so the ribbons are thin, but no shavings. Otherwise, use a knife and slice very thinly.
Put the carrot ribbons in a pot of water and bring to a boil.
Simmer for five minutes before straining and running under a cold tap. Put aside.
Now prepare the marinade. In a small baking dish, combine two tablespoons of olive oil, four teaspoons of light soy sauce, two teaspoons of liquid smoke, one teaspoon of brine from a jar of capers, a teaspoon of lemon juice, a sheet of crumbled nori sushi, a little pepper and about 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt.
Add the carrot ribbons and mix well. This can be left to marinate overnight or used immediately when ready.
Bake at 170°C/Mark 3 for 10-15 minutes.
Serve with cheeze vegetable cream, on toast, crackers or bagels. Garnish with a squeeze of lemon juice and a few capers and possibly a pinch of chopped carrot leaves.
Banana peel ‘bacon’
Banana peels are loaded with nutrients – rich in potassium, fiber, protein and the mood-boosting hormone serotonin.
Banana peel “bacon” is a great way to use up yellow to brown skins – green ones are too bitter. Tout’s trick is to store the skins in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days until you’re ready to use them.
To prepare the peels, wash them, remove the tough ends and separate them into long strips 2.5 to 5 cm wide. Use a spoon to scrape up the phloem bundles (white stringy bits). You should now have thin strips ready to marinate.
In a bowl, mix one tablespoon of dark soy sauce, two teaspoons of maple syrup, one teaspoon of water, 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder and ½ teaspoon of paprika smoked to create the smoky, salty and sweet taste.
Coat the banana peels and marinate for at least 20 minutes. I like to make it the night before for breakfast.
When ready, heat 1 tablespoon canola/canola oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
Fry each piece of zest for a few minutes on each side to achieve your desired texture – it can be left crispy or softer, to taste.
Easy universal stripping
Preparation: 15 minutes + maturation time
You will need:
1 litre/1 pint jar (or 2 smaller jars)
1 tablespoon of salt
80 ml vinegar of your choice
Enough vegetables to fill your jar, cut into bite-size pieces,
Optional aromatics, such as peppercorns, garlic cloves, mustard seeds, or chili
In a carafe, dissolve the salt in 240 ml of water and add the vinegar.
Spread the vegetables in the jar and pour the liquid over them.
Add the herbs and close the jar. The flavor will get stronger over time, but you can test it after an hour.
Store in the refrigerator and consume within a month or sterilize and seal your jar to store and cupboard for a few months.
If you have a lot more to marinate, this recipe is easily scaled up. The liquid should be one part vinegar to three parts water and adjust the salt accordingly.
Roasted pumpkin seeds
Finally, who throws away the free snacks? Many of us, but pumpkin and butternut squash seeds are very edible and full of fiber and protein, with a nutty flavor.
Separate, rinse and toast the seeds on a baking sheet in the oven at 180°C/Thermostat 4 for 10 minutes then add the granola and homemade cereal bars to the salads.
Or try tossing the seeds in a little oil, salt and spices, like smoked paprika, before cooking. Use it as a garnish for soups, avocado toast or as a snack.