Nourish - 4 Foodie Tips for a Zero Food Waste Kitchen
Since being stuck at home for the last few weeks, I’ve been alerted to the presence of a multitude of random ingredients lingering in the corners of my cupboards and back of the fridge.
Usually, they stay lurking, but now they’re a joy to my eye! With my forced confinement, I can find new and interesting ways to jazz up my quarantine meals and reduce food waste in my kitchen.
If you also impulse-bought a bag of cacao butter or stockpiled two kilos of apples, let’s do something productive during our quarantine and finally start using them up! We’ll be covering how to use up vegetables, fruits, chickpea flour and cacao.
1 – Vegetables
Make Vegetable Stock
Vegetable stock is a really easy way to use up leftover veggies, peelings, stalks and leaves. It saves money and reduces food waste.
Simply save your scraps throughout the week and keep them in an airtight bag or container in the fridge. Store them in the freezer if you’re collecting scraps for longer than a week.
Vegetables that are good to use include :
- Onions, garlic, fennel (including the fronds), carrots and celery. These are great key ingredients in vegetable stock.
- You can alter the depth and flavour by adding leeks, scallions, ginger, potatoes, parsnips, pumpkin and skin, green beans, peppers, mushrooms (dried works great), corn, beet greens, chard, lettuce.
- Herbs like parsley and coriander are also great.
Vegetables to avoid:
Some scraps are better off going into the compost bin, as their flavours can be too overpowering or just unpleasant! These include:
- Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, turnips, swede and artichokes.
- And of course, there’s a difference between slightly past its prime and mouldy, so avoid any rotten veggies.
Throw them all in a pan, add water, any herbs/spices you want and some salt. Leave it to simmer for 25 minutes to an hour, then mash the veggies as you strain so you get all the best flavour into the stock.
Once you’ve got a lovely homemade stock, use it as the base to your soups, stews, curries and more! Speaking of which, these are other great ways to use up your random ingredients. Soups can use up a variety of things!
Make a Frittata
Raid the fridge and grab any random ingredients you have leftover from the last few days.
Cooked broccoli, roasted pepper, even leftover veggie curry from the day before. Fry them up, add eggs, let the bottom set for 5 mins and top with cheese if desired. Then you just pop it in the oven and cook until set.
We also have a frittata recipe here for more guidance.
Make Fire Cider
I have a whole blog post on this marvellous addition to your immune system staple cupboard.
It’s a great way to use up chilli peppers that are starting to turn, or that horseradish you purchased out of curiosity and then never knew what to do with it!
Turmeric roots can be thrown in, or perhaps you purchased a large bag of turmeric powder and want to find a way to use it. Now’s your chance!
If you’ve got salt, a clean jar and vegetables, you can ferment.
Here we have a recipe for beetroot kvass to get you started. And although the main feature here is the ruby red liquid, naturally the veggies themselves are perfect for consuming too.
All you need to do is grab any random vegetables you have, any herbs/spices you want, add them to a jar with a lid and cover with a saltwater brine.
The general rule is 1 tablespoon of salt per litre. After 5-10 days (or longer if you wish) you’ll have probiotic-rich lacto-fermented veggies to enjoy with every meal!
Carrots and ginger work well, as do cauliflower, red pepper, cucumbers, tomatoes.
If you’re interested in trying this, check out some recipes online as it’s important to get your salt:water ratio right. If you’re interested in fermentation, please read my previous articles:
- Candida Overgrowth: The Importance of Fermented and Cultured Foods on the Anti Candida Diet (Part Three)
2 – Fruit
Apple scrap vinegar
If you have a bag or two of apples and you’re happily turning them into pies and cakes, why not make yourself a healthy vinegar from apple scraps, sugar and water.
Apple scrap vinegar can be used in all the same ways you use apple cider vinegar.
Use it in salad dressing, in condiments, as a health shot or even clean with it or rinse your hair (a great alternative to conditioner).
Read my article on how to make apple scrap vinegar.
If you have a juicer and a lot of sad-looking fruit, make a juice out of them. Now is also a good time to add any carrots that are starting to wilt, or to use that turmeric root you don’t know what to do with!
Bake with it
Make a fruit crumble or fruit crumble bars. And of course, there’s always banana bread. Baking is a great way to use up random ingredients or mask things inside. Whoever thought sweet potato brownies or courgette cake would be so good?
3 – Chickpea Flour
Many people have no idea what to do with the bag of chickpea (aka gram flour) they have hiding in their cupboard. They don’t know why they bought it or what to do with it. Now if I’m describing you, grab that flour bag and let’s get cooking!
Socca is a traditional dish from Nice in France, and in general, the ingredients are almost always the same: chickpea flour, water, and olive oil. You can then add whatever veggies you want. Have a peek at our socca recipes here for more inspiration:
I’m a huge fan of these. Here we have a recipe for tasty courgette and chickpea fritters made using chickpea flour. They’re quick and easy to prepare as a snack, starter or light meal.
They’re also gluten-free which is a bonus for those looking to avoid it.
Of course, you can change up the ingredients, depending on what you have at home.
Sometimes you need a little help getting bean burgers to hold their shape. Add a little chickpea flour to your veggie burgers for a good gluten-free binder. You only need a few tablespoons in your mix of veggies and beans to do the trick.
Sometimes soups need a little help thickening up. Instead of using flour or another starch, stir in a little finely-ground chickpea flour. This helps to absorb liquids without it clumping.
4 – Raw Cacao
After discovering how to make raw chocolate, I went a bit mad and purchased A LOT of cacao powder and cacao butter. If you also impulse-bought a bag of raw cacao in the last year, let’s talk about ways to use it.
Un-Bake With It
Of course, there’s raw chocolate. Who doesn’t need that in their lives right now?
- Here’s a recipe for raw cacao florentines using both raw cacao powder and butter. They’re very…. very good!
- There’s also this delectable raw chocolate orange cheesecake.
Maybe drinking it is more up your alley? Use it in a latte!
Matcha latte with cacao butter – grate roughly ½ a teaspoon of cacao butter into your morning matcha. Whisk so it gets fully incorporated and add your hot milk. You can also throw both the matcha tea and milk into a blender with the cacao butter and a bit of honey for extra froth and sweetness.
Also, check out our previous article on 7 superfood lattes you need to try. You can add cacao butter to any of them.
*Please note this is not a substitute for medical advice. Always consult your doctor before starting any new supplement plan or diet if you are taking medication or have a diagnosed condition.