It’s time for us to get savvy with our food waste solution. In South Africa, about 10 million tonnes of food go to waste every year, according to a report by WWF SA, with 1,4 million tonnes of it estimated to come from households. This food waste is costing our country R21,7 billion a year, says a study published in the South African Journal of Science.
Read more: How to regrow your fruit and vegetables
That’s not a number to be sniffed at! But did you know that a lot of food scraps can actually be saved and savoured? In fact, many of them contain an array of nutrients and health benefits, which means good for you, good for the budget, and good for the environment too. Check out these healthy kitchen leftovers and why they shouldn’t be destined for the bin. Time to be a little more waste conscious? We think so!
A few food waste solutions that don’t involve a compost bin:
Whether it’s potatoes or carrots, we usually peel then bin the skin. But, the peelings are fibre-packed and full of antioxidants, which lie in larger amounts just beneath the skin.
Why not… Turn peelings into healthy chips? Spritz with olive oil and bake at 200°C for 15-20 min until crisp.
Try this: Bacon & corn baked potato skins
Ditch the salt shaker! Parmesan rind is a great alternative for adding a savoury flavour to dishes – great news for keeping blood pressure under control.
Why not… Add rind to stocks, pasta sauces, soups or risotto while they’re cooking? Remove before serving.
Try this: Mushroom, Polenta & Parmesan stuffing
We normally peel off several layers with the papery outer skin, but these outer layers are high in dietary fibre and rich in antioxidants.
Why not… Combine with other veggie peelings like carrot to make stock? Cover with water, add a bay leaf and peppercorns and simmer for 15 min. Strain, divide into portions, cool and freeze.
Cauliflower is part of the same family as cabbage and kale, so it’s packed with similar nutrients, such as energising B vitamins, immune-boosting vitamin C, and vitamin K, for bone health. And, the leaves are just as tasty as the florets.
Why not… Steam leaves to eat as a vegetable side or add to stir-fries?
The peel is rich in hesperidin, an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties, and polymethoxylated flavones, which may lower cholesterol. The zest is full of flavour, too, so can be used instead of salt and sugar.
Why not… Use the zest? Wash fruit then grate or cut off zest, avoiding the bitter white pith. Sprinkle over fish or chicken, add to salad dressings, stir into yoghurt, add to a chicken cavity before roasting, or place strips in a bottle of olive oil or even gin for citrus-infused flavours. Too many options!
The stalk, like the florets, provides potassium, which can help to control high blood pressure, folate, needed for healthy red blood cells, and vitamin C, for an immune system boost.
Why not… Cut up stems and add to stir fries, or even use them to make broccoli soup?
Try this: Broccoli & blue cheese soup
It’s not everyone’s favourite when it comes to toast and sandwiches, but the ends and crusts of a wholewheat loaf provide B vitamins, calcium and fibre. Plus, a German study found that the bread crust contained about eight times the amount of a cancer-fighting antioxidant known as pronyl-lysine than the breadcrumbs.
Why not… Blitz up crusts to make breadcrumbs then freeze? Or break into small pieces, spray with oil, bake until crisp and – voilà! – croutons!