Society’s focus on producing and consuming food that is quick and convenient to prepare is partly to blame for current levels of food waste. Returning to the more holistic ways our grandparents would have bought and prepared food can help reduce this.
It’s about making the most of the whole plant by respecting and treating fruit and vegetables as a whole entity. Off-cuts (peel, stalks, outer leaves, etc) that are usually thrown away can be used for stock. You can freeze them as you produce them to collect the variety and quantity needed to create a tasty broth or bouillon. Broccoli and cauliflower stems can be used to make a core slaw (see page 21 of the Amazing Waste Cookbook), chard and asparagus stems can be turned into pickles. Potato skins can be chopped into fries or roasted (check out page 28 of the Amazing Waste Cookbook). Kale stems can be made into a pesto-style sauce (check out page 23 of the Amazing Waste Cookbook), and carrot tops can add crunch to salsas, or be used in stocks and soups to give greater depth of flavour.
The Root to fruit philosophy encourages us to think about where our food comes from and its environmental impact throughout the supply chain, from the farm to our kitchen. It began as a zero-waste philosophy and grew into a holistic approach to food sustainability.
Take a look at Tom Hunt’s ideas for using beetroot, cauliflower and vegetable off-cuts in a chicken soup.
‘Nose-to-tail’ is a cooking method that ensures no edible parts of an animal are wasted, literally using everything from the nose to the tail.
Cooking using every part of an animal carcass is far from a new idea since it was common for households to rear their own animals, particularly pigs, and consume everything, but the term 'Nose to Tail' was coined by chef Fergus Henderson in 1995.
In the past, small-holders would raise a pig or a cow over the spring and summer, butcher it in the autumn, and make use of every part over the winter which included preserving parts for use the next year.
For most people today, the only whole animal you get the opportunity to buy is a chicken (or other poultry), but purchasing this rather than just the breast or the legs means you’ll spend less and you can easily portion it yourself with a small knife. Here's a 5 minute video on how to portion a whole chicken.
The nose-to-tail philosophy considers how the way we consume our food impacts the environment. By letting nothing go to waste, this philosophy ensures that all the resources that went into creating that product (water, land, feed, carbon, etc) are cherished.
“Because if an animal gets killed, if a fish gets killed, you have to commit yourself to using the whole thing, it’s simple, basic logic.” Josh Niland - The Whole Fish Cookbook.
Here are some tips on how to make use of more parts of the animal from ‘Clean Eating Magazine’.
If eating the unusual parts of the animal is one step too far for you at the moment, you can still make a difference by making sure that you only buy meat from butchers that can prove they use as many parts of a slaughtered animal as possible.
With all the small-scale, organic farms in the Sea to Sky, there are also ample options for pig-shares and other animal-share programs. See the next section for details.