Americans waste a staggering 30 to 40 percent of our food, meaning that close to a third of the edibles we produce ends up in landfills. Not only does this waste create harmful greenhouse gases as it decomposes, just think about the people that could be fed and the money and energy that could be saved if we could decrease the amount of food we throw away. Much of this refuse is food that has gone bad, but some of it is made up of perfectly edible items that we simply may not realize we can eat. Read on for eight things you might be trashing even though they're delicious, nutritious and fit for consumption.
Many people throw onions away when they start to sprout, but did you know that the leafy offshoots are actually edible? When you spot sprouts, place your onion in a cup filled with a little bit of water (just enough that the bottom of the onion sits in the water), and place it in a fairly sunny spot. After a few days, the sprouts will begin to resemble scallions, and you can use them in a similar fashion – to add a spicy, oniony kick to your favorite dishes.
Have you been eating apples wrong your whole life? According to Foodbeast, the average person discards about 30% of each apple they eat because we’ve been taught that the core is not edible. Instead of eating an apple from the side like you usually would, start biting from the bottom or top, ignoring the idea that there is a core. For a demonstration, check out Foodbeast’s handy video here.
Why is it that broccoli florets get all the glory, while the stalks are often trashed? Next time you make a recipe that calls for broccoli, save and steam or boil the stalks. Then simply puree them with some sauteed onions, salt, pepper and veggie stock for a savory and flavorful soup or try making this broccoli stem and red pepper slaw.
BASIL AND OTHER HERBS
Fresh herbs can add flavor, depth and freshness to a meal, but how many times have you purchased a bunch at the store only to use a handful and then have the rest go bad in the fridge after a few days? Next time you’re making a recipe that calls for herbs, head to your local nursery instead of the market and buy living, growing bunches that are still in soil. The uncut versions are obviously fresher than their cut counterparts and are oftentimes cheaper too. Continue growing your herbs at home by repotting them in fresh soil. Even if you don’t have the greenest thumb, they’ll last longer than the cut versions and you should be able to grow back seconds and thirds, stretching your dollar as well.
Like broccoli stalks, mushroom stems tend to get the short end of the stick even though they’re perfectly edible. Instead of throwing your mushroom stems away as some recipes suggest, save them and use them for stock or dice them up and sauté them with olive oil, chopped garlic, bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese (optional) and use the mixture to stuff the mushroom caps. Then bake in a 400-degree oven for 20 minutes or until tender.
LEMONS AND LIMES
Lemons and limes are some of most wasted fruits because we’re accustomed to just using their juices and then discarding them. Next time you juice a lemon or lime, save the rest of it, slice it and drop it into your water for a refreshing flavor boost. You can also use lemon and lime rinds as receptacles for all sorts of fun treats like these watermelon-shaped Jello shots.
When you buy carrots with their green tops still attached, it’s like buying two veggies in one! Instead of tossing the greens, use them in salads, turn them into pesto or save them for your next batch of veggie stock.
Kiwis are prized for their sweet flesh but their thin skin makes it a pain to peel them without cutting off and wasting large chunks of the fruit. Next time you reach for a kiwi, try leaving the skin (which is edible and packed with nutrients) on, or eat it with a spoon to get the most flesh out without making a mess.
Photos ©Yuka Yoneda