by Alison Spiegel, huffingtonpost.com
Alison Spiegel is a food writer and editor, a traveler at heart and a lover of croissants.
Food waste is a huge problem, and that’s an understatement. According to World Bank estimates, up to one-third of the food produced worldwide is thrown away. The proportions get worse in the United States, where Americans throw away almost half of their food. All this is going on while about 49 million Americans and about 805 million people worldwide are food insecure.
There are a lot of methods to combat food waste. You can show up to the supermarket or farmer’s market with a plan so that you don’t buy too much food and end up throwing it away. You can freeze a lot more food than you might expect. (Did you know you could freeze guacamole, for example?) You can use neat little tricks to help your food last longer in the fridge, like wrapping washed greens in paper towels and separating your onions and potatoes. You can also compost — and we swear it’s neither scary nor difficult. You can also learn to use the whole vegetable.
It’s time to stop throwing away your turnip greens and carrot tops. Hang on to your broccoli stalks and kale stems too. You can use all these pieces to make stock, of course, but you can also sauté them, shave them into salads and even mix them into veggie burgers. From world renowned chefs to home cooks, everyone has been celebrating vegetables recently, no longer relegating them to humble side dishes and instead putting them on center stage. To these chefs and cooks, using the whole vegetable isn’t viewed as an inconvenient responsibility, but an awesome challenge, a way to showcase creativity and a way to honor vegetables.
In her forthcoming book A Girl And Her Greens: Hearty Meals For The Garden, renowned chef April Bloomfield shows off the beauty of using whole vegetables, with recipes like Roasted Carrots With Carrot-Top Pesto And Burrata and Grilled Whole Tokyo Turnips. Let Bloomfield (author of A Girl And Her Pig, and a chef famous for meat-centric restaurants like The Breslin and The Spotted Pig, where the most famous item on the menu is the burger) inspire you to love vegetables — and the whole vegetable at that.
When you’re ready to dig a little deeper, check out Tara Duggan’s Root-to-Stalk Cooking: The Art of Using the Whole Vegetable. Once you start using broccoli stalks and carrot tops, you’ll never go back to tossing them in the trash again.