The hot weather brings with it the incentive to divert food scraps from the garbage or green bin before they start stinking. But what to do with the tomato ‘bums’, bread ‘bums’ and other nutritious ‘undesirables’ that the family is reluctant to eat?
1. Broccoli ‘trunks’: These were my favourite as a kid. My folks chopped them to look like tree-stumps, and cooked them. They taste surprisingly sweet! Alternatively, grate them as you would cabbage or carrots and use them to make a coleslaw. When consumed raw, these are high in vitamin C and sulfur-containing phyto-nutrients like indole-3-carbinol, the latter which supports the liver’s blood purification work.
2. Bruised or dehydrated fruit: Cut off bruises, moulds, holes (inspect carefully for visitors) from peaches, apples, mangos and oranges and add them to a smoothie. Or, juice them. While nutrient content begins to diminish shortly after harvest, the fibre and flavours remain.
3. Juicer mulch: The next time you make a muffin recipe that calls for wheat bran or flax meal (the latter which should NEVER be heated), replace it with an equivalent portion of your mulch. If you have a juicer, you’ll know that for each glass of fresh juice there is a bucket-full of fibre that goes to the green bin. To get the most liquid out of your fruit and vegetables, run the mulch through the juicer again immediately after collecting it from the receptacle. Keep doing this until the mulch is as dry as you can get it. Then, place the mulch into ice cube trays and freeze until needed for muffins or to add thickness to pureed soups.
4. Bread ‘bums’: I have always found it funny that we buy breadcrumbs in a box at the store when we have the raw materials to make them ourselves! Sure, the bums/ends of bread are often drier than the rest of the loaf, but for this reason they make good burger bun-halves! Or, save a few ‘bums’, toast them on a cookie sheet and then crumble for your own bread crumbs.
5. Bones: Your grandparents knew that poultry, beef, pork, and even fish bones (if carefully contained) can be used to make soup broths. Obviously, these will wind up in your compost bin afterwards but why not get some minerals and collagen out of them and into you first?
6. Pickle and sauerkraut juice: If you buy or make your own naturally fermented pickled foods, don’t pour the juice down the drain. It’s a substantial source of beneficial bacteria. Add the juice to your salad dressing for some extra zing and some gut-friendly probiotics.
7. Citrus peels: A citrus zester or microplane grater is a useful tool to have in the kitchen to obtain the highly-flavoured essential oils found in the citrus rind. Add the peel to your baking, and smoothies for an extra kick of citrus! Note: wash rinds thoroughly before zesting, and store unused zest in the fridge.
8. Tomato ‘bums’. If you enjoy tomatoes throwing these out is an unforgiveable crime. Bruschetta is one of the world’s easiest and healthiest condiments. Chop some tomatoes, some fresh basil leaves, a clove of garlic and top with some olive oil and voila–you have bruschetta! (I promise: you won’t be able to tell it was made with tomato ‘bums’.)
9. Squash pulp: Pumpkin, butternut squash, delicata, hubbard,…whatever your favourite squash, it is an excellent source of beta-carotene, an antioxidant. The pulp in the middle will make your muffins wonderfully moist! Use it in place of milk in those recipes. You may need to add a few minutes to the baking time, but it will be worth it! Another bonus is that any change in flavour of your muffins is imperceptible to most people, especially if you add pumpkin spices like clove, nutmeg and cinnamon. Enjoy!
10. Squash seeds: Roast them! For some reason it is easy to forget that although pumpkin is a squash, all other squash contain edible seeds, too. Squash seeds are one of the highest plant sources of zinc and vitamin E. They are also excellent fibre.
What tips or tricks can you add to this list?