In the United States, 40% of our food supply is wasted—that’s an incredible amount. Joel Gamoran, national chef for Sur la Table and the star of the show Scraps, joins the Clever Cookstr to talk about how we can reduce food waste.
A lot of food waste happens throughout the production cycle, but all of us who have been faced with those wilted greens in the back of the crisper drawer know that plenty happens at home as well. What are some tips for making sure we use the food we buy before it goes bad? Joel Gamoran joins us to share them.
1) When you trim and peel vegetables and fruit to make a recipe, before throwing away your discard pile, step back and take a look at it! Unwanted celery leaves, carrot tops, mushroom trimmings, and more have tons of potential, from omelettes to stock. They're filled with new textures and flavors that can be exciting to try. But the first step is to stop thinking of them solely as garbage. Spend some time with your scraps, getting comfortable with them and getting to know them, rather than tossing them right away.
2) "Gateway scraps" like stale bread can be an entry point into reducing food waste even for those who aren't ready to make a meal of potato peelings. Make breadcrumbs or croutons! You'll save money without much extra work.
3) Save your fat, too. Try tossing potatoes in leftover chicken fat or beef fat from searing meat instead of olive oil.
4) When you're at the farmers' market, look under the tables and check out what less attractive vegetables, beet greens, etc. are hiding under there. Sometimes farmers will happily part with them for free.
5) Just like food, food waste is regional. Salmon heads and bones might be a go-to useful scrap for people in Seattle used to making seafood stock, but might be overwhelming for a home cook in the south. Start with the scraps from the ingredients that are already local to you that you're already familiar with.
6) Freeze your scraps! Just like meals, many scraps will sit happily in the freezer until you're ready to use them.