Saturday, 2 June 2018

Nose-To-Tail, and Root-To-Fruit

I continue to work hard at the Zero Waste concept. It does seem important to keep a balance, and not beat myself up about the occasional 'failures'. Like accidentally leaving behind the end of a sliced loaf in a bag on Sunday, and returning from Cornerstones to find three very mouldy slices which had not survived the hot weekend. Wasting bread is pretty rare for us these days.
But I have just come across this phrase "Nose-To-Tail, and Root-To-Fruit" - it has been around almost a decade, but I've only just encountered it. It is the principle that when you eat meat, you endeavour to make the most of every part  of the animal, and when you eat plants, you try to utilise as much of the plant as possible, thus avoiding wastage.
There's an Andalusian saying "The only part of a pig you cannot eat is its squeak". I rarely purchase/eat a whole pig, but I certainly get my money's worth from chickens. 

I first mentioned this top tip five years ago, but it bears repeating here -You do know, don’t you, that M&S chickens in their Meal Deals are all different weights? Get down on your knees, and root around at the back of the shelf[as I do!] and you may find a chicken which is MUCH larger than the ones at the front – but at the till it’s still a tenner for the lot.      
The Guardian carried an article this week inviting top chefs to suggest some ways of working towards a ZW kitchen.                  
Jamie mentioned bread waste, Ryan Blackburn talked about using chickens, and Mary-Ellen McTague mentioned pickling, freezing and puréeing. Tom Kerridge advised us to 'shop little, and often' so things don't languish in the fridge and go off, and Tim Bouget says 'put less on your plate' so you don't scrape uneaten stuff into the bin.
I thought all of the tips above were sensible, and already practise them. But there were a few interesting ideas I'd not met before;
Nicolas Balfe says "Rather than a supermarket cauliflower, stripped of all its leaves and wrapped in cellophane... get one that has still got its beautiful green plumage. Don’t be afraid of using everything...sauté the florets, stir-fry the leaves or toss them in turmeric and ras-al-hanout and griddle them,  make a purée from the caramelised stalks. 
Gouranga Bera suggests using "leftover vegetables from your Sunday roast to make pakora. Any vegetable is fine. Thinly slice, add chopped onion, ginger, garlic, whatever spices you like and chickpea flour (about one-fifth of the total), make into balls in your hand, then deep-fry until crispy."
Skye Gyngell had some ap-peel-ing notions "Keep all vegetable peelings. Almost the best flavour is to be found in carrot, beetroot or celeriac skins...Make a purée using potato peelings cooked in salted water with herb stalks, then pureed with butter, pepper and buttermilk. To turn that into soup, omit the butter and thin using stock...Make a peel coleslaw – at this time of year, from asparagus, young carrots, leek tops, beetroot and radish leaves – which you can dress with creme fraiche. Stir in honey, salt and any soft herbs for a nice summer accompaniment to roast chicken."
I do dislike throwing away citrus peel, so I may follow Tom Hunt's recipe "Once squeezed, good unwaxed lemons can be finely sliced, massaged with salt, packed in a jar and, after four days at room temperature, ferment into this lovely sour condiment. Use that as a relish or in any dish to replace lemons. The other day, I made olives, feta and pasta with preserved lemon. It was the best pasta I’ve had for ages." or Tim Bouget's idea- dry out citrus peels, then blitz to a powder to add intense orange or lemon zest to cakes.
Unlike Hong Sui LI, I dont often have a head of leftover prawn heads, so I'll not be making her deep friend dish. And I'm still wary of sauerkraut, so I shall ignore Josh Overington's recipe .
What is are best 'Love Food-Hate Waste' Tips you have used?



  1. I like the citrus peel idea. My wife is Chinese and they are skilled at using every part of an animal, hence the very surprising bits you find in their soup noodle dishes etc. One little discovery is if, when you buy broccoli, you get one with a longish stem, peel it and then slice into centimetre wide strips these can be stir fried. They are tender and unexpectedly sweet.

  2. When we have left over vegetables that I can't use in the next day or so, I bag them all together and freeze them.
    At a later date ,with frozen stock, I have the basis for soup or add them to a casserole.( about 40 minutes before serving) Sue

  3. I put almost all the food items you mentioned into a container, and tip it out for the chickens every day or two. Not everyone is able to keep chickens, though!

  4. I keep a bag of vegetable peelings in the freezer in order to make stock and I save bones from meat or poultry for the same thing. Any vegetables that are starting to look a bit sad get made into soup or a puree. Fruit that is getting a bit soft is either frozen for smoothies or is cooked gently and then frozen to be used later in crumbles or to top pancakes. I've also started shopping more often for my fresh produce so that I actually use up what I have before purchasing any more. I have a pantry in case of emergencies with canned fruit & veg etc. so try to concentrate on the fresh items now and not letting anything go to waste.
    I read that article but didn't take much new away from it - I was a wee bit disappointed actually.
    I still have the link to Shirley Goode's old Blog - now that was a woman who knew how to be frugal and still cook amazing meals!

  5. All excellent ideas!! I once had 20 oranges and 20 lemons which had been used for an electricity workshop for Science at school and I couldn't bear to chuck them just because they'd been stabbed with electric probes by kids so I zested and juiced all 40 pieces and froze them into separate ice-cube trays, to be used for recipes that call for either zest or juice. If you freeze them into 1 tablespoon quantities or 'The zest or juice of 1 lemon' portions, this speeds up many recipes!! Someone also suggested using the zested and juice remaining pith shells for germinating seeds in! Not sure if it works for everything but it means you can just plant them once ready!


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