According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) “Up to one third of all food is spoiled and squandered before it is consumed by people. It is an excess in an age where almost a billion people go hungry, and represents a waste of the labour, water, energy, land and other inputs that went into producing that food.” The FAO goes on to detail how production and consumption patterns ranging from the global food industry to individual grocery shoppers contribute to this staggering loss of sustenance.
The “Project Lunchbox: Let’s Eat!” community empowers individuals to ignite change within the global food system through their united voices, collective wallets, and communal actions. To that end, I’m instituting a new series entitled “Food Waste Hacks” to educate followers about how to maximize the shelf-life of ingredients, put each component of an ingredient to proper culinary use, and ultimately decrease waste.
Food Waste Hacks: Carrots
Storage: As I mentioned in my Musing of a CSA Shareholder series, my family and I became CSA shareholders this past summer. My Mom implemented various strategies to preserve the freshness of the produce we bought. In order to maximize the shelf-life of the carrots, my Mom carried out a three-step process. First, she cut the carrot greens off from the actual carrot. The carrot greens, wrapped in a damp paper towel, were placed into the refrigerator for future recipes (some of which I’ll detail below!) Next, she placed the carrots into a glass container and then covered the carrots with cold water. After that, she placed the container in the refrigerator, and voila, both the carrots and the carrot greens stayed crunchy and fresh for weeks.
Carrot greens: Instead of disposing them, toss a handful of greens into a salad of arugula, Romaine, or spinach to create a DIY spring mix. Or, sauté the carrot greens with olive oil and garlic cloves to mimic sautéed spinach, a popular side dish. Also, enjoy the carrot greens for breakfast in omelettes, scrambled eggs, or as a replacement for spinach in smoothies.
Carrot peels: I never peel carrots–but if the texture of the peels bothers you, be sure to compost them rather than tossing them. If you don’t compost, no worries! Try incorporating the peels into the base of a homemade spaghetti sauce, or the broth of a soup or stew.
Carrots: There are numerous innovative ways to incorporate carrots into your diet without tossing them into a garden salad or dipping them in your favorite hummus. Think outside the box and try one of my Uncle’s go-to breakfast items: Toast a whole-wheat English muffin, slather the muffin with peanut butter, and sprinkle grated carrots on top. Expand your horizons by preparing carrot and ginger soup, rather than traditional autumnal soups such as butternut squash. Roast a trio of carrots, parsnips, and apples in balsamic vinegar and olive oil for a quintessential fall vegetable dish. Finally, I came across a recipe for Parmesan Carrot Fries today that I cannot wait to try…click this link for sophie.gardner’s recipe on the website, Fooducate.
There you have it…innovative ways to use an entire carrot, from the greens to the peels. I hope that you find this new series informative and useful! Please use the ‘comments’ section to share your thoughts on food waste, and also to add your own food waste hacks for carrots. How do you incorporate carrots into both traditional and non-traditional recipes?
Until Next Week…Plan Well, Pack Well, Live Well,