When you think of all of the energy, skill and knowledge that growing vegetables takes, it’s shocking that approximately one third of all food produced in the world for human consumption is lost or wasted. Something as simple as reducing food waste is a powerful thing, and is the third most effective way to tackle climate change.
One of the ways to combat food waste is the so-called ‘compleating’ – simply put, it’s about eating the whole ingredient or food, and letting no edible parts go to waste. Making your veg go further by using more of the plant is a wonderful way to explore new recipes, pack more nutrients into your meals and save money, too.
Carrot top pesto
Last summer, a surprising recipe was a real hit at Riverford – carrot top pesto. Feathery carrot tops are full of flavour, and if they’re in reasonable condition they’re good to eat, so there’s no need to throw them on the compost. This pesto is great tossed through pasta, or drizzled over roasted carrots, new potatoes or greens. Try crumbling mozzarella or sheep’s cheese over the top, too. You can find the recipe here.
If you like bitter greens, beetroot leaves are a fantastic leafy side dish – they’re both delicious and highly nutritious. Simply chop and wash both leaves and stalks, and braise in chopped garlic and olive oil. Use a heavy-bottomed pan, lid on, medium heat, stirring occasionally. Add a good squeeze of lemon after 5 minutes, cook for another 5-10 minutes, season to taste and serve.
A stock pot to go
Having a stock pot on the go is a simple way to get every bit of goodness from veg trimmings. A decent homemade vegetable stock really improves any soup, stew, risotto or sauce. There’s no need to be exact with your veg – use up what’s left in your fridge. Make a large batch and freeze, ready for use in soups and stews. It will keep for up to a month in the freezer.
Be a breadwinner
It’s not just veg that is found in British bins – a massive 22.4 per cent of all bread is thrown away, so here are two delicious recipes that will transform your crusts into a really special dish.
Poor man’s Parmesan, or pangrattato, is made from breadcrumbs fried with garlic and chilli. It’s traditionally used to sprinkle over pasta dishes like this Linguine with purple sprouting broccoli and chilli, with poor man’s Parmesan. A versatile ingredient, you can also use it on salads, fish or chicken.
A Spanish dish that revives leftover stale bread by frying it in chunks with garlic, saffron and bay leaves is the rich and tasty migas. It’s good for brunch, lunch and dinner, especially if eaten with fried eggs. Make it into a substantial main with this seasonal Jerusalem artichokes & chorizo migas recipe.