After reading an article in the NYtimes about food waste, I've suddenly become very aware of the food scraps that I indulgently toss into the trash and compost. Even though we have a compost (a couple actually), those little lumbrices (worms) can only do so much.
What would a banana peel taste like if it was candied? How long would it take for an apricot tree to grow from these pits? (Answer found.) Can you make onion soup from the outer layers of the onion?
When we pay for fruits and vegetables, we generally pay by weight. Apples, for instance, cost about $1.25 a pound in North America-- depending on if its local, organic, conventionally-grown, in-season, out of season, from a farmers' market, from a convienence store etc. How much of this apple do you actually eat? Do you eat the core? Do you keep the seeds to donate to a community garden or to plant in your own backyard? Do you peel the apple because your kids (or you) don't like the texture of the apple's skin? After cutting the apple down to edible pieces, how much are you left with? Maybe 60-90%. That might not seem like an alarming amount, but think about how many apples you eat in a week, month, year or lifetime. That's a lot of waste, per person.
A contributor to our wastefulness of food, however, is the stigma we have about what food should look like. One of the champion commitments of the food movement is to change and challenge notions of what food actually is. Whereas Chilean waxed-to-perfection apples in the grocery store certainly resemble pictures in a children's book, there are other examples of edible fruit that may have bruises, scratches or bumps. The importance of aesthetics has become a high priority of our food consumption and waste.
There's certainly more to a plant than just broccoli florets or the bulb of the beet.
To begin: an experiment in Food Scrap Merriment..