Cutting food waste is one of this year’s hottest trends. Get in on the action at home by eating every part of the fruits, vegetables and herbs you buy. Not only will you help save the planet (you hero!), but you’ll also discover tasty and nutritious new dishes in the process.
Use peels, leaves or herbs to make loose-leaf tea, flavored olive oils or vinegars, infused water and liquors. Always wash thoroughly before using. For tea, dry peels in a single layer on a cookie sheet in a warm room for three to six days; stir daily until peels are brittle. Try: citrus peels, strawberry leaves, any herbs
Smoothies make an ideal home for nearly any leaves you’d like to use. Not a fan of full-on green smoothies? Toss just a few leaves into a berry smoothie for a nutrient boost that doesn’t affect the flavor. Or use greens for pesto: Combine them with basil, garlic, olive oil, pine nuts or walnuts, grated Parmesan, and salt and pepper. For tough or bitter stalks (like chard), simmer in salty water until tender and then puree with tahini, lemon juice, olive oil and garlic to make hummus. Try: beet and radish greens, carrot tops, cauliflower and broccoli leaves; veggie stems and stalks if you have a powerful blender
Greens, stalks and herbs work well in salads—if you know how to incorporate them. The key: Balance bold and bitter flavors, such as beet and carrot greens, with sweet or mild lettuces. Chop stalks or tougher leaves into tiny pieces. Try: beet and radish greens, carrot tops, cauliflower and broccoli leaves
Slip nearly any green or stalk into soups and stocks; the cooking will tenderize and remove bitterness. Also, finely chopped carrot greens can sub in for parsley in nearly any recipe. Try: beet, radish and carrot greens; cauliflower and broccoli stems; asparagus ends
Kale chips are all the rage, but you can make a chip out of nearly any greens. Also, when roasting broccoli, cauliflower and other veggies, brush olive oil on the leaves, sprinkle with salt and add them toward the end of the cooking time. Try: any greens