Wasted!

Chefs share tips to re­duce food waste

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FOOD - By Emily Ryan

Want to spend less on gro­ceries and help the en­vi­ron­ment? Area chefs are send­ing out an SOS, ask­ing home cooks to “save our scraps.”

“The cel­ery butts, the mush­room stems — all those things are great for stock,” ex­plained ex­ec­u­tive chef Chi­wishi Joy Ab­ney, an in­struc­tor at the Wayne Art Cen­ter in Wayne. “I take my scraps and I save them. I freeze them un­til I’m ready.”

So does chef Art Ro­man of The Kitchen Work­shop in Paoli be­cause food waste, he said, “drives me nuts.”

Ro­man thinks out­side the trash can, freez­ing ev­ery­thing from Parme­san rinds to shrimp peels to corn cobs. “That’s go­ing to save you a ton of money at the gro­cery store in­stead of buy­ing stock,” Ab­ney ad­vised. “Very rarely do we throw any­thing away. We re­use and re­use un­til we can’t re­use any­more.”

An­other sug­ges­tion: Skip the peeler.

“I en­cour­age peo­ple to bake with the (ap­ple) skins on and not peel car­rots for like car­rot soup,” said reg­is­tered di­eti­tian Emma Fogt.

Also try cook­ing car­rots tops or beet greens.

“Beet greens are high in vi­ta­mins and an­tiox­i­dants and can be pre­pared just like Swiss chard or kale,” de­scribed Amy John­son, agri­cul­ture di­rec­tor for Greener Part­ners in Col­legeville. “They cook up into the most ten­der greens, and the stems are far more ten­der than those of kale and col­lards.”

Re­duc­ing waste can be tasty and trendy.

“It’s cer­tainly be­come a chic thing nowa­days,” said Denise Polk, a pro­fes­sor at West Chester Univer­sity. There’s “a lot of move­ment to use what would oth­er­wise be thrown away.” Left­overs in­cluded. “I am some­times still star­tled by the num­ber of peo­ple I know who say, ‘I don’t do left­overs,’” she added. “Be smarter about pur­chas­ing, so you’re us­ing up what is con­sum­able.”

Back at the Wayne Art Cen­ter, stu­dents ar­rived for a pri­vate

cook­ing class to find their in­gre­di­ents on trays, ready to go. What lit­tle waste re­mains a fel­low teacher col­lects for com­post.

“We’re thank­ful for her be­cause that helps,” Ab­ney said with a smile.

FOOD WASTE PILOT PRO­GRAM DID YOU KNOW?

“About a third of the food pro­duced for hu­man

con­sump­tion in the United States goes to waste. And about 95-per­cent of that either goes to a land­fill or gets in­cin­er­ated,” ex­plained Denise Polk, a pro­fes­sor at West Chester Univer­sity awarded two grants from the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency.

She’s work­ing with West Chester Bor­ough and its Busi­ness Im­prove­ment District on a pilot pro­gram com­post­ing food waste from restau­rants and other fa­cil­i­ties.

One day, Polk en­vi­sions curb­side pickup for res­i­dents too. Mean­while, she

en­cour­ages peo­ple to shop smarter and do­nate ex­tra food.

“We have big plans,” Polk said.

Veg­etable Broth

We rec­om­mend us­ing up all of your veg­gie kitchen scraps by mak­ing a broth bag. Save roots, stalks, leaves, ends and peel­ings from veg­eta­bles such as onions, car­rots, cel­ery, leeks, scal­lions, gar­lic, fen­nel, chard, let­tuce, pota­toes, parsnips, green beans, squash, bell pep­pers, egg­plant, mush­rooms and as­para­gus.

Corn cobs, win­ter squash skins, beet greens and herbs like pars­ley and cilantro are also good ad­di­tions. Scraps from the fol­low­ing veg­eta­bles are bet­ter off go­ing into the com­post bin, as their fla­vors can be too over­pow­er­ing: cab­bage, Brus­sels sprouts, broc­coli, cau­li­flower, turnips, rutaba­gas, ar­ti­chokes.

Freeze your bag of ac­cu­mu­lat­ing scraps. Once the bag is full, add to a stock pot and cover with water. Less water means that your stock will be more con­cen­trated; more water makes a lighter-fla­vored stock. Set the pot over medium-high heat and bring it to just un­der a boil. Let sim­mer and cook for about an hour. Take the pot off the stove and re­move all the veg­eta­bles with a slot­ted spoon. Set your strainer over a big bowl and line it with cheese­cloth. Pour the stock through. Di­vide the stock into stor­age con­tain­ers, cool com­pletely and then freeze.

Beet Greens

Finely chop 1 bunch of beet greens and stems. Finely chop 1 clove gar­lic and 1 large shal­lot or ½ medium yel­low onion and cook in about 2 ta­ble­spoons olive oil over medium heat, cov­ered, un­til soft­ened. Add the chopped stems, ¼ cup water and a gen­er­ous pinch of salt or two and sim­mer cov­ered, un­til the stems are just ten­der, about 5 min­utes. Add the greens and cook, cov­ered, un­til ten­der, about 3 min­utes. Turn off heat and add a splash of bal­samic vine­gar and cover un­til ready to eat.

PHOTO BY EMILY RYAN

Don’t let rot hap­pen to you! Re­duce waste by buy­ing smarter, eat­ing left­overs, freez­ing ex­tras and scraps.

PHOTO BY EMILY RYAN

Ex­ec­u­tive chef Chi­wishi Joy Ab­ney pre­pares for a class at the Wayne Art Cen­ter.

PHOTO BY EMILY RYAN

Cu­ri­ous about com­post­ing? Learn more at Spring­ton Manor Farm’s “com­post park” in Glen­moore.

PHOTO BY EMILY RYAN

Ex­ec­u­tive chef Chi­wishi Joy Ab­ney teaches classes at the Wayne Art Cen­ter.

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