This past weekend I did my demo for my internship with SEL at the last Exeter Market, and it was so amazing to see how many people were interested and excited about reducing their food waste! I had multiple folks come up to me throughout the day to say that they had come to the market because they were interested in my demo! Such a cool feeling!
For those of you who were unable to stop by last Saturday, I want to share what I did. Most of you know by now that I’m a food waste freak, and this demo was my last chance as an intern to share this with the public. I set up a table showing how to use parts of veggies that are normally tossed when preparing meals. Due to the constant availability of products in grocery stores and how we have grown up, we as consumers in the U.S. have lost the ‘need’ and drive to use a food item until it cannot be used anymore. Because of this, recipes or ways to use all of a veggie have been lost throughout the years. If a veggie starts to go bad, many of us go to the grocery store and replace it, rather than finding a new way to use it and prevent it from landing in either a landfill or compost pile.
Some items that are usually wasted in the kitchen include: potato skins (just rinse them off before you cook them!), the ends of veggies (just a little crunchier), the insides of peppers (you can eat the white parts!), the stem spots on tomatoes (a little crunchy, but still okay to eat!), the core of an apple (don’t eat the seeds!), carrot tops (use in salads), root veggie greens (saute or stir fry), and much more!
I made two snacks with normally wasted veggie parts for people to try at the farmers market. The first was broccoli chips, which are exactly like kale chips, but with the stalk of the broccoli plant. Growing up I mainly ate the top of broccoli and didn’t really know what to do with the rest of it. Since then I’ve found the stalk to be really tasty in stir fries and as chips. Here’s the recipe I use:
Makes about 1 cup “chips”
- 2 stems broccoli, coarsely peeled (just trim up a bit)
- extra virgin olive oil
- kosher salt
- ground pepper
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Thinly slice broccoli stems, using a mandoline if available. Lightly toss slices with olive oil, salt and pepper. Arrange slices in a single layer on a sheet pan and roast for approximately 10 minutes, until lightly golden-tinged at edges.
Depending on the size of your sheet pan, you may have to roast slices in batches. Also… lightly salting slices and allowing them to sit for 20 minutes, before thoroughly rinsing and drying them, might produce a slightly crisper consistency. I don’t mind the fact that the chips aren’t super crispy. Their flavor more than makes up for this. And, don’t be concerned if some chips char up a bit. They are the best!
The second recipe I shared at market was a swiss chard stem pesto, which really you can use any stem for, be it kale, collards, etc. Here is the recipe for that!
Kale Stem Pesto
Serves: about 1 cup of pesto
- 1 heaping cup chopped stems from kale, swiss chard, collard greens or other leafy vegetable
- 3 cloves of garlic
- ½ cup toasted walnuts or pine nuts
- big handful of parsley and/or basil
- juice & zest of 1 lemon
- salt & pepper
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup olive oil
- optional – drizzle of balsamic vinegar
- optional – grated parmesan or pecorino cheese
Place stem pieces in a small pot and fill it with enough water to cover them halfway up. Toss in the garlic and a few pinches of salt. Simmer until the stems become knife-tender (about 20 minutes).
Drain and let cool.
In a food processor, pulse the cooked stems. Add everything else, drizzling in the olive oil at the end. Taste and adjust to your liking.
I can’t believe how quickly this semester has flown by… This is my last blog post as a Seacoast Eat Local intern, and I’m sad to say so. I’m so grateful for every experience I’ve had, and everyone who helped me along the way. Jill and Shelly are AMAZING people, and I’m so proud of everything they do with the SNAP program at markets! With that being said, this is not the last of me that you’ll see. This summer I’ll be working at Wake Robin Farm in Stratham, NH for the 5th year in a row!!! So come visit me at the Portsmouth and Dover farmers markets! Until then- Thanks for reading.
All the best,