Our ancestors followed the ‘nose to tail’ philosophy of cooking - which meant using up every part of the hunt - flesh for food, skin for clothes, teeth for weapons, blood for ink. Today, years later, before every meal our kitchen counters are adorned with ribbons of colorful vegetable and fruit scraps resulting in a wastage of 30-40% of the total food bought. These scraps are highly nutritious and can be used in many interesting ways. Please bear with the domestic goddess in us and read on to find out how you can start living greener and make the most of these delicious natural jewels that are fruits, also known as the ‘root to leaf’ philosophy of eating:
Eat them whole - For reasons beyond our understanding, we, humans, have this horrible habit of undressing and beheading our food, resulting in strawberry tops, carrot tops, fennel tops - all three extremely high in antioxidants and Vitamin C and can be eaten whole. Cheekus, Kiwis and mangoes need not be peeled either - their skins are full of fibre and can be eaten along with the fruit and if you can’t imagine doing that, you can always add them to smoothies.
The glory of citrus peels: Citrus peels are an herbalist’s dream, also known as ‘bitters’ - and it is extremely silly to assume they’d taste anything different - but they are beautiful in their bitterness, whilst also bursting with gorgeous sharp oils and fibre! One can grate them and add them to a salad or use them to marinade and even cook meat. They can also be dried, crushed and used to make a special powder which can be used in a salt or sugar body scrub to remove dead skin from the body or even steeped in hot water to make digestive tea - a wonderful pick-me-up for those with gut problems.
Pickle your fruit: Pickling is an art with an enormous effort to glory ratio. Think about it - almost anything in this world can be pickled including and especially your fruit. Gather your mason jars because you are in for a treat - these delicious colorful relishes taste good with everything - in a salad, with dumplings, on top of toast and crackers, in a sandwich, in shawarmas (yes!) and even with plain old basmati rice on a lazy day. You can pickle your watermelon rinds - (the white watery crunchy bit, which by the way, is 100% edible, that you’d usually leave out), mango peels, pineapple cores, lemon, and orange peels, and even banana peels (you heard me - it makes for a lovely cheese board condiment). One can also make delicious jams using apple and peach peels. What’s more? They’re healthy, gut-friendly, and full of nutritional benefits.
Infusions: When you infuse fruit in some form of water or fat, you are allowing it to transfer its benefits into the said medium. A glass of water with strawberry tops will have ten times the benefits of regular water. Sweet and tarty apple tea can be made by infusing apple peels in warm water. One can also make fruit vinegar using different fruits and fruit scraps and infusing them in vinegar. One can add vodka and simple syrup to lovely lemon peels to create the most delicious home-made version of the Italian limoncello liqueur. Pineapple cores can also be used to make tepache de piña or tepache, which is a glorious gut-friendly Mexican beverage made by infusing pineapple cores and rinds in hot water with cinnamon and sugar - how delicious.
Nature stores nutrition everywhere, and what you eat influences your health, your mood, and your quality of life, therefore, consuming fruit scraps not only leaves a minimal impact on the environment but also guarantees you an all-rounded diet.
Writtern By:Tarana Shah