May: Instead of the Trash Bin

Welcome to another edition of our Value Of Waste Journal. The past two months I have been telling you about food waste and ways to plan and preserve in order to prevent wasting food.

This month I would like to share with you some alternatives to the trash bin, ways to use produce and scraps that are not so nice anymore but are still edible. So get ready for some scrappy cooking

Tired of banana bread? 

Bananas are very often found in trash bins, most often because they are brown and mushy when overripe. I personally stopped buying them some time ago because of how far from Europe they are produced but I know how tasty and practical they are. However they can be very often found discounted in supermarkets when they don't look so nice anymore and that's when I feel the urge to save them from the trash bin. If you're familiar with dumpster diving you also have most likely encountered big amounts of overripe bananas going to waste. 

Banana bread is a now very common way of using these overripe bananas but it can get a bit boring after some time and doesn't use more than a few bananas at a time. 

So I thought I'd share with you my favorite overripe banana from the dumpster trick! And it involves everybody's favorite: ICE CREAM

Got enough dry bread to feed an army of ducks? 

How about you make breakfast instead? 

Bread is the nr.1 most wasted food in the world and while there are business initiatives for reusing it like brewing beer, making pasta, new bread, bread crumbs and croutons, it is also very easy to save the one you have at home. 

So my suggestion is this very simple and tasty breakfast or afternoon treat: French Toast.

I am french and for me it is a classic, we even call it "Pain Perdu" which literally means "lost bread". It is also made in various ways depending on the countries, Hungary has a savory version, Canadians pour maple syrup on it, there are recipes for everybody's taste. So I suggest you try out mine next time you have dry bread you don't know what to do with! 


Turning waste into a delicious Italian liquor? 

I know it doesn't sound real but it is very much possible and easy to do!! All you need is the zest of some bio or untreated citrus fruit to make the magic happen! 

When I got the opportunity to get kilos of bio citrus fruits from a former neighbor who moved to the south of Spain and was coming back for a visit, I started looking into what to do with all these fruit peels. And the idea came: Limoncello! So I reached out to an Italian friend and got the recipe from his Mamma who swore it was "molto facile!". Then I of course had to give it a try and it was an immediate success

Even if you don't have big amounts of peel at a time you can have a jar of citrus macerating in your kitchen for a while and add to it as you go. 

-Abuse of alcohol is dangerous for the health: consume with moderation.-

Are vegetable peels really destined to the compost bin? 

Vegetable peels can be a big source of waste, especially on a vegetarian or vegan diet when you cook a lot at home. Of course you can compost them but not all of us have a garden and easy options for composting (we'll get into that next month tho!). 

I personally don't really like to use the industrial broth cubes but I sometimes decide to make risotto in the last minute and having some always ready broth at home is a must. So this recipe is really dear to my heart. 

You can either make a big batch of liquid vegetable stock and freeze it or dehydrate your vegetable peels and make a powder.

Many recipes are available online and of course as always, use what you have! You can check out these two videos for inspiration!

In the video they use a dehydrator but it is doable in the oven. My mom even makes the powder one by letting the peels slowly dry on top of her fire stove for example. 

Sourdough is amazing but what to do with all this discard? 

Like many people you might have hopped on the sourdough making train during the pandemic. And while sourdough bread is delicious, for your starter to be really active and effective you need to regularly discard some. That might generate quite some waste which is why I have a solution for you: making crackers!! 

Here is a recipe I found online that is simple and delicious

You can find the original recipe that this is inspired from here

Another alternative is to make sourdough discard pancakes. I don't have an exact recipe for it, according to a baker friend of mine you can just add some water and salt to your discard but I'm sure there are recipes out there if you don't want to jump into the unknown and eyeball it.

When it comes to preserving large amounts of fruits in summer, grandmas know best!

The most efficient way to make the most out of big amounts of very ripe fruits before they go bad is making jam, and when it comes to jam making, grandmas are experts! So you can either try out my recipe or ask your grandma for hers! Preserving food is a big part of our cultures that is disappearing since we have access to industrial food in supermarkets. Reconnecting with our traditions and passing on the knowledge of our elders is another very nice part of learning to prevent waste and make the most out of our produce

Another option if you're not so much into jam is to make chutney which can accompany various dishes for a more savory approach. It is basically jam that includes vinegar, herbs, spices and sometimes garlic

    Keeping lettuce and carrots crispy?

    Here are some more tips, in addition to last month's to keep lettuce and carrots crisp. You can keep your carrots in fresh water in the fridge after rinsing them, and the same can be done with lemons

    In the case of carrots, if they already are a bit soft you can peel them and put them in cold water in the fridge overnight, they'll get some freshness back!

    Lettuce lasts longer if you clean it, separate the leaves, pet dry and store in a container with a kitchen towel in the fridge

    You can also regrow some of these vegetables, mainly the lettuce. When you cut the base off and put your leaves in a container in the fridge, put that base in a bowl of water and watch it grow back!

    This month's challenge!

    This month I challenge you to not waste any bread and vegetable scraps

    In our first edition we asked you what type of waste you were struggling the most with and the ones that came up the most were bread and veggie scraps! By now I feel like you should have the tools and inspiration to avoid wasting these. So let's try together! 

    Share your attempts and results with us on Instagram with the hashtag #valueofwaste or by tagging us @vow.valueofwaste. You can also leave us feedback, comments and pictures in the comment boxes of our journals

    I hope you enjoyed this month's journal and got a whole lot of inspiration and new motivation to get creative in the kitchen and reduce food waste with us! 

    See you next month for our last edition on the topic of food and organic waste. We will explore ways to use waste to our advantage, this time stepping a little out of the kitchen and into other areas like the garden!


    Author & Editor 

    You can't wait to dive into the topic and meet other people involved?

    Here are some local events that you can join this month! 

    Once a month Vestigium welcomes its community for a clothing exchange party and a new textile upcycling workshop! Join them!

    Szatyor is celebrating its 12th birthday and you are invited! So will be some experts who will talk about the role of worms in composting and show you various indoors and outdoors composting alternatives

    You were wondering what else we've been up to? We had some local events!

    Events at Vestigium.

    The Swap Party was a success and we welcomed lots of new faces to our community. Many clothes were exchanged and visitors left with a smile on their face. We are looking forward to our next Seasonal Swap Party.

    The Monthly Clothing Exchange was great as well! Many clothes were exchanged and we were left with less clothes than we had before. What a success! We also upcycled leftover winter clothes into pillows. Looking forward to the next month!

    If you aren't a subscriber yet, you enjoyed this journal and want to be notified when we release the next ones: It's not too late!