Have you heard about the new Massachusetts law that requires larger institutions (those that produce 1 ton or more of organic waster per week) to compost their food waste rather than send it to a landfill? I think this is a brilliant initiative (I’m sure there are plenty of detractors out there), so in the spirit of supporting those institutions who comply, I have a few fermenty suggestions for how they can reduce their food waste so that they’ll send even less to those neato composters.
Fermentation isn’t just a way to eat more healthful food and preserve the bounty of the harvest. It can also be a great way to work on cutting that insane 50% food waste statistic down to size. Lots of things that might otherwise need to be tossed in the compost or trash can can make a great ferment instead. Here are a few of my favorite ways to turn unloved bits from the kitchen into big time assets for a variety of dishes, rather than additions to the compost pile.
What to Make with Kale/Collard/Chard Ribs
Make pickled stems from the less requested part of leafy greens. Unlike the leaves, which can get mushy or bitter when fermented, the crisp stems from just about any leafy green ferment wonderfully and make for a wonderfully flavorful addition to salads. You can use this exact technique for other unloved vegetable parts. Cauliflower and broccoli stems, cabbage cores, etc., all make great salvage ferments.
What to Make with Leftover Wine
Making wine vinegar from leftover wine is surprisingly simple. I don’t recommend using wine from glasses that have been drunk from (contamination of all kinds of mouth bacteria, doncha know?), but anything left in the bottle (same goes for beer) that was maybe left exposed to the air for a bit too long is fair game.
What to Make with that Wilted Produce from the Back of the Veg Drawer
Make it into pickles! I absolutely hate it when I pull a head of lettuce out of my produce drawer only to find an old beet or cabbage chunk that is definitely still edible but shrunken, ugly and way past its prime. Sure, I can blend it or chop it fine and add it to a soup or stew. Or, I can ferment it and make it into a stunner of a pickle all on its own.
What to Make with Fruit Peels and Scraps
Make it into fruit vinegar! If you’re taking the peels off of fruit, or have leftover juice or bits from that fruit chopping festival you threw for yourself in your kitchen, use it, don’t lose it! Put it in to a nice jar and turn it into fruit vinegar. I had a crazy vinegar phase for a
What to Make with Hard or Stale Bread
Bread Kvass! Unless your bread is moldy, you’ve got yourself a winner of a key ingredient. Any kind of bread can be used to make bread kvass.
There are SO many more ways to use fermentation as a conservation (in addition to a preservation) method. What’s your favorite?