We are all familiar with ‘nose to tail’ cooking, the concept that no part of an animal should be wasted. As plant based eating becomes mainstream we are seeing a resurgence of ‘root to shoot’ eating, with chefs and cooks looking at ways to use as much of the fruit, vegetable & herb as possible.
Seeking out alternative methods for using every part of a product reduces food wastage and is also great for increasing profit margins.
Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your fresh produce:
Roots, bulbs and tubers
Celeriac / Celery Root: works well in a puree with potato, pairs well with seafood, lamb and pork, can be grated raw into a salad, or roasted. If you are lucky enough to get one with fresh greenery on top, store that separately and use as you would use celery.
Parsley and Chervil Root: This can be substituted in any recipe that calls for carrot, parsnip and turnip, and also make a great alternative to potato in a gratin.
Most roots, bulb and tubers work well together in a mash, a medley of roasted veg or puree.
Any leftover bulbs and skins from onions, garlic and leek make an excellent addition to stocks and soups. Simmer gently in milk, cream or water, strain and use in sauces and soups.
Jerusalem artichoke, potato, yam, sweet potato and taro are great for thickening soups and stews.
Peels, Skins & Rinds
Citrus rinds: try them candied in desserts, add to sparkling water for a flavour kick, or look into the multitudes of uses in chemical cleaning products and sprays.
Potato Skins: Delicious baked in the oven, sprinkled with olive oil, salt and pepper.
Turn leftover skins into powders by dehydrating them, blitzing into a fine powder and using as a flavour enhancer.
Stalks & Stems
The tougher parts of vegetables can most often be used in stocks and soups to impart nutrients and flavour. Kale and Parsley work well in a stock base.
Broccoli Stalks: Peel away the tough outer layer and shred the rest to use in a salad or coleslaw, or chop and use in a stew.
Pickling is great way to use up stalks and stems, preserving them for use at a later date.
Shoots & Leaves
Shoots & Leaves are great in salads and for garnish, and also work well in pestos and salsas.
Carrot leaves, fennel fronds, radish greens and herb stems make an excellent base for pesto.
Fennel fronds impart a beautiful aniseed flavour which pairs well with seafood and potato dishes.