It’s no secret that I’ve got an aversion to food waste. It’s likely the influence from my Gran’s “waste not, want not” attitude and my Mum’s obsession with making sure she gets every last scrap from the whatever bowl/pan she’s been cooking from… when she discovered silicon spatulas it’s as if all her prayers had been answered!
When I started FBL and began fermenting on a larger scale, it hit me quite hard to see just how much food waste is produced in commercial kitchens by way of peels, rinds and knob-ends (why…what do you call them?!) Although we have always composted our food waste at FBL (you can read about that and how else we identify as a low-impact business here), I knew there was more that could be done with our scraps, after having followed the closed-circuit food production practices of the hugely inspirational Silo.
Fermentation lends itself so well to utilising the bits of food you might otherwise throw away and if you’ve been following me for a while, you may have seen some of my experiments on Instagram. Today I’m sharing with you 5 of the anti-food-waste ferments that I think you’ll get most use out of.
Beetroot + Ginger Kvass
Fresh beetroot are beautiful things. Rather than chucking the rough tops and stringy roots, pop them in a clean glass jar along with some ginger peels and knob-ends then fill with a 2% salt brine solution. Leave to ferment at room temp until it’s a salty sour drink (usually around 7-10 days) before straining and decanting into a glass bottle. A slice of orange or lemon would also work beautifully in this recipe. Take it as a shot in the morning for a great kick start to your day.
Optional: Once bottled, leave at room temp to carbonate for a further day or two before popping in your fridge.
Preserved Citrus Peels
Next time you cook a recipe that calls for lemon/lime/orange juice, don’t throw the peels away! Cut them into quarters or eighths and pack them tightly into a jar, salting liberally as you go. Pop a few whole lemons/limes/oranges in along the way and maybe even add some spices for a lime-esque pickle. Top the jar up with water, making sure the peels are completely submerged. These will take a couple of months at room temperature to mature. Here is a more in depth recipe.
This recipe does require an organic pineapple (organic is always advised when fermenting) which are quite tricky to get your hands on and a bit expensive. But if you’ve gone to all that trouble, best use the whole thing, eh! Tepache is a pineapple-y, ginger beer-y drink which utilises the peel and core and relies on the microbes present on the skin for fermentation. Pop the peel and core in a clean Kilner jar and top up with an 8-10% strength sugar water solution (raw cane sugar preferably). You can also add some ginger, a cinnamon stick, a couple of slices of chilli, cloves, etc. You get the idea. Allow to ferment at room temp for 4-5 days before straining, bottling and popping in the fridge. Remember to burp throughout fermentation to avoid any explosions!
Apple/Pear Core Cider Vinegar
Next time you make apple crumble/pie/anything with a few apples in it, use the cores and peels to make ACV or PCV! Pop the cores and peels of 3-4 apples in a 1L Kilner Jar. Top up with water and 10g sugar. Cover with a muslin cloth and elastic band to secure and leave to ferment at room temp for 8-10 days, shaking or stirring every day to prevent mould growth. Strain and bottle. A more detailed recipe can be found here.
Ginger Peel + Knob-End Bug
Instead of making your ginger bug with the good parts of the ginger root, try using all the gnarly ends that aren’t really good enough to eat but are too good to waste. This is a good ginger bug recipe to follow.