It was Zero Waste Week a couple of weeks ago and my pledge was to try not to waste any fresh produce that week. I haven't ever scientifically analysed my chief food waste offenders but I reckon that if I were to do so, fruit and vegetable waste would contend for pole position.
There was much potential for that kind of waste over the last couple of weeks; we were given a big box of vegetables from a friend's allotment, as well as having a surfeit of runner beans from our own. But by using up the most perishable items first, we've just about kept on top of it, bar half a soggy courgette.
The combination of being the recipient of a big veg box and it being Zero Waste Week inspired me to use up every edible part of those lovely vegetables including the vegetable offal. The bits that you might not usually think of using.
I have fond memories of this kind of offal; one of the treats at my primary school in the 1970s was that during playtime after we'd eaten our lunch, the dinner ladies would lean out of the canteen windows and offer us chunks of leftover cabbage stalk and there was always a throng of kids waiting their turn in the queue for a nice piece of tough cabbage innards to snack on! What a great way of avoiding food waste. Those were the days - now there'd probably be some health and safety or food hygiene issue prohibiting the distribution of waste cabbage. And maybe the 21st century child wouldn't find it so appealing.
I like to emulate the 1970s dinner lady waste not want not philosophy in my own house, and I will sneak celery and beetroot leaves (pictured above), broccoli stalks and those feathery aniseedy fronds of fennel into dishes when I can. How about you, what's your favourite vegetable offal?