Give Thanks—Reducing Food Waste
By now, we’re all familiar with the local food movement, but how much do you know about food waste? It’s incredible to consider that the average American family throws out $1,500 worth of groceries a year. While that may be horrible news for the environment, those of us in the restaurant industry also know that wasting food is literally throwing money in the trash.
By the time you factor in staff salaries, monthly rent and the various other costs of running a business, restaurant owners are looking at a very small profit margin. That’s why, at ICE, we teach all our students the value of using every bit of their ingredients—from making stock with discarded bones to dehydrating tomato skins to make potent flavor powders.
This Thanksgiving, I’ve developed two simple food waste-focused recipes that make the most of the scraps from your apple pies and sweet potato casseroles. I hope this inspires you to research more ways to make the most of all your ingredients, and most importantly, helps you have an even happier Thanksgiving!
Apple Butter Makes about 2 cups
- Apple cores and peels (from about 12 apples)
- 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons spiced rum
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Juice of ½ of a lemon
- Roughly chop apple cores. Combine apple peels, cores and all remaining ingredients in a medium saucepot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until apples are completely soft and a deep brown color, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from heat and let the mixture cool until at room temperature. Transfer the mixture to a blender and puree until completely smooth.
- Strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve and refrigerate.
- Serve on toast, waffles or any other breakfast foods that could use a sweet boost.
Roasted Sweet Potato Peels
- Sweet potato peels*
- Olive oil
- Sea salt
- Black pepper
- Preheat oven to 400° Line a baking sheet with a silicon baking sheet or parchment paper.
- Toss the peels with a drizzle of olive oil, until coated. Season the peels with salt and pepper.
- Scatter the peels on the baking sheet and roast until crispy, about 20 minutes, stirring about halfway through baking.
- Serve immediately as a healthier alternative to potato chips.
*Note: Be sure to make this recipe while the peels are still fresh.