April is Earth Month, which means it’s the perfect time to think about sustainable practices that will help take better care of our planet. One place we can look to help the climate crisis is our eating habits because it’s estimated that a third of the food produced in the world goes to waste.
Wasted food is also the wasted energy and water it takes to grow, harvest, transport, and package that food. Plus, it produces methane when rotting at the landfill. But if we stop wasting food we can reduce six to eight percent of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions.
Looking for ways to stop wasting food? Celebrate Earth Month with a tea party created with food scraps, thanks to Chef Bashir Munye. Find their ideas below.
Apple Ginger Tea
If you have apples that are past their prime, you can use their skin and core to make tea, by boiling them with ginger and leftover lemon rinds that have been zested and squeezed. You can save the juice and zest to use for other recipes.
- Skin and core of 4 apples
- 2 liter water
- 1 knob ginger (skin of ginger or old dried ginger)
- Honey and or brown sugar to sweeten (personal preference).
- 2 lemons that already have been juiced and zest it
- In a food processor or bar blender puree all the ingredients, bring them to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes or add all ingredients to a pot and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Strain and enjoy it either hot or cold.
With natural pectin inside apples, it is easy to turn apple scraps into delicious and sweet butter.
- 2 cups apple scraps (peels/cores of 3 lbs apple or chopped whole apples)
- 1/2 cup apple juice (or water)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- Place apple scraps (or chopped apples if you don't have scraps) into a crockpot or a heavy bottom pot with a lid. Add 1/2 cup apple juice. (It's okay if the ratio of juice to scraps is slightly off--the juice is just there to make sure the apples don't burn to the bottom.)
- Cook scraps/apples in the crock-pot on low for 2 hours, then high for 3 hours.
- Turn off crockpot and spoon a quarter of the scraps/apples into a fine-mesh sieve.
- Place the sieve over a medium-sized mixing bowl. Using the back of a metal spoon, smash the scraps/apples into the sieve in order to push the broken down apple goop through the sieve. Use the spoon to scrape down the outside of the sieve and collect as much apple goop as possible.
- Add 2 cups of apple goop to a small saucepan. (Or use all of the apple goop and do some math to calculate how much sugar and spice you need.)
- Cook the apple butter over medium-low heat, stirring constantly.
- Add sugars and spices and continue stirring.
- Continue cooking the apple butter over medium-low heat for 40 minutes.
- When the butter begins to sheet off the spoon, remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks.
- For the board (or tiered plates), add some vegetable crudites lefts from celery stems to serve with your apple butter. The butter will already be prepared.
- 2 cups crushed fresh strawberries or any other berries or plums
- 4 cups sugar
- 1 (1.75 ounces) package of dry pectin
- 3/4 cup water
- Mix crushed strawberries with sugar and let stand for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, stir the pectin into the water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 1 minute. Stir the boiling water into the strawberries. Allow to stand and cool for 3 minutes before pouring into jars or other storage containers.
- Place tops on the containers, and leave for 24 hours to allow for flavour to develop. Place into freezer, and store frozen until ready to use.
- Serve with scones.
An easy way to preserve your fruit and veggies that is nutritious and adds another level of flavour to prevent food waste.
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar (see note)
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3- inch piece of ginger, broken
- 2 cinnamon sticks, broken
- 1 tablespoon pickling salt (see note)
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon cloves
- 3 cups watermelon rinds, green skin removed and chopped into 2-inch pieces
- 1 jalapeño pepper, sliced (optional)
- Stir white vinegar, rice vinegar, water, and sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Stir in ginger, cinnamon, salt, peppercorns, and cloves and bring to a boil. Add watermelon rinds and simmer for five minutes, or until softened. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 30 minutes.
- Divide jalapeño slices (if using) between 2 (16-ounce) glass jars with lids. Once cooled for 30 minutes, divide watermelon rinds and pickling liquid between the jars. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. For the best flavour, chill at least 24 hours before serving.
- Cut and place on board