From root to fruit: how to make more of fruits and vegetables

What can you make with lemon rinds, cauliflower leaves and apple cores? Even for the most resourceful of cooks looking to avoid food waste, finding ways to use up every edible part of a food can take some creativity! In this post we share some ideas for using fruits and vegetables in their entirety, from ‘root to fruit’…

Turnip, radish and beetroot leaves: These are packed with nutrients and can be eaten raw or cooked. Turnip leaves have an (unsurprisingly) turnip-like flavour, and beet leaves taste quite a lot like swiss chard. Radish leaves have a peppery flavour and are best eaten raw – they can be added to salads.

Lemon rinds (unwaxed): Grated lemon rind can be added to rice and stews before cooking to give them a deliciously zesty flavour – or frozen for later use. It also works wonders in this one-pot ‘Puttanesca’ pasta dish. If you like preserved lemons (popular in North African cuisine), these are quick to make and only require lemon rind, juice and salt! Recipe here.

Ways with peel: Fruit and vegetable peels are generally highly nutritious, and – unless they are particularly tough or bitter – often perfectly edible. Research shows that potato skins are made up of 40 to 50 percent dietary fibre, and are rich in vitamins like vitamin B6, riboflavin and folic acid. Vegetables with edible peels include cucumbers, carrots, potatoes, beets and aubergines, pumpkin and squash. If you do decide to peel your veggies, why not make vegetable peel crisps? See recipe here.

Broad beans: While it’s common to discard broad bean pods, they are tasty until the beans get very mature, at which point they can get tough and stringy. Here’s a brilliantly quick ‘pods and all’ recipe from Riverford Organic.

Apples cores: While most people discard a 1/3 of every apple as the ‘core’, apple cores don’t actually exist. Almost all parts of the flesh are edible – the only part that are best avoided are the seeds and the stem. But if you do end up with some scraps to use up – for example if you’re making apple pie or apple sauce – then why not try making your own pectin (for making preserves) or for a boozier alternative, have a go at making bourbon or whiskey infused with apple peel?

Cauliflower Stems and Leaves: Using all parts of the cauliflower means you end up with roughly double the volume. Check out this short demo by Good Food Oxford and the best way to cook an entire cauliflower:

Broccoli leaves and stems: Cut off and discard the tough outer peel of the stalk and then shave the remains into paper-thin strips with a vegetable peeler. These can be added to almost any dish, from a stir fry to a pasta sauce, along with the leaves.

Asparagus stems: The fibrous base of asparagus stems are quite tough to chew, but can instead be boiled to make make into stock for asparagus stew.

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