At Cornersmith, we’re big believers in preserving what’s left in the fridge at the end of the week. And we are incredibly lucky that all the ‘Smithies’ who work with us are as committed to reducing food waste as we are. Throughout our shops, there are chefs, picklers and baristas constantly finding innovative ways to make sure nothing goes in the bin or down the sink that doesn’t absolutely have to.
Here are six quick tips and tricks to help you rethink your own kitchen food waste at home.
Save those vegie stems and make kitchen-scrap pickles
Quick pickling is a great way to use up any vegetables in the fridge at the end of the week, as well as those leftover vegie stems – cauliflower, beetroot, broccoli and kale stems all make really delicious pickles! And it’s so simple: no need to worry about sterilising jars. These pickles need to be kept in the fridge, and will last for about 2 weeks in an airtight jar or sealed container.
Finished a bottle of pickles? Use the brine to make pickled eggs
You can make a honey-ginger-allspice brine using this recipe for Cornersmith's pickled eggs, but you can also use the brine from another pickle to lightly pickle your eggs, following the same method. (You can do the same for the kitchen-scrap pickles above, too. )
Use pineapple skins to make a versatile syrup
This syrup can be used to marinate meats for the barbecue, to finish desserts, to use instead of cordials for drinks (with or without alcohol), or simply to drizzle over ice cream, and will keep in a clean container in the fridge for weeks. Get the recipe here (along with Cornersmith’s excellent grilled pineapple, chilli, mint and chimichurri – perfect summer fare!)
Turn veg that’s a little sad into roasted veg pickles
For crunchy pickles, you need fresh, crispy vegetables – but for this style of pickling, eggplants that are going a little soft or zucchini that are a bit wrinkly will work well. Give it a go with this roasted pickled eggplant recipe:
Juiced some citrus? Here’s a genius way to use the skins
Everyone is always asking us how to use citrus skins once the fruit has been juiced. This recipe from our new book isn’t as fancy as preserved lemons, but is a great way to reduce kitchen waste and at the same time produce a delicious kitchen staple. It is similar to preserving lemons, except you’re using 100 per cent salt to preserve the citrus skins, and no citrus juice. And you can combine all different kinds of citrus skins in the one jar – there is no need to preserve them in separate jars.
When a recipe calls for preserved lemons or citrus peel, you can fish a bit of your salt-preserved citrus skin out of the jar, rinse it or soak it for 30 minutes, then thinly slice it to use in stews, soups, tagines, marinades and dressings.
Dress up your salads
Be daring and experiment with using ‘leftover’ items in your salad dressings, such as pickling liquids, cheesemaking ‘byproducts’ such as whey or even yoghurt, buttermilk or kefir. Using a pickling or fermenting brine in a dressing means you probably won’t need any vinegar or acidic ingredient, or just a very minimal amount. If you have any leftover herbs or herb stems in your fridge, you can use these in a herb-based dressing, such as Chimichurri, which you can use as a heavier dressing, or you can fold a small amount into another dressing to add a herbal kick.
This is an edited extract from Cornersmith Salads and Pickles by Alex Elliott-Howery and Sabine Spindler (Murdoch Books, $39.99). Photography by Alan Benson.