You’ve done your shopping at the local farmers’ market, and you’re about to make yourself a fresh meal. But before you pat yourself on the back for your healthy and environmentally correct choice, think about all of those food scraps you’ll be tossing in the trash.
A meal that’s good for you with lots of fresh fruits and veggies can create a lot of waste. It’s a great example of an eco intention gone wrong.
It has been estimated that Americans toss out 27 percent of edible food — that’s nearly 100 billion pounds, 11 billion pounds of which are fruits and veggies that can easily be composted.
With some foresight, you can compost those scraps and create a meal that’s healthy for both you and the planet.
Composting Is Easy
Composting can be done in a number of different ways. Industrial composting is used for items like biodegradable plastics. Traditional household composting is for food scraps. For the Cooking For Compost series, we’re talking about household compost.
If you have a yard, you can easily start your own compost. If you’re living in a smaller space or don’t want to start your own compost, you can store your scraps before taking them to a local compost. Try a small compost pail with a carbon filter for the smell, or even throw your scraps in the freezer. It’s easier than you may think to compost in the city.
When it’s time to take in your scraps, check if local farms, community gardens or even an organization at your farmers’ market collects scraps for composting. You’d be surprised what a hot commodity your trash is! Everyone wants a piece of it.
Prepping for Breakfast
On to the fun part — the cooking! In the first installment of our Cooking for Compost series, we’ll start with the beginning of our day: breakfast.
Did you know that the uneaten remnants of a savory breakfast — vegetable scraps, egg shells and coffee grinds — are all compostable?
Many egg-based dishes like scrambles, omelets and frittatas can be combined with any assortment of veggies you have on hand. So, they are perfect for a waste-free meal.
Are those onions about to go bad? Throw them in. Leftover roasted veggies from last night’s dinner work well, too. Egg dishes allow for creativity and experimentation. You’ll use everything in your fridge, and you’ll be shopping less. Also, by limiting what goes into your dish you can cater to picky eaters of all sorts.
Recipe: Italian Frittata
If you need a guide to get started on your cooking for compost breakfast, here’s a delicious recipe for an Italian Frittata. Remember other veggies can always be added. Also, get creative with your eggs!
Your farmers’ market list
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 red pepper
- 1 small bunch basil (bonus points for getting it from your windowsill garden)
- 8 eggs
- 1 tomato
- Mozzarella cheese: Note that many experts don’t recommend composting dairy because it can cause odor and pest problems, but really, why would you throw away cheese anyway?
How to make it
- Heat broiler. Heat an oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil to coat bottom.
- Add chopped garlic then red peppers to skillet.
- Sauté red peppers and garlic until slightly brown.
- Whisk eggs, add salt and pepper and chopped basil to eggs.
- Add egg mixture to skillet, shake pan to evenly distribute ingredients. Add tomato slices on top. Cook for 5 minutes, or until set on bottom and edges.
- Place skillet under broiler for 2-5 minutes, or until frittata is firm.
- Add grated mozzarella cheese and basil leaves (optional).
- Save vegetable scraps for compost.
Other great cooking for compost EGGcelent recipe ideas
Sides and drinks
- Simple roasted fingerling potatoes are a tasty, waste-free side for your eggs. Try Oven-Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Fennel and Tarragon
- Coffee – Remember those grinds are compostable!
- Fresh-squeezed orange juice – You can also throw the orange skins into your bin
Feature image by Nemoel Nemo from Pixabay