The ‘nose to tail’ approach is a food philosophy that aims to use all parts of an animal. A similar approach can also be used with fruits and vegetables, sometimes known as ‘root to fruit’, whereby all parts of a crop that are edible in one form or another are used. Many top chefs have adopted this philosophy.
All food, whether it is from animals or from plants has a carbon and water footprint and a cost, not just a cost in financial terms, but in environmental terms too. It takes energy, time, water, labour, physical resources and money to produce. These are all resources that should not be wasted. Out of respect for the environment as well as the people involved in producing food and the animals, if we choose to eat animal products, we should try to use up as much of it as we can.
There are lots of recipes in my book, Leftover Pie: 101 ways to reduce your food waste that that are based on nose to tail and root to fruit cooking, making better use of the food we buy.
‘Nose to tail’ or ‘root to fruit’ cooking is about more than just wasting less, though. It is also about enhancing the flavour and texture of our food.
Here are my 5 favourite foods that make “better use of the bits”;
- Meat, bones and skin – boil up to make stock, which you can use to give a meaty flavour to soups, sauces and risotto.
- Onion skins – they keep for ages after you have used up the onion and give a rich flavourful stock.
- Cauliflower leaves and the base of the cauliflower – your can use these just like you would use cabbage, gently steamed and buttered is delicious, but also great in a soup especially with bits of old cheese.
- Broccoli stalks – lovely as a healthy lunch box snack, as an accompaniment to dips like humous and guacamole.
- Citrus peel – store it up in the fridge or freezer if you don’t eat much citrus, then when you have enough, candy it. Use it in bread, in puddings or as cake decoration.