Confession time: it often drives me nuts to hear people tell me how much perfectly good produce they've cut away, tossed because it wasn't just so, or plain old forgotten in the back of the fridge until it's gone over. My husband's late grandmother was a quite particular southern lady, who always kept a large vegetable garden, and liked to tell her army of hungry but sometimes picky-eating grandchildren, "I didn't grow that so you could throw it away." She could be a difficult lady, but completely won my heart with that statement.
Seeing any bit of food go to waste pushes a particular button in my soul that won't shut off. 'Nose to Tail' eating has become all the rage when it comes to consuming animal proteins; I'd love to see a 'Peel to Core' movement start in the plant kingdom.
The cores, rinds, and peels of fruits and vegetables typically contain far more nutrients than the soft inner flesh does...I rarely peel anything. You can call that lazy cooking if you'd like, or I prefer to think of it as 'nutritional preservation.' Farm-fresh foods are not always picture-perfect; a small paring knife and a metal teaspoon or melon baller do wonders for quickly working away tiny unusable bits without chopping off half a tomato in order to remove one small blemish. Tomato seeds and the gel surrounding the seeds carry a lot of the flavors in a tomato; removing the seeds leaves you with a blander-tasting fruit...or sauce. Larger seeds from fruits like melons can be dried a bit on a plate, in a low microwave, and added to salads or sides as you would nuts or sunflower seeds.
Any other ideas? Let me know! Email your ideas back or share them on our Facebook page! And let's start our own 'Peel to Core' thing!!