(NaturalNews) It's estimated that in America, about 133 billion pounds of food go to waste annually. The waste exists for a variety of reasons, ranging from expired or forgotten foods in household refrigerators to regulations that do not permit retailers to sell foods that are bruised, misshapen, or otherwise deemed unattractive.
Several efforts to stop food waste from occurring exist, including one food cooperative in Portugal called, "Fruta Feia," or "Ugly Fruit," named after a blotchy, multi-colored fruit that, while edible and healthy, is often thought to be too ugly for consumption. In Europe, where 89 million tons of food is wasted yearly, the food cooperative has been successful at providing farmers with foods the that European labeling system would have tossed.
While many people may not easily be able to get involved with an effort as large as the Portugal one, there are things that people can do right from the comfort of their home to prevent food from going to waste.
Lesser-known parts of foods that can be eaten, planted
First, think twice about throwing out the parts of foods typically considered not edible.
In many cases, they are edible. For example, watermelon rinds with the green outer layer of skin peeled off, are edible and even contain antioxidants that fight free radicals.(1) Additionally, the skin of kiwi can be eaten; considering that it has three times the amount of fiber than the flesh, it's a healthy idea worth trying. The same goes for the core of a pineapple, which is filled with nutrients known to fight pain and inflammation.
Second, know that not only can some of the foods that are typically discarded be eaten, but they can be planted so that new growth can be ingested.
Rather than throwing out the base of celery in favor of the stalks, rest the base in a bowl of shallow water. In about one week, new shoots will grow, which can then be transplanted in a garden.(2) As for carrots, the tops can also be set in shallow water since the greens that sprout upwards are edible. According to the World Carrot Museum, their leaves are extremely nutritious, with six times more vitamin C than the root. Plus,they also have very good amounts of potassium and chlorophyll, which help regulate blood pressure and act as a blood purifier.(3)
Another tip to help reduce food waste is to plan trips to the store or farmer's market in accordance with what is truly needed, so as to not end up with excess food that ends up spoiling.
Also, trying new recipes is a additional way to make use of food products. Rather than sticking to tried-and-true meals, why not consider adding parts of foods that would typically be discarded or that are nearly expired? You might be surprised at the incredible new flavors and certainly will benefit from the extra dose of nutrition.
About the author: A science enthusiast with a keen interest in health nutrition, Antonia has been intensely researching various dieting routines for several years now, weighing their highs and their lows, to bring readers the most interesting info and news in the field. While she is very excited about a high raw diet, she likes to keep a fair and balanced approach towards non-raw methods of food preparation as well.