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HomeDietUpcycling within the Kitchen - Sharon Palmer, The Plant Powered Dietitian

Upcycling within the Kitchen – Sharon Palmer, The Plant Powered Dietitian

By upcycling meals—giving nearly wasted meals one other probability—you may lighten your affect on the planet. Discover ways to upcycle meals and switch that misplaced meals into edible, nutritious, scrumptious alternatives.

No person intends to waste meals, but 30-40 p.c of our nation’s meals provide finally ends up as waste, unnecessarily filling landfills and contributing to greenhouse gasoline emissions. Everyone knows that typically even our greatest efforts don’t all the time pan out. Efforts to purchase simply the correct amount of contemporary produce and different perishables that we’ll use for the week, stocking the freezer and pantry with gadgets with longer storage occasions, planning meals, buying with an inventory, and composting are precisely what we needs to be doing to attenuate meals waste, get monetary savings, assist scale back greenhouse gasoline emissions, and contribute to a extra sustainable meals system. (Try my weblog on lowering meals waste right here). And now there’s one other method to proceed lowering the quantity of meals wasted—upcycling! Obtained meals that you simply assume must be tossed? Assume once more! Upcycling turns that soon-to-be-tossed scrap or limp produce into one thing fully new to eat. A few of us have been already introduced up doing this as children, having watched our grandparents and fogeys repurpose one thing we now not wished to eat by itself, however in tonight’s pesto or tomorrow’s pasta sauce—scrumptious! Now revolutionary companies are on board too, minimizing pointless meals waste and creating scrumptious new meals merchandise, whereas working towards a extra sustainable meals system.

These powders are constituted of upcycled meals.

How Upcycling Works

Upcycling entails giving nearly wasted meals new life. As a substitute of sending the meals scrap or piece of produce to a landfill, the place it’ll launch greenhouse gases, corresponding to methane, the merchandise is reused and responsibly put again into the provision chain. This doesn’t solely apply to meals that has spoiled however could be executed with meals gadgets which can be too brief, not shiny sufficient, or oddly formed, since supermarkets solely need good trying merchandise to promote to shoppers. With out upcycling, all of this spoiled meals or imperfect produce would contribute to the one billion tons of meals that leads to landfills annually. 

Fruit and Veggie Popsicles are a good way to upcycle produce.

Advantages of Upcycling

Upcycling meals doesn’t solely assist scale back greenhouse gasoline emissions, it advantages farmers who’re capable of promote extra of their produce to distributors who upcycle. Now distributors have much more inventive retailers and upcycled merchandise to show into new gadgets to supply shoppers. Plus, shoppers need to assist in the reduction of on meals waste, which they’ll do by buying upcycled merchandise.

Upcycling helps shift the meals system to a extra sustainable one which reduces greenhouse gasoline emissions, deforestation, and stress on the surroundings. Upcycling meals also can assist shift the mindset to do extra with much less produce and forestall nutritious meals from being tossed away.

Upcycle your overripe bananas to make this Nutty Entire Grain Banana Bread.

Examples of Upcycling

A lot of revolutionary firms are on the market upcycling meals to scale back carbon footprint. One of many many nice examples of a meals firm upcycling is Barnana, which creates planta chips, banana bites, and cookie brittle from upcycling bananas. Not solely is that this firm lowering meals waste, however it’s serving to farmers promote the vast majority of their crop and help regenerative agriculture. 

These dried apricots are upcycled.

One other instance of upcycling was executed by a bunch of scholars at Drexel College’s Meals Lab, once they turned discarded bananas, apples, and potatoes from a grocery store into ice cream, smoothies, and chips. This younger group of scholars try to deliver their Meals Lab concepts to market to proceed stopping these things from being wasted and supply shoppers with new and engaging merchandise to attempt. 

Use refuse from oat milk to make flour.

One final instance of upcycling executed is from Azuri Well being, in Kenya, and GIZ, a German improvement company, who upcycled overripe mangos into dried mango slices to be offered on the worldwide market.

All of those concepts present the potential of upcycling throughout the meals system and should probably change how we take into consideration wasted meals sooner or later. You may search out firms doing upcycling to help them together with your meals {dollars}.

These chips are made with leftover vegetable pulp.

The way to Upcycle at Dwelling

Fortunately, you don’t must be a part of an organization or establishment to begin upcycling in your personal dwelling. A method you may upcycle in your house is by utilizing over ripe bananas to make banana bread, good cream, or a smoothie.  One other method to reuse meals earlier than it spoils is drying or dehydrating it to last more, corresponding to drying apples to make apple chips. Additionally, you may flip vegetable scraps, such because the leaves of broccoli and carrots and peels from potatoes, right into a scrumptious vegetable broth that can be utilized to make soups, stews, and chili. If you wish to get your youngsters concerned with upcycling, allow them to assist make fruit and veggie popsicles with produce that’s about to go south. Not solely will the children love the yummy deal with, they’ll have opened up their minds to the probabilities of upcycling meals.

Attempt utilizing ripe bananas in Good Cream, corresponding to this recipe.

Whether or not you upcycle by yourself or help manufacturers that apply upcycling, advocating for the meals system to shift to this kind of apply will assist not solely save meals from being wasted, however construct a sustainable meals system that present and future generations can take pleasure in.

Written by Michelle Naragon, Dietetic Intern with Sharon Palmer, MSFS, RDN


Fehling, A. (2016). 5 Cool Methods Meals Waste is Getting Upcycled. Nationwide Geographic

N.A. (2021).  About. Barnana

N.A. (2021). What’s Upcycled Meals? Upcycled Meals Affiliation.

N.A. (2021). What’s Up with Upcycled Meals? Brandpoint Hub material/preview/1037902



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