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Perfect Solution for Imperfect Food

Posted by Didi Gorman on

What’s that???

What in the world happened to these carrots???

Well, nothing.

Seriously. Nothing happened to them.

They’re perfectly good carrots. Fresh, crisp and flavorful, like any other carrot.

The reason they’re crooked is because there were a few little rocks in the ground where they grew, so the carrots just grew around them. This happens all the time in nature.

Perfectly normal carrots. They just look funny.

The real question is why don’t we see grotesque carrots in the stores? How come all the carrots in the supermarkets look like superstars?

Our post today is about reducing food waste.

It’s about how our constant demand for perfection and uniformity creates tons of food waste out of perfectly good produce.

The sad truth is that produce which does not meet a most stringent aesthetic standard does not even leave the farm, and is often left to rot on the ground. Why? Because it simply won’t sell.

But beauty has absolutely nothing to do with quality or freshness. Ugly produce tastes just the same and has the same nutritional value as pretty produce. 10

Think of all the effort, energy, water, soil, money, and time it took to grow all that produce, only to leave it to rot in the farm because it’s not pretty enough.

In other words, just because a banana is a little too curved or not curved enough, doesn’t mean it’s not tasty. And if this banana is anyway going into a smoothie, we really shouldn’t fret too much about its looks.

On the same principle, if we’re going to make a tomato sauce from fresh tomatoes, who cares if the tomatoes are crooked? A crooked looking tomato can still be super fresh and wonderfully delicious.

Actually, the other day I checked the ‘imperfect produce’ at our local grocery store. We have that here now, which is a step in the right direction, but there were only two products there: apples and mushrooms.

Does your supermarket carry any imperfect produce? Which kind? I would love to see more of these inglorious fruits and veggies around.

Anyway, I got this bag of naturally imperfect apples, took them home, and…..
…. bit right into one of them!

It was so fresh and delicious, I gorged it in no time flat! (Sadly for that one, it didn’t make it to the group photo…)

Let’s meet these outcasts in person and probe into their disgraceful offenses!

The one at the bottom is too big. The one on the top left has a little blemish. The one on the left is too small. The one on the top right has a teensy bruise. The one in the middle is plain crooked. It has two cores! How absurd!

Mind you, all these infractions have nothing to do with freshness.

What shall I do with them then?

I think I will just eat them like that. They’re way too fresh and delish to go into a compote. But if I change my mind, I have a wonderful compote recipe right here. (Click!)

Now let’s explore what to do with other not-so-pretty produce.

If it’s fresh you can use it like any ‘normal’ produce: you can shred it, cut it, cook it, mash it, chop it, sauté it, make salads with it, add it to soups, stews, smoothies, sauces, salsas, chutneys, compotes, jams. Am I missing anything?

Oh, if the fruit or veggie looks utterly ridiculous, why not take a selfie with it while sticking your tongue out and enjoy a good giggle?

My point is, does it really matter if our produce is less than perfect? Why do we demand perfection and uniformity from our fruits and veggies, when we humans, come in all shapes and sizes with some imperfections here and there?

Looks should only matter if one is planning a “supermodel fruit contest” on their counter, or a “veggie beauty pageant” in their fridge.

All foods -pretty or not- look exactly the same inside our bellies…

Too big, too small, too curved or not-curved-enough, too chubby, too narrow, too crooked, too funny, a bit blemished, lightly bruised - bring them all on!

Starting today, let’s not let this perfectly good food go to waste. Let’s accept these rejects into our supermarkets, into our shopping carts and onto our dining tables. It’s the ethical thing to do and it’s our duty towards our planet.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend,

Wise Choice Market

Click here for our post on  how to reduce food waste at home.


References and inspirations for this post:
1. EE 101: Teaching Slow Food Values in a Fast Food World - Alice Waters and Craig McNamara (YouTube)
2. Edible education 101: what’s next for the food movement, with Michael Pollan and Mark Bittman (YouTube)
3. Cooked, by Michael Pollan
4. Food Inc. (YouTube)
5. Wasted! The Story of Food Waste, with Chef Anthony Bourdain (YouTube)
6. Folks, This Ain't Normal: A Farmer's Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, by Joel Salatin
7. The Big Waste: Why Do We Throw Away So Much Food? (YouTube)
8. Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables (YouTube)
9. A recipe for cutting food waste | Peter Lehner | TEDxManhattan (YouTube)
10. How to Avoid Food Waste Traps | Selina Juul | TEDxKEA (YouTube)
11. How to End the Food Waste Fiasco | Rob Greenfield | TEDxTeen (YouTube)

This article represents its author’s opinion, and is not a medical, nutritional, or professional advice.