Julia L F Goldstein

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How Apple-Flavored Water Helps Fight Food Waste

Apr 24, 2019 by Julia L F Goldstein, in Food Waste

In January I published a blog post where I committed to two goals, one of which was to write four posts about food waste. What better day to fulfill this than Stop Food Waste Day, April 24?

Jill Lightner’s book, Scraps, Peels, and Stems: Recipes and Tips for Rethinking Food Waste at Home, is filled with useful ideas. Many of those are things I already do, like labeling leftovers in the fridge and freezer with a date. I put peelings and ends from carrots and onions in a container in the freezer marked “save up for stock.” Then when I buy a whole chicken and want to make stock from the bones, I’ve got a ready stash of vegetables to add. But Lightner’s book also included ideas I hadn’t considered, like making use of apple cores and peels.

Last week I brought charoset to Seder at my sister-in-law’s house for the first night of Passover. Charoset, meant to represent the mortar the Hebrew slaves used to build structures for the Pharaoh, is traditionally made from apples and nuts. I needed to prepare enough for a large group, so I cored and peeled eight apples.

I was about to toss the remnants into the compost when I remembered reading about ciderkin in Lightner’s book, so I started heating a pot of water on the stove and grabbed some ginger root from the freezer. After simmering the peels and cores, along with several slices of peeled ginger, for a couple of hours and letting the pot cool to room temperature, I strained the mixture through a mesh bag into a large glass jar that I usually use for sun iced tea and put it in the fridge.

Ciderkin tastes like water with a subtle apple flavor. It’s not nearly as sweet as apple juice but supposedly works well in mixed drinks. The next day, I dispensed the ciderkin into ice cube trays for freezing. It will supposedly last up to six months in the freezer. I think that it will make a great substitute for water when cooking hot cereal.

My honest assessment? Making ciderkin requires too much effort to do with one apple at a time (even eight apples made half a recipe), but it’s a good way to get extra value out of a large batch of apple peels and cores. Meanwhile, leftover charoset makes a great breakfast or snack for the week of Passover.

Do you have any creative ideas to stop food waste?