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


By upcycling meals—giving virtually wasted meals one other probability—you’ll be able to lighten your affect on the planet. Learn 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 generally even our greatest efforts don’t at all times pan out. Efforts to purchase simply the correct quantity of contemporary produce and different perishables that we’ll use for the week, stocking the freezer and pantry with objects with longer storage occasions, planning meals, procuring with a listing, and composting are precisely what we ought to be doing to reduce meals waste, get monetary savings, assist cut 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 strategy to proceed lowering the quantity of meals wasted—upcycling! Acquired meals that you simply assume needs to be tossed? Suppose once more! Upcycling turns that soon-to-be-tossed scrap or limp produce into one thing utterly new to eat. A few of us have been already introduced up doing this as youngsters, having watched our grandparents and fogeys repurpose one thing we 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 made out of upcycled meals.

How Upcycling Works

Upcycling entails giving virtually 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, similar to methane, the merchandise is reused and responsibly put again into the availability chain. This doesn’t solely apply to meals that has spoiled however might be achieved with meals objects which can be too quick, not shiny sufficient, or oddly formed, since supermarkets solely need good wanting 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 an effective way to upcycle produce.

Advantages of Upcycling

Upcycling meals doesn’t solely assist cut back greenhouse gasoline emissions, it advantages farmers who’re in a position to promote extra of their produce to distributors who upcycle. Now distributors have much more inventive shops and upcycled merchandise to show into new objects to supply shoppers. Plus, shoppers need to assist reduce 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 setting. Upcycling meals may assist shift the mindset to do extra with much less produce and stop 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 corporations are on the market upcycling meals to cut 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 nearly all of their crop and help regenerative agriculture. 

These dried apricots are upcycled.

One other instance of upcycling was achieved by a gaggle 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 are attempting to convey their Meals Lab concepts to market to proceed stopping these things from being wasted and supply shoppers with new and attractive merchandise to strive. 

Use refuse from oat milk to make flour.

One final instance of upcycling achieved 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 doubtlessly change how we take into consideration wasted meals sooner or later. You’ll be able to hunt down corporations doing upcycling to help them along with your meals {dollars}.

These chips are made with leftover vegetable pulp.

How you can Upcycle at House

Fortunately, you don’t need to be a part of an organization or establishment to begin upcycling in your personal dwelling. A technique you’ll be able to upcycle in your house is through the use of over ripe bananas to make banana bread, good cream, or a smoothie.  One other strategy to reuse meals earlier than it spoils is drying or dehydrating it to last more, similar to drying apples to make apple chips. Additionally, you’ll be able to 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 youngsters love the yummy deal with, they are going to have opened up their minds to the probabilities of upcycling meals.

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

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

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


Fehling, A. (2016). 5 Cool Methods Meals Waste is Getting Upcycled. Nationwide Geographichttps://www.nationalgeographic.com/tradition/article/5-cool-ways-food-waste-is-getting-upcycled

N.A. (2021).  About. Barnanahttps://barnana.com/pages/sustainability

N.A. (2021). What’s Upcycled Meals? Upcycled Meals Affiliation. https://www.upcycledfood.org/what-is-upcycled-food

N.A. (2021). What’s Up with Upcycled Meals? Brandpoint Hubhttps://hub.brandpoint.com/content material/preview/1037902



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