Waste not, want not

Trying to reduce food waste, Jane Kellner of Salisbury took a turn at processing cooked and overripe raspberries for shrub, a beverage.

Patrick L. Sullivan

Waste not, want not

LAKEVILLE — If you’ve ever looked into the refrigerator only to find elderly onions and then either a) hurled said onions into the trash with extreme prejudice or b) conscientiously placed said onions into the food waste bag ready to take to the transfer station…


With a little bit of effort, food items usually thought of as waste can be turned into something tasty.

Carol Hawran of Sharon gave a group a hands-on demonstration of how to go about this Sunday, April 7, in the kitchen at Fairfield Farm at The Hotchkiss School.

“Taste Not Waste” was part of the Salisbury-Sharon Transfer Station’s Food Waste Prevention Week.

The participants brought assorted items deemed dubious, and Farm Manager Bridget Meigs-Lawrence contributed onions, Asian pears, and raspberries to the mix.

People brought things such as the remnants of a frozen pumpkin experiment and some tired-looking broccoli.

Hawran demonstrated how to make shrub, a beverage that dates back to the era before refrigeration.

In this case it was made with overripe raspberries, sugar and vinegar. The mixture simmered for 10 or 15 minutes on the stove, which yielded a syrupy liquid that can then be cut with seltzer for a refreshing, tangy soft drink.

An adventurous reporter tried the syrup straight up. The word “tangy” is completely inadequate to describe the experience. “Super mega ultra tangy” is closer to the mark.

Hawran emphasized that labels such as “best before” or “sell by” a certain date are for supermarkets to control inventory. They do not necessarily mean the product is unfit for human consumption.

Let’s say you’ve got an old onion that has reanimated itself, with a long green shoot sticking out the top. Oh, here’s some mummified garlic.

What’s this? Why, it’s celery left over from your cousin’s Bloody Mary phase. (After the second incident, his wife wouldn’t let him continue the research at home.)

And from the “Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time” file, here are some shrink-wrapped beets that have faded to a dull, brown color.

Chuck it?


Hawran assembled these ingredients, chopped and diced, got a saute pan going and kept up a running commentary throughout.

And about 15 minutes later, the company was digging into what she called “warm beet salad.”

This was no “eat your peas” moment either. The warm beet salad was downright tasty, and this is coming from someone who is not beetly.

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