It wasn’t until recently that I discovered my true interest in nutrition is not in what one should eat, but the fact that one should have access to healthy foods and the skills to prepare them. Written in a sentence, it sounds like the simplest thing in the world. The bottom line is, it’s not just about access. You have to bring access, change preferences so that healthy foods are more desirable, provide education so the food is used properly – all at the same time. And that’s not even considering the politics that are knitted in our meals.
Another part of the problem is food waste. There are tons of programs throughout the country that work primarily to increase access to healthy foods in areas of food insecurity. How is this food being used? How much is being wasted?
There are tons of programs that work to recover food waste to recycle it into energy (think compost). When you hear ‘food waste’ you most likely think of what you scrape off your plate into the garbage at the end of a meal. That’s the food waste that we, consumers, most often encounter. We don’t think about the ‘ugly’ foods that don’t sell in the grocery stores, the foods wasted during production – either by farm or factory.
There is a lot of work in food waste recovery, that’s helping to make use of some of the food we, consumers, are wasting, but the answer to reducing food waste is in processing. As consumers we can stop overlooking the deformed, slightly off-color, bulbous produce. We can plan our grocery shopping a little better so we are buying with a purpose. Ask yourself – ‘Do I think I can use this by the time it spoils?’ We can make use of storage techniques like freezing and canning to preserve food for longer periods of time.
My grocery store has a little section that contains discounted produce due to blemishes. You can buy bags of 4 to 5 pieces of fruits or vegetables for only one dollar! The only catch is that you have to use these products within the first day or two of purchasing them because they tend to be closer to spoiling than non-discounted produce. Being aware of this prevents you from buying what you cannot use. This is where I often find potatoes.
I used to buy potatoes by the 2-5 pound bags they are typically sold in, however I started noticing that after a few weeks I had to scramble to make something with potatoes in order to avoid throwing away a majority of the bag. It wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, I’d make a big batch of pierogi to freeze or mashed potatoes (which are actually pretty versatile – have you tried throwing leftover mashed potatoes in soup?). Since I started buying smaller bags of potatoes (these discounted potatoes contain only 4) I am a little more creative in what we make with them – cue Baked Curry Potato Wedges.
The purpose of today’s post is really to encourage mindful consumption of food. This phrase is often overlapped with comments about healthy eating and nutritional prompts, but it’s more than that – it’s about reducing waste, reducing your footprint, if you will. For some of us it’s about time, do I have the time to prepare this food? It’s about energy, do I have the energy to prepare this food? It’s about knowledge, do I have the skills and experience to properly prepare this food? If not, where can I learn more about it? I know it sounds daunting, but once you get in the habit of thinking about food in terms of reducing waste, these questions will be answered naturally.
With no further ado – Baked Curry Potato Wedges. This recipe only calls for 6 ingredients, is naturally gluten free and prep time is only 5-10 minutes, depending on how fast you chop. The potatoes need a little bit of time in the oven, but if you plan ahead, you can throw them in and then work on the rest of your meal.
Baked Curry Potato Wedges
Spice up your burger night with these 6-ingredient Baked Curry Potato Wedges. Gluten free too!
- about 2 pounds of white potatoes (about 3-4 potatoes)
- 2 tablespoons mild curry paste (can substitute with 1 tablespoon curry powder)
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 425F. Wash and scrub the potatoes – you aren’t going to peel them so you need to wash the skins really well.
- Slice the potatoes in half lengthwise. Slice each piece in half lengthwise again, so you end up with wedges. If the potatoes you are using are really large, you can repeat the slicing until you have skinnier wedges. Place the potatoes in a large bowl.
- Add the rest of the ingredients to the potatoes and mix. Your hands are the best tool for this job, you can really rub the spices and oil into each potato.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the potato wedges in a single layer. Bake for 30-40 minutes, tossing them around halfway through.* The potatoes are done when they are easily pierced with a fork and have turned a golden color.
*To avoid having to tediously toss each wedge, place a wire cooling rack on the baking sheet and line the wedges up on that. This way air flow can reach the bottom and top of the potatoes.