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How to Shop Small, Waste Less Food, and Eat Better Too

How to shop small, waste less food, and eat better too

Hey friends. So in case you haven’t heard, I have a new book coming out.

Perhaps you’ve seen it linked in a few of my recent blog posts about the 11 vegetables you grow that you didn’t know you could eat, including broccoli leaves, carrot tops, and the leaves and flowers of fava bean plants.

That’s quite an assortment, right? Have you tried eating any of these unusual vegetables? (Because even though we typically think of them as scraps, those leaves are vegetables in their own right.)

(If you don’t feel like reading this entire post, then skip ahead to the bottom where I share how you can help a small business in your community.)

The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook: Recipes and Techniques for Whole Plant Cooking
This is the veggie equivalent of nose-to-tail butchery

The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook: Recipes and Techniques for Whole Plant Cooking has been in the works since last year, but it feels incredibly timely now, with a lot more people cooking at home and taking an interest in being less wasteful, more sustainable, and more eager to grow their own food.

Think of this book as the veggie equivalent of nose-to-tail butchery. It shows you how to use up the entire plant, from top to tail, in fresh and approachable recipes across a variety of global cuisines.

It helps you get more mileage out of the food you grow or buy so that less of it goes in the compost pile and more of it ends up on your plate.

Watermelon rind seasoned and ready for pickling
Shaved watermelon rind ready for pickling

With my book as your guide in the kitchen:

✔️ You’ll know how to store your produce in ways that extend their freshness, and how to revive them when they go limp. (It’s one simple trick that makes all the difference!)

✔️ You’ll learn my special mix-and-match technique for making a well-balanced vegetable stock, and use this same technique for turning almost anything into pesto. (I include easy-to-follow “food matrixes” in this chapter so you’ll master this in no time.)

✔️ You’ll discover a whole new range of flavors and textures, just from the same things you’ve been growing or buying all along. (No obscure vegetables or spices, no fancy tools or gadgets, no intricate cooking techniques that take all day. In fact, you might even learn a few new ways of doing things in the kitchen that save time and sanity.)

There’s nothing exotic about any of the ingredients I cover. I’m here to crush some of the common food myths we’ve been led to believe about what is or isn’t edible in the world of plants.

Braised radishes and radish greens with farro
Braised radishes and radish greens with farro

When The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook was originally published (as The CSA Cookbook in 2015) it was considered ahead of its time. And not in a particularly good way.

I remember emailing LocalHarvest (a local farm directory that connects consumers to small farmers and food producers) about promoting The CSA Cookbook to their community, and they said, “Sorry, but people aren’t ready for this type of book.”

Imagine that: people weren’t ready to embrace the concept of eating vegetables beyond what they saw in supermarkets or ordered in restaurants. No leek tops, no radish greens, no pepper leaves or sweet potato vines.

(I don’t blame LocalHarvest, by the way. They knew what their customer base wanted, and it wasn’t this weird book with the weird name — a name that was sometimes mistaken to stand for The Confederate States of America Cookbook. CSA actually stands for Community Supported Agriculture.)

Shortly after that rejection, the “ugly produce” and zero-waste movement started gaining traction in the mainstream, and people started opening themselves up to the idea of cooking with “scraps.”

Fava leaf salad with citrus
Fava leaf salad with citrus and a garnish of fava bean flowers

When my publisher and I decided to rebrand the book as The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook (new name and cover, but same recipes inside), we had no idea that a pandemic would happen or that Victory Gardens would become a thing again.

We just wanted to reintroduce the concept of wasting less food in the kitchen while getting more nutrition along the way. And now, the book can help more people than ever because it feels like the masses are finally ready for it.

My original book introduction said I didn’t write the book to be a manifesto on food waste or food insecurity. And to a certain extent, that still holds true.

I don’t want it associated with a time when people are worried about feeding their families or panicked about stores running out of food.

I want The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook to shine as a celebration of all the lowly vegetables that may finally have their moment in the kitchen. At the same time, I want to help people eat better, spend less, and waste less without sacrificing flavor.

I hope it inspires people to look at their gardens differently and approach their cooking with a more open and curious mind. I want everyone to see a zucchini plant and think, “Hmm, what can I make with those leaves?” (Yes, zucchini leaves are edible.)

Edible squash shoots
Squash shoots are edible

I’ll be honest, I had a different promotional post written for my book (that I had ready to go a couple months ago). But well, things have changed and I want to use this opportunity for good now that I’m hitting publish.

Normally I’d insert a bunch of links here for major retailers where you can preorder my book. While I’m thankful for the support of those retailers, we all know they’ll come out of this crisis okay, so I’d like us to come together and make a bigger impact on a smaller scale.

Where our money really needs to go is to the small businesses in our communities, and I’ve got a way for you to help make that happen.

This post contains links to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may earn a commission if you buy something through one of our links. How this works.

If you’re able to preorder The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook, I encourage you to call your local independent bookshop and place an order with them. Indies need our support more than ever now, and this is a great way to lift up a wonderful small business in your neighborhood.

If there isn’t a neighborhood bookshop in your area, visit Bookshop.org and order your copy there.

You can also go to the Store Locator and see if your favorite bookstore is listed. (It doesn’t even have to be local to you… maybe you want to support your hometown bookstore?) If they are, preorder the book through their special Bookshop.org-branded site so they receive a commission for the sale.

The way Bookshop.org works, they take 10 percent of all sales and evenly distribute it to all of their affiliated bookstores. Bookstores that sell through Bookshop.org via their own storefronts get 25 percent of sales and can offer more titles than they’re able to carry in their brick-and-mortar shop.

These are wins all around!

Grilled fava beans (that require NO shelling)
Grilled fava beans — that’s right, no shelling required because you can eat the entire pod

One more thing. (It’s good, I promise.)

There’s an amazing bookseller in my town of Bend called Dudley’s Bookshop Cafe, and they’ve been big supporters of my last two books.

I’m thrilled to be partnering with them to offer signed copies of The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook if you’d like to have your book signed or personalized with a message.

Maybe you never got around to buying the original book before it was discontinued, or maybe you’d like to buy one now as a gift. And you want to make it fun and special with a signed copy that also gives back to my local bookshop. (THANK YOU.)

We’re making it super easy for you to get a personally signed book:

  • Send an email to Dudley’s Bookshop Cafe, or
  • Message them on their Facebook page, or
  • Call them at (541) 749-2010 (they’re in the shop every day from 10am to 1pm PT)

Let Dudley’s know you want to purchase a signed copy of The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook and they’ll get it done for you.

(If you want to order The Backyard Fire Cookbook or The New Camp Cookbook as well — or instead — I’ll happily sign them for you when purchased from Dudley’s.)

If you live in Bend, they can arrange for curbside pickup or free local delivery of your book. (How cool is that!)

Otherwise, they can ship the book via Media Mail (which is a very inexpensive option).

I hope you’ll consider buying your book this way to help keep our treasured bookshops afloat, long after we’re able to visit them in person again.

April 28, 2020 is the new release date I’ve been told so far, but that may change with all that’s going on logistically in the world.

I’ll continue to update you as I find out more from my publisher!

Thank you for sticking it out with me and for your support, always. Here’s to shopping small and eating better!

Side note: If you’re not in a position to make a purchase right now, I’d greatly appreciate your help in spreading the word about my book. Here are some easy, effective ways to support an author without buying a book.

Linda Ly About Author

I'm a plant lover, passionate road-tripper, and cookbook author whose expert advice and bestselling books have been featured in TIME, Outside, HGTV, and Food & Wine. The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook is my latest book. Garden Betty is where I write about modern homesteading, farm-to-table cooking, and outdoor adventuring — all that encompass a life well-lived outdoors. After all, the secret to a good life is... Read more »