Wasting Good Food Because Of Beauty

David Trammel's picture

Good article on how we waste so much otherwise good food, in this case Carrots, because of artificial standards of beauty imposed on us by Corporate Marketing.

Battle of the Brave Root: The story of the carrot

"Patrick Holden, founder of the Sustainable Food Trust and a dairy farmer, grew carrots on his land for 27 years. He suffered up to 50% grade-out losses at the hands of supermarket standards. Patrick comments that, “Customers are hard-wired to choose cosmetically perfect produce, so you’ve got to have some sympathy with the retailers’ heavy grading. We buy on appearance, but if you knew the story behind the carrots then you probably wouldn’t want to buy them. When it comes to carrots, there is very little value put on flavour and nutrition. What’s produced instead tends to be tasteless carrots, often with chemical residues, that look cosmetically great.”


Do you find yourself discarding otherwise eatable produce because it doesn't live up to the picture perfect?

ClareBroommaker's picture

I will speak up for the beautiful carrot. The beautiful carrot is plumper than the twisted, ugly carrot. This means that it has far fewer crevices for sand to lodge in and to later grind on your teeth, removing enamel as you chew. The beautiful carrot has a smaller surface area compared to the inner portion of the root, meaning that you lose proportionately less vegetable to peeling. In fact, you are less like to lose any vegetable to peeling the beautiful carrot because the sweet to bitter ratio is in better balance when there is relatively less of the bitter "skin". The beautiful carrot is easier to eat, especially raw, because it is likely to have a higher water content, making it crisp and the fibers less tough.

I told my garden buddy that I think my backyard garden soil is finally in condition to grow nice carrots after 25 years of mulching and composting. The kind of soil you have makes a big difference in how carrots grow. Of course, in one's own garden, those funny looking carrots get used regardless of appearance.

I'm old enough to remember going to the grocer and asking for some carrots and he got them, weighed them, put them in a brown paper bag---and you took what he gave you. There wasn't any issue at all of not using the ugly veggies. ;-)

When you first encounter packaged rice cauliflower in the supermarket, it may strike you are a pretty stupid idea, but cauliflower heads can turn brown while your back is turned. Cauliflower rice makes a lot sense under those conditions. And I love having a supply of frozen veggies on hand.

How to make cauliflower rice