Working for Good, Clean, Fair Food for All - Slow Food Urban San Diego Convivium of Slow Food International

Recipes To Reduce Food Waste

Special thanks to Slow Food Urban San Diego volunteer Jenny Ikoma for these great food waste fighting recipes!

Cooking With Rind

How to get the most out of your food and reduce waste.

Parmesan is a wonderful ingredient in the kitchen but did you know that you can use the rind as well? Stop wasting those precious rinds and save them up in the freezer for some amazing uses. The natural rinds of cheeses like Parmesan, Pecorino, and Romano is air dried like a crust and edible. The rinds can be used to flavor soups, stews, rice and bean dishes almost like bay leaves. Parmesan rinds can even be thrown together with other vegetable scraps such as onion, celery, carrot, mushroom stems, and herb steams like cilantro or parsley to make a delicious and nutritious broth.

Basic White Beans

1Lb. dried white beans (great northern, cannellini, navy, zolfino for example)

10 cups of water (or broth as mentioned above)

1 bay leaf

3 cloves of garlic peeled and smashed (more if desired)

1 Tbs olive oil

Cheese rind

Heavy pot or slow cooker


  1. Wash beans and place in pot with water, bay, garlic, and oil.
  2. Bring to the boil over high heat. Once at a boil turn to low heat
  3. Simmer 30-60 min or until beans start to soften then add cheese rind and continue to simmer until fully cooked
  4. Drain if desired and season with salt and pepper to taste.


Do not add salt or use salted stock/broth at the beginning of the cooking process so that the beans cook quickly and evenly.

Any fresh or dried herbs can be added to the cooking process as desired.

Once cooked beans can be eaten as is or added to soup, pureed into a dip, topped on pizza, mixed into pasta, tossed into salad, or pared with rice.

Dried beans are versatile, healthy and cheap!

Fish Stock

How to get the most out of your food and reduce waste.

If you ever take a Saturday morning trip over to the Tuna Harbor Dockside Market at the Port of San Diego you will see a dazzling array of seafood for sale direct from the fishermen who just caught it. While you can get a whole fish at a fraction of the cost of the grocery store it can be a bit daunting to purchase. What do you do with a whole fish? There is a butchering station there that will cut it up for you but don’t waste those heads! Make your money go even farther by cooking up some fish fumet that can be used to make healthy and delicious soups and pastas. Use it in chowders, bisques, cioppino, miso, even as a warm cup of “bone broth”.

Fish Fumet

1 Fish head (I used Opah) and bones if desired

1 large onion, small dice

2 carrots, small dice

3 celery stalks, small dice

2 Tbs butter or olive oil

2 bay leaves

2 Tbs peppercorns

6 sprigs thyme (or ½ tsp dried)

1 bunch parsley or cilantro stems

¼ Cup dry white wine or lemon juice

Aprox. 2 quarts cold water or enough to cover bones

Large pot

  1. Wash head and bones well and set aside
  2. Melt butter in large stockpot over medium heat and add onion, carrot, celery, bay, peppercorns, thyme and parsley, stirring often until vegetables become soft but not brown.
  3. Place fish head and bones in pot. Cover pot and let cook about 10 minutes or until bones have turned white
  4. Add wine or lemon juice then cover with water and let simmer on low heat approximately 30 minutes.
  5. Strain through a cheesecloth set inside a fine mesh strainer and cool over an ice bath if not using immediately.
  6. Once cool refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze up to 2 months. Like all homemade stock it will have a jellied consistence when cool but will melt when reheated.


Great way to use up vegetable trimmings as well. Feel free to add other vegetables such as mushrooms, leek, garlic, fennel but avoid strong flavors like broccoli, asparagus or bitter greens.

Oily fish such as salmon, tuna, or mackerel have a strong flavor and will make a stock right for their own chowders but will be too strong for other applications.

Easy stocks can also be made using crustacean shells like shrimp or crab.

Waste Not SD: Reducing Local Restaurant Food Waste

Food Waste is  a topic gaining momentum in the media as well as with individuals and organizations throughout the world.  You do not have to go far to find stories and programs around Ugly Fruit, Gleaning, Food Insecurity, Waste Free Dining, etc. Here in San Diego there is a new program designed to help combat food waste called Waste Not SD.  San Diego’s Specialty Produce recently started Waste Not SD to help recover food from local restaurants before it goes to waste and get it to local food insecure populations.

We spoke recently with Specialty Produce’s Allie Tarantino, who worked to bring the program to life.  Allie told me that she’s been working in food service for over a decade and that a ton of food goes to waste.  One single restaurant can have between 25,000 and 100,000 pounds of food waste a year.  Allie was inspired by other programs that exist, like LA Specialty’s Chef’s to End Hunger to create something in the San Diego area that can help reduce the amount of food that our restaurants throw away.

The program is genius in its simplicity.  Specialty Produce works with over 800 restaurants in San Diego County.  Those restaurants can order food safe containers along with their produce order, fill them up at the end of the day with food that would otherwise go to waste, and the Specialty Produce delivery team will pick it up and deliver it to a local organization that distributes the food to people in need.  Because the program builds on relationships and delivery routes that already exist, it requires minimal additional effort for any of the parties involved.

The program here is new, but Waste Not SD  has three active accounts and is already actively working with both Tom Ham’s Lighthouse and Bali Hai Restaurant to collect food and distribute it to non-profit partners that they’ve identified through the San Diego Food Bank.

If you are interested in learning more about the Waste Not SD program please contact

In San Diego, local seafood is limited to the coast

We are very pleased to share the following guest blog from California Sea Grant on local seafood in San Diego:

Most of the seafood consumed in the United States is imported. Even in California, it is likely that less than ten percent of the seafood consumed is domestic. With our coastal location, why aren’t San Diegans enjoying locally caught seafood?

A new study shows that just eight percent of the city’s 86 seafood markets consistently carried San Diego-sourced seafood. Fourteen percent of markets carried it on occasion. The majority of markets that did carry local seafood were located within a mile and a half of the coast.

“Locally landed San Diego seafood isn’t that accessible to San Diego consumers,” said researcher Nina Venuti. “Few seafood markets in the city sell San Diego-sourced seafood.”

To buy locally-caught fish in San Diego, many shoppers have to visit the Tuna Harbor Dockside Market in downtown. It is one of few seafood markets that consistently carry local catch.

To buy locally-caught fish in San Diego, many shoppers have to visit the Tuna Harbor Dockside Market in downtown. It is one of few seafood markets that consistently carry local catch.

San Diego-based commercial fishermen Luke Halmay and Nathan Perez see the Port of San Diego redevelopment as an opportunity to reevaluate how space is distributed

One of the potential limitations to local seafood access identified by the study was a lack of waterfront workspace, including space for docking boats, maintaining gear, offloading and refrigerating catch, and for selling catch directly to the public. To maintain local seafood systems and the fishing heritage of many waterfront cities, reliable waterfront infrastructure is needed. With the Port of San Diego reviewing plans for a radical redevelopment of Central Embarcadero. San Diegans have an opportunity right now to fulfill this need.

The study also pointed to a lack of urban infrastructure as a potential barrier to establishing and supporting a local seafood system. Unlike agriculture, seafood production is limited to the coast. Therefore, local distributors may play a larger role in increasing community access to local seafood, bridging the gap between the waterfront and the city’s restaurants and markets.

“Urban infrastructure like seafood processing, packaging and transport facilities, as well as markets and restaurants to sell our locally sourced catch are all needed to increase access throughout the city,” said study author Theresa Talley. “This will ensure that more of the fish landed by our fishermen ends up on more of our plates here in San Diego.”


A version of this post first appeared on the California Sea Grant website