More Soup. Less Waste.

By: Carole-Ann
January 12, 2011

A bowl of hot soup on a winters day. Nothing seems more nourishing. Turns out, soup isn’t just nourishing to our bodies and souls, it nourishes the environment too. Stone Soup FoodWorks is a new venture started by former school teacher Jacqueline Jolliffe that strives to “connect people with one another and the land through a rich and healthy relationship with food.”

Stone Soup does this by delivering soup made from local, organic produce to people’s homes, teaching soup making classes, and serving soup out of her solar powered soup truck.

One dimension of soup making that Jacqueline is particularly excited about is that she is able to make use of produce that would likely end up in the compost bin. Often fresh food doesn’t make it to supermarket shelves simply for cosmetic reasons. In fact, Macleans recently reported that “between 25 and 40 per cent of most fruit and vegetable crops are …rejected by Western supermarkets.” Why do we throw away a significant chunk of what we produce? Because people don’t like wonky produce–they want their carrots straight, their tomatoes red and round and non-knobby potatoes.

“The thing about making soup” Jacqueline says “is that it makes this food palatable.” Jacqueline did a great deal of travelling before setting back into the Ottawa area. Visits to Nepal and Equador and her degree in Development Studies opened her eyes to the enormous amounts of food waste in Western cultures.

Jacqueline believes people need to have the skills to feed themselves, no matter what their income. And, the amazing thing about soup is the better your skill set (using a knife, matching flavours, working with different ingredients etc.) the further you can stretch your budget. So, if you know what you’re doing, you can turn a slightly bruised squash into an incredible bowl of nourishing goodness.

Through many, many hours of practice, Jacqueline had come up with some tips for doing the most with what you’ve got, and reducing food waste by making soup:

  • Good stock doesn’t need pretty produce in it. When using garlic, carrots, shallots, just cut out the “nasty bits” and throw them in the pot
  • Turn less attractive produce into puree. Just throw everything into the food processor to create the consistency you like
  • You know it’s ready when you just can’t stop tasting it

There are a few excellent books and articles on the subject of food waste in the US and Canada. Here are a couple of my picks.

Here’s a video of Jonathan Bloom discussing his book + the issue of food waste