Reducing food waste is not just about buying only what you need, eating food before it spoils, and making sure you eat your leftovers. You can also reduce waste by eating parts of vegetables that you wouldn't usually eat. After all, the farmer put effort and resources into growing those bits as well.
We have a glut of parsley in the garden at the moment. I was chopping some for tabbouleh and thought for a moment that I may have accidentally picked a celery plant in amongst the parsley. The young leaves of my flat-leaf italian parsley looked just like celery leaves. I then noticed the stems are quiet thick and looked a little like celery. I tasted a stalk...and it did taste like celery, with a hint of parsley.
So I used the parsley stems as a celery substitute in a split pea soup I made today. I couldn't tell the difference. The soup was still just as delicious.
So next time a recipe calls for celery, i'll definitely be using parsley stalks instead. I've never had much luck growing celery and I rarely find organic celery, so I usually do without. Celery is one of those vegetables I won't buy unless its organic. It had the highest pesticide load of all the fruits and vegetables tested by the Environmental Working Group for their 2010 Shoppers Guide to Pesticides. And yay!, i've finally found an excuse to share this super cute dirty dozen cheat sheet.