I stood there aghast watching as the supermarket employee casually pulled up the nearest trash can and plucked pear after pear from the display and threw each one away. Just threw them away. Were they moldy? No. Were they recalled for a health reason? No. Their crime was that they were bruised. Not pretty enough. I couldn’t believe it. He must have thrown away 50 pears before I asked him if I could have a couple. “Sure,” he said, “but they’re ugly”. I told him that was precisely why I wanted them.
Our food waste statistics in this country are staggering. Feeding America estimates that we waste approximately 70 billion pounds of food in America each year (http://www.feedingamerica.org/about-us/how-we-work/securing-meals/reducing-food-waste.html), and a recent report from UNEP and the World Resources Institute, estimates that “one-third of all food produced worldwide, worth around US$1 trillion, gets lost or wasted in food production and consumption systems. When this figure is converted to calories, this means that about 1 in 4 calories intended for consumption is never actually eaten” (http://www.worldfooddayusa.org/food_waste_the_facts).
So, what can we do? Start with education. Educate yourselves and your families about cooking, meal planning and how to use fresh foods. Save and reuse leftovers, and craft recipes like this one that use bruised or leftover foods from your fridge. Most importantly though, let’s all work together to craft a community of food consciousness. Let’s work together in our food banks this Thanksgiving, let’s get our hands dirty in the garden and let’s get cooking!
- 4 boneless pork chops
- 3 tablespoons salt
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 10 whole black peppercorns
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper
For the chutney:
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 apple, diced
- one shallot, diced
- one (ugly) Bosc pear, diced
- 1/4 cup jumbo golden raisins
- 1/3 cup of chopped walnut pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon thyme
- Brine your pork chops. Fill a large bowl with cold water and stir in 3 tablespoons salt and sugar until dissolved. Stir in peppercorns. Add pork chops to cold water mixture and allow to rest in brine for at least 30 minutes.
- While chops are in the brine, make your chutney. In a medium sized pot, combine all chutney ingredients over medium to medium-high heat. Stir occasionally and cook until until mixture is reduced by half.
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. While your oven is warming up, get a cast-iron skillet on the stove and begin heating 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the skillet. Heat oil until shimmery. Remove chops from brine and pat dry. Liberally salt and pepper both sides of the chops and sear them in your hot cast iron for 2 minutes on each side.
- Once seared, finish the chops in the oven at 400 degrees for an additional 5 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 135 degrees.
- Allow chops to rest for at least 10 minutes then cover with chutney and pan drippings. Enjoy!