Here’s an opening line for you: The area I live in recently cracked down on trash collection. Now the only bin that gets collected weekly is our food waste and, when I tell you it is small, I mean it is small. It’s half the size of my two-year-old, barely bigger than a home printer.
But after the initial uproar, I have embraced the weekly challenge of getting my food waste down to the tiniest amount. That blackening banana gets chopped up and frozen for smoothies. Sad herbs are blitzed into pesto or chopped and frozen in an ice cube tray with olive oil. Leftover rice gets thrown in the fridge, then revived the next day for nasi goreng or egg fried rice. Extra pasta is repurposed into a satisfyingly crispy frittata. Squidgy fruit is made into pies, cobblers, and jams. Discarded, damp ground coffee from my morning cafetiere is tipped into flower beds.
The small bin has forced me to cook more conscientiously and live more frugally. Some days this feels like a burden. Others, a victory.
In the summer, making lemonade with surplus fruit and veg is one of my favorite efforts. I’ll make a vat for a day at home with the kids, feeling quietly smug that I’ve nailed parenting for all of two minutes before pulling my hair out because they’re fighting over the same toy, or asking them 20 times to “please just put your shoes on.” But one lemonade flavor in particular makes everyone happy: cucumber seed.
If you are like me, you most often acquire cucumber seeds via a batch of tzatziki. This family-favorite dip has no use for the seeds—but they’re still worth using. That might feel mad insignificant in the battle against food waste, but in this war with my local council, if I can save something from that food waste bin, I will do it. And anyway, cucumber lemonade is pure joy—one of the happiest discoveries I have made from this one-sided feud.
So go make tzatziki, then make cucumber lemonade with the offcuts. Everyone’s a winner.
When life gives you cucumbers, make cucumber seed lemonade:
Halve 1 English cucumber lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the jug of your blender (you can also make this in a jar with an immersion blender). Add 5 Tbsp. granulated sugar, the juice of 3 large lemons (discarding the pips), and the leaves from a bushy sprig of mint. Blitz all the ingredients together until supersmooth. Taste and add more lemon or sugar depending on your preference. Transfer to a serving jug. When you are ready to serve, top with 2–2½ cups (depending on how sweet you like your lemonade) still or sparkling water (depending on if you want it flat or fizzy). To serve, pour over ice. This makes about 4 glasses.