Artisanal Ice Cream Meets ‘Rescued Local Produce'

Salt & Straw Ice Cream is taking on reclaimed food waste via a host of delectable new flavors.

It's likely that, at some point in your life, a friend or a sibling or a spouse has asked you if you intend to finish whatever is on your plate.

If it is in your hand, like an ice cream cone? You can bet that someone nearby is awaiting your final pause, that golden moment they can swoop in and relieve you of whatever goodie you couldn't quite fully devour.

But when it comes to the new Salt & Straw ice cream flavors, the whole concept of not being wasteful began even before the confection first came together.

The boutique ice-creamery, which started in Portland in 2011 but now boasts a few Southern California outposts, has teamed up with the nonprofit Food Forward to "...use reclaimed fruits, veggies, grains, and spices" in a host of intriguing, fresh-for-summer flavors.

What's a reclaimed fruit or veggie? Think of the green tops of beets, which are frequently tossed into the trash, or the "leftover 'spent' grains from the local brewery," which can also be incorporated into something delicious.

It's a move that encourages ice cream lovers, and all eaters, to rethink their food-discarding choices, and to maybe, just perhaps, see if edible cast-offs can find their delicious way into more of our recipes.

As for the fanciful flavors, which'll be available through June 29 at regional Salt & Straws? They include Food Forward's Top of the Beet, Whey-Preserved Strawberries, Salt-Cured Backyard Citrus Creamsicle, Three Weavers' Spent Grain with Blackberry Fig Jam, and Greenbar Distillery's Gin Spices & Tonic.

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Each ice cream listed uses reclaimed foodstuffs in creative, haute culinary ways. Food Forward's Top of the Beet does indeed use the beet's leafy green "hat," while the tangy limes, lemons, grapefruits, and oranges in the Creamsicle ice cream hail from backyards, where, quite often, much of the fruit goes uneaten and unenjoyed.

As for a portion of the proceeds on each scoop sold of the five flavors? You betcha: Food Forward is the beneficiary.

To get up on the Food Forward movement, which "...rescue(s) 300,000 pounds of surplus produce each week from fruit trees, farmers markets, and the Los Angeles Wholesale Produce Market," click.

For more on each flavor's back story, including where the "reclaimed" element weaves into the creamy plot, start here, on the Salt & Straw flavors page.

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