Savoury biscuits with bite, from new trader Nibs etc
Image: Chloë Stewart
“I first came across the idea of making food using the pulp left over from juicing fruit and vegetables in America, about seven years ago. I had seen some pulp muffins while there, but didn’t really give the idea any more thought,” says Chloë Stewart, founder of Nibs etc and food waste campaigner.
Shortly after moving to London, she was standing next to a stall selling juices when she noticed boxes of pulp waiting to be thrown away. Chloë had always tried to keep waste to a minimum and had already started the Nibs etc blog, where she encourages the up-cycling of leftovers and creates no-waste recipes—“but I think those pulp muffins must have sparked something in my mind. I thought it might be fun to experiment with pulp recipes, and so asked the woman selling the juices if I could take some home. She thought I was crazy, but is now a good friend.”
However, it can be tricky designing recipes with pulp—some are bitter, others are fibrous: it is a movable feast. “At first the pulp in the crackers changed all the time, because I was using several juice bars. Though that was fine by me, as I considered the slight differences in flavour as just part of the crackers, to make my time more efficient I now use the pulp from just one supplier, who is giving me the amount I need at the right quality,” she explains. “That also means that the pulp is regular in terms of flavour and texture, so I get more consistent crackers. At the moment, it’s made up of carrot, apple and ginger.”
A proper crack
After some time experimenting, she ended up with several recipes that worked well. “The pulp crackers are the latest of my recipes.” Made with pulp, oats, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, golden linseed, poppy seeds, and salt, “the first thing to say is that they have a proper crack, which I think is essential,” Chloë continues. “They are also definitely a savoury cracker, though there is a very subtle sweet undertone which comes from the pulp. But what’s interesting is that some people detect it and others do not.”
As well as the nice snap, you also get the crunch of the seeds and bite from the oats, so there is a bit more texture than in the usual water crackers most people are familiar with. Despite their main ingredient, these crackers are strong enough to be loaded up with things like eggs, avocado or cheese without dissolving—“so if you like to dip your crackers, these will work for you. You can dip them in hummus, or top them with chutney and cheese. I love them with gruyere, or that slight hint of sweetness from the pulp really complements blue cheese. They have some wonderful cheeses at Jumi Cheese that go well.”
Chloë also sometimes uses them as a toast substitute: “When I don’t feel like bread they are great with scrambled eggs and if they break, you can crumble them onto a salad,” she says. “I also like to just eat them plain—they are great as an afternoon snack instead of reaching for something sweet. They are just so versatile,” she says with a smile—proving that, with a bit of flair and imagination, it is possible to create many delicious things, all from food that was destined to be thrown away.