I was trolling Facebook a couple months ago for my usual dose of inspiring quotes, cute puppy pictures and the latest health news, when I came across an article about a new counterculture centered around Ugly Fruit. Ugly fruit is the new name for produce that does not have the typical look and shape that we are used to – carrots look like two people hugging, lemons look like a Medusa head, and strawberries closely resemble a starfish. And while these fruits are fun to look at (and to post on Instagram!), people don’t choose to purchase them for eating, despite the fact that they taste exactly like the perfectly shaped ones. Therefore, this produce goes to waste. In fact, it is now documented that over 300 million tons of fruits and vegetables are thrown away each year. I know, shocking!
This statistic really bothered me, much how it bothered a French supermarket called Intermarché. Intermarché decided that it had enough of throwing away perfectly good produce, so it launched a program called the “Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables Campaign.” The store decided to give the funny looking produce its own aisle, labels and placement on store receipts, in an effort to get people to buy the produce. And just because the veggies and fruits weren’t exactly easy on the eyes, the market also sold them for a whopping 30 percent discount! And what happened? The customers started to BUY the produce! It was so effective that each store sold an average of 1.2 tons during the first two days of the campaign – boosting sales by 24%!
This story really inspired me to start my own campaign, one that would help people to understand that this produce is NOT waste, but something to be eaten… or juiced. So it got me thinking, while people may never like the sight of ugly fruit on their plates or bowls, maybe they wouldn’t mind drinking it. And guess what? I was right!
So I was off to save the Ugly fruit, by promoting the power of juice (forgive my cheesiness here). I went to my local grocery stores and farmers markets asking if they had “ugly” fruit stored in the back. And as I bet you have already guessed, they did! Not only were they surprised that I wanted it, but they were also willing to sell it for a bit a price break. Win, win! I packed my car with produce of all shapes and sizes, and put my juicer to work. The juicer I use is the Breville 900-Watt – it’s easy to use and clean up, plus it is tough as nails (this is important when juicing roots).
With the Ugly fruit as my juice inspiration, I came up with new juice combinations that I had never even tried before. My favorite one is a crisp citrus blend. I started with a few of my favorite citrus fruits, then sweetened it with carrot, added a little heat with a knob of ginger, and rounded it out with cilantro and lime… divine!
The good news is that by purchasing the left over, forgotten Ugly fruit, you actually save a ton of money. I know that one of the main reasons that people don’t juice is because it is expensive, but this helps to make it affordable. So not only are you helping to minimize waste, you are also able to start incorporating juicing into your normal routine. How cool is that?! If you are completely new to juicing, try my recipe below, and check out my juicing guide. This will give you the overview of how juicing is beneficial to your health, and which combinations are best.
All in all, I hope you were inspired by my idea of making Ugly Juice, which was motivated by Williams-Sonoma Juice Week. If we all get on board, think about how much waste we could prevent from being made, while improving our health. So get out there and join my Ugly Juice campaign, and share your favorite Ugly Juice recipes below!
Citrus Cali “Ugly” Juice
- 1 orange (any type), peeled
- 1 tangerine, peeled
- 1/2 grapefruit, peeled
- 2 medium-sized carrots
- 1 lime, peeled
- 2 inch knob of ginger, peeled
- 1 handful (1/2 cup) cilantro
- pinch of sea salt
Pass ingredients through the juicer. Add a pinch of sea salt and stir. Enjoy!