photo: Salt & Straw

The next time your kids leave food on the plate, skip the lecture in waste and take them out for a tasty lesson in sustainability with ice cream instead. One ice cream maker is setting out to put a dent in America’s food waste problem by recycling unused food into ice cream and it’s delicious.

According to the USDA, the U.S. wastes between 30-40 percent of it’s food supply every year. Tyler Malek, founder of Salt & Straw, a family run ice cream company with locations on the west coast, was looking to do something about the problem. Collaborating with non-profits, like LA’s Food Forward and Portland’s Urban Gleaners, who rescue surplus foods, Salt & Straw has created limited edition ice cream flavors made with reclaimed food.

photo: Salt & Straw

Each city has a localized five-flavor menu that includes selections like, Whey-Preserved Strawberries, which creates a strawberry preserve-like concoction using overripe berries and surplus whey, and Salt-Cured Backyard Citrus Creamsicle, using citrus reclaimed from backyards across Southern California to create a sweet marmalade that’s folded into vanilla ice cream. The flavors are only available for a limited time until the end of June.

“The fact that we waste 40% of our food in the United States while there are families and children not getting the food they need is a horrific reality and something that all of us in the food industry need to focus on changing. This ice cream menu is our little soapbox to talk about this issue and start showing creative ways to combat this problem. We’re using excess ingredients around our cities in super unique ways, such as using spent grains from local breweries like Three Weavers, ugly farm vegetables and leftover breads from local grocery stores,” said Tyler Malek.

Would you try these reclaimed food flavors? Share your thoughts in the comments below.