The project explores creative ways to turn by-products of the vegetable industry into high quality products by making smart use of the natural characteristics of vegetables. It demonstrates that the use of by-products and rejected vegetables can go far beyond making boring soups and sauces! At the same time, it educates consumers about what our food exists out of.
As example, STROOOP! presents the first plant-based stroopwafel made from by-products of the vegetable industry (Proverka, Helmond). Each waffle is made out of 100 grams of carrot, beetroot or celeriac. The juice of the vegetables is turned into syrup and the fibers are used to make the dough for the waffles.
The stroopwafels are entirely plant-based, made from by-products and locally available Dutch ingredients. They are a great source of dietary fiber and free of gluten, added sugar and food-colorings. Like this, they are better for the environment, the farmer and us!
FROM PROOF OF CONCEPT TO CONSUMER PRODUCT
I never intended to turn the vegetable stroopwafels from proof of concept into a consumer product. But after the enormous succes during the Dutch Design Week (2016) and other events where we let people taste the waffles, it became clear that consumers are really interested in plant-based, healthier and more sustainable alternatives for cookies and snacks! So, at the moment we're figuring out how to turn the stroopwafels from proof of concept into a real consumer product.
PROCESS: FROM VEGGIE TO STROOPWAFEL
The STROOOP! project started in January 2016, when I was preparing dinner. I took some sweet potatoes out of the oven and saw a kind of caramel-like substance running out of the potatoes. It fascinated me that something we perceive as a ‘healthy vegetable’ could be so easily turned into something extremely sweet that we would see as unhealthy.
I never ate those potatoes, but tried to get out as many of the caramel-like substance. Completely obsessed with the idea of turning one sweet potato into one cotton candy, I started experimenting and diving into the world of plant-biology and food science.
Because I didn’t have the right equipment in my kitchen, but more importantly because sweet potatoes entail maltose and not sucrose (which you need for cotton candy) my experiments failed. After consulting some experts I moved on to testing beets, carrots and other root vegetables with different carbohydrate structures. I wasn’t able to crystallize the sugars in the root vegetables for cotton candy, but I found out how I can make delicious vegetable syrups.
While making the syrups I was left with a lot of vegetable fibre. I didn’t want to waste anything. That was the AHA moment when I thought about turning one portion of root vegetables into one stroopwafel!
Because it didn’t make any sense to use the whole vegetable, I contacted ZLTO and they connected me to Proverka - a company that turnes vegetable misfits and by-products into juices and fibers. I continued the experimentation and recipe development with their raw materials and asked Martin Schreiber, master student food technology, to help developing the recipe with as little added ingredients as possible.
PHOTOS DDW'16 | by Maartje Strijbis