From Scraps to Spread 

A Beautiful Carrot Peel Jam Made from What Normally Gets Thrown Away

In the culinary world, the concept of “root to stem” cooking is not just a trend but a philosophy emphasizing sustainability and creativity. It’s a way of cooking that I had subscribed to for many years of my professional career. It’s a journey that challenges us to rethink our food usage, urging us to find value in what we might otherwise discard. As a chef who advocates for sustainability in southern Delaware, I’ve embarked on a delightful exploration of this philosophy, and I want to share this recipe for Carrot Peel Jam.

Carrots are a staple in kitchens worldwide, prized for their sweetness, versatility, and nutritional benefits. But what about their peels? Often overlooked and discarded, these humble carrot peels are a hidden treasure packed with flavor, nutrition, and potential. This recipe for Carrot Peel Jam flavored with vanilla, orange, and cardamom is a testament to how we can transform these simple scraps into something extraordinary. It’s perfect for spreading on toast, swirling into yogurt, or as a unique dessert topping. I created this recipe a few years ago and served it after a charity event for the Lewes Farmers Market, where they screened the Indy Film: Wasted! The Story of Food Waste.

This is the first article in a three-part series about sustainable food practices and utilizing food waste. This approach fosters a more mindful way of cooking and eating, where every morsel of food is cherished, and nothing is wasted. Let this Carrot Peel Jam inspire you to view your kitchen scraps in a new light and uncover the hidden flavors waiting to be discovered. 

Carrot Peel Jam


  • Carrot peels from about 900 grams of carrots
    (about 2 cups of peels)
  • 300 grams of granulated sugar (1.5 cups)
  • Juice and zest of 1 large orange
    (about 80 ml juice and 2 tablespoons zest)
  • Juice of 1 lemon (about 30 ml)
  • 1 vanilla bean, cut in half lengthwise, and scrape the seeds.
  • 5 grams of ground cardamom (1 teaspoon)
  • 120 ml of water (1/2 cup)
  • 15 grams of pectin (1 tablespoon)


Prepare the Carrot Peels:

Ensure the carrots are thoroughly scrubbed and cleaned before peeling. Save the peels in the freezer in an airtight container until you accumulate the required amount.

Cook the Peels:

Combine the carrot peels, water, orange juice, zest, and lemon juice in a medium saucepan. Simmer over medium heat until the peels are tender, about 10-15 minutes.

Mix Sugar and Pectin:

Mix the granulated sugar and pectin in a small bowl. This step is crucial to prevent clumping and ensure a smooth consistency in your jam.

Add Flavorings and Thicken:

Now, it’s time to infuse the saucepan with the magic of flavor. Add the sugar-pectin mixture, the vanilla bean (pod and seeds), and the ground cardamom. Keep stirring over low heat until the jam reaches its desired thickness, which should take around 20-30 minutes.

Test and Bottle:

To test the jam’s setting point, place a small amount on a chilled plate; if it wrinkles when pushed, it’s ready. Bottle the hot jam in sterilized jars, leaving about 6 mm (1/4 inch) of head space. Seal while hot.

Process and Store:

Process the finger-tight-sealed jars in a boiling water bath for 10 -15 minutes. Once cooled, check the seals. Store in a cool, dark place and refrigerate after opening.

Chef Hari Cameron, Chef consultant, is a renowned culinary expert, consultant and restaurateur. He has received critical acclaim for his modern farm-to-table approach to cooking and has been recognized for his numerous contributions to the hospitality industry. With a passion for using the highest quality Mid-Atlantic ingredients, Chef Cameron has become a leading voice in today’s culinary landscape.

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