New health food sensation may be in your back yard

Published 1:48 am Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Word is quickly spreading about the newest health food, and it is something you can put in your own back yard. It’s not tomatoes. It’s not watermelon. It’s not your dog.

It’s compost.

That’s right. Dr. Joe King, a contributor to the Food Network and the Home and Garden Network, made the discovery while eating a baked potato. He enjoyed eating the potato peel, having heard that it contains nutrients that have health benefits. He wondered if other foods’ outer layers would also be as beneficial, like a banana peel, then took the next logical step.

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“Compost is rich in nutrients for plants; everyone knows that,” King said. “It just stands to reason that it would be good for people, too.”

King has collaborated with some of TV’s most famous gardeners and chefs. Martha Stewart is considering combining her cooking ventures with her gardening properties and making a combination compost-cooking network. Rachael Ray announced that she has begun work on a new book, “Compost Desserts and Other Trashy Goodies.”

Giada De Laurentiis has already worked compost into some of her favorite recipes, and is finding new ways to use it.

“I grind it into a powder and sprinkle it on all of my desserts,” she said in a Web site release. “It’s great! It turns out that compost powder is the new orange zest.”

Ray is including compost stews in her upcoming book and even a compost wine that mixes the best of her compost pile with grapes and berries she also grows in her garden.

“Compost wines are sure to replace California wines as the domestic wines of choice,” she writes in her blog about her new compost book. “Of course, the California wineries are bound to raise a stink about it!”

“While it’s too early to tell the long-term effects of a diet that includes compost, it seems to have many benefits that people did not even consider,” said Dr. Bob Frapples of the Fermented Foods Laboratory in Feeling, Ill. “When it’s pureed, it can even be used as a toothpaste that protects teeth and provides a clean, fresh breath. When frozen, it becomes its own Popsicle, if you keep the sticks in it — or if you carve it into a bar, you can use it as a soap or deodorant.”

With the economy the way it is, the newly discovered uses for compost can help feed families on a tight budget for a long, long time. In a way, it is the food that keeps on growing, as leftovers can be returned to the compost pile for reuse at a later date. A newly developed compost industry is bound to increase jobs and business and could turn out to be the market that turns the economy around.

If only that were true. It’s not my fault that today happens to be April Fools Day. Have a good one!