I’ve always been a fan of using all parts of the food I have. Even if I peel or trim something, I try to find a use for it. I’ve become more aware of alternate uses for foods since my CSA gives me food the way it was picked fresh from the farm.
When I was given beets, something I had never prepared before, they came with the green leaves. Instead of cutting them off and tossing them, I sautéed the greens, chopped them up, and used them in lasagna. I look forward to opening winter squash so I can scoop out and roast the seeds.
So when I saw the New York Times article That’s Not Trash, That’s Dinner talking about using every part of a piece of food from leaves to peels to rinds, I loved it. I even found a new recipe I want to try, broccoli stalks with lemon.
The easiest and my favorite way to use “scraps” is for homemade vegetable broth. Homemade broth is so much better than store-bought, is very easy to make and a great way to get rid of vegetables starting to go bad or use the odds and ends in the fridge. Anytime you peel a potato, cut the end of a carrot or have leftover parsley or mushroom stems, save those parts in an airtight container.
I’ve heard greens and lettuce will make the stock bitter. Other than that, any vegetable you would find in soup should work. Especially mushroom, it’s a great base. When you have enough vegetables (don’t forget garlic!), throw them with some salt and pepper into a big pot of cold water. I’m talking eight or ten cups of water big. Bring it to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 45 minutes, let cool and drain the vegetables.
You will be left with a little less than the eight to ten cups of water you started with. But if that is still too much broth, I have a solution. Depending on the space in your freezer, pour cooled broth into muffin tins or ice cube trays. (Each regular size muffin holds about 1/4 a cup broth, each ice cub holds about 1/8 a cup.) Once frozen, pop into a freezer bag. When you need broth, it’s already measured and you can defrost what you need.
What is your solution for using every part of your food?