When you are in the kitchen, it’s easy to create a lot of “waste.” Peels, tops, stems…it adds up.
But, those scraps and waste can also be used.
No more tossing those useful parts of veggies into the compost!
So many peels and stalks from your veggies can be useful in the kitchen.
Making a salad with kale? Save the stalk.
Making mashed potatoes? Save the peels.
Chopping onions? Save the skins.
Since you’re unlikely to have enough scraps to get a pot of stock made from one day of meals, I recommend reusing a resealable bag or container in the freezer.
Once your container is full, toss everything in a pot and fill it with water. Leave it to boil and then simmer 1-2 hours. Then you can use the vegetable stock immediately or freeze for future use.
Some veggie scraps you’ll find me using in my stock pot:
- potato peels
- onion skins
- kale/collard stems and leaves
- cabbage leaves
- winter squash skins
- scallion tops
- leek greens
- carrot skins and tops
- celery bottoms and leaves
- herbs and their stalks – parsley, sage, basil, rosemary
Ever buy a flat of strawberries to make jam or pie? Or a pint for the week to enjoy at lunchtime?
Instead of tossing the tops of the strawberries into the compost bin, save them!
When I make strawberry jam (a once a year occurrence), I’ll save the tops of the strawberries, greens and all, and place them into a freezer bag. When I’m ready to make a smoothie (or a batch), I’ll pull out the bag and add the tops to the mix.
And just like the freezer container of veggie scraps, you can continue to add pieces of fruits to this bag of tricks that you can bring out when you are ready to make a smoothie.
Other fruits I’ll add to my smoothie mix bag:
- strawberry tops
- browning bananas (remove the peel and place in container)
- softening blueberries or other fruits I didn’t get to in time
- rhubarb stalks
Sautéed Mix Bag
Eat swiss chard and you’ll end up with stalks and stalks. Enjoy scallions, you’ll end up with greens. Recipe only calls for half a pepper?
Enter the Sautéed Mix Bag!
Again another great freezer addition. Save vegetable pieces in a freezer container and pull out to use in all sorts of delicious meals, like:
- fried rice
- soups and stews
- stuffed peppers
- sautéed vegetables
It’s a great way to add some extra nutrition to the dishes you are making, without taking away from the flavor profile you’re after for the meal.
Admittedly, I have two of these bags in my freezer, but do what works for you and your typical meal rotation:
- Soup/Stew – filled with chopped celery leaves, swiss chard/kale/collard stalks, remnants of leftover peppers/onions/tomatoes, herb stalks and leaves
- Risotto – filled with swiss chard/kale/collard stalks, leek/scallion greens, onion remnants, herb stalks and leaves
I hope this post inspires you to rethink waste in your kitchen and use those scraps in your delicious kitchen creations!