Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Reducing food waste, one vegetable scrap at a time

"I WAS SAVING THOSE!"

"They were GROSS!"

"I WAS SAVING THOSE FOR A REASON!"

Huff. Puff. Door slam. Cold shoulder.

We don't fight about much, but oh did Mr. T and I exchange words over the vast pile of egg shells he threw away without my permission.

Yes, I said egg shells.

Post-Christmas clean-out-the-fridge veggie stock extravaganza. 
It was Spring time and I'd just baked enough cookies to satisfy a bushel of pilots at T's annual formation flying clinic. The egg shells? I was drying them so I could then crush them up as organic material for my hungry, hungry tomatoes.

When at first I couldn't find the plate of shells, I felt bewildered. One generally doesn't lose a dozen cracked shells. But to know I'd been thwarted in my organic quasi-composting endeavors? Cue gardener rage. (I'm sure that's a real thing.)

Anyway, since early last year, I've been hell bent on reducing our food waste in creative ways. I used to have a tortoise to take care of produce scraps, but since Martin's departure from the family, I've had to get creative.

Veggie scraps from the month of December. It's a busy chopping/peeling
month around these parts. Some times I chop the scraps into small pieces,
others times, I toss in big chunks (see left). The smaller the pieces, the more
flavorful the veggie stock will be. Also, check out my awesome Christmas
cutting board! (If being excited about a hard wood cutting board means I'm
old, then that is A-okay.)
Lately, I employ two main strategies. One is composting, which I'll write about later if my DIY-compost bin turns out to be a success in a few months. The other is compulsively saving veggie scraps for stock.

Any time I'm chopping vegetables, I save the ends or peelings in a gallon ziplock which lives in the freezer. Not only does this provide fodder for seriously tasty and FREE vegetable stock, it enables me to waste so much less produce.

The 1/4 bunch wilting parsley? Frozen for stock. The pile of potato peels? Frozen for stock. The kale I couldn't bring myself to eat but don't want to throw away so I wait until it's just this side of fresh? Frozen for stock. You get the idea.

I save all manner of vegetable remnants... onion ends, leek tops, potato peels, broccoli stocks, almost-bad garlic clover, small bits of fresh herbs, mushroom stems. Anything you can think of really. Every couple months, I toss them in a pot along with water, some extra onions, carrots and celery, and simmer up rich, flavorful stock. (For tips on making the best veggie stock ever, click here.)

Do you have any other magic tips for reducing food waste in your kitchen? I'd love to read your comments and ideas!

xoxo,
shawna

Other cooking things:







1 comment:

  1. I've been saving veggie scraps for compost for a couple years now. Love feeling like I'm not wasting stuff. That being said I've NEVER thought to freeze them for stock! DUH. What a great idea! I'll definitely be starting that one!

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