Today I am going to talk about waste in the kitchen…what we sometimes waste and could use…it has the knock-on effect of saving money, having tastier, healthier meals with no preservatives or fillers…Reducing food waste not only helps the environment, but it’s also an excellent way to save some extra money and time.
How many of you peel your veggies including mushrooms then either put the peelings in a composter or just throw them in the trash?
Many vegetables like potatoes and carrots have edible skins just give them a wash or a soft scrub and prepare as usual. Always peel your potatoes or you have fussy people like my hubby who doesn’t like the skins left on but is quite happy to eat them if I deep fry or bake the peels…
Now no matter what you cook, you’re likely to produce waste, even if it’s just the garlic skins from a few cloves you’ve minced. If you cook more frequently, or if you’re cooking large quantities, or because you’re meal-planning for a week, you end up with a lot of waste: the root ends of onions, along with their severed tops and discarded skins; the tip and tail of a carrot, along with its peelings; the white root ends of celery, perhaps the leafy tops, and, if you’re diligent about such things, the stringy exterior of the stalks; scallion butts, and any of their ratty trim; herb stems; etc. The list is as endless as the list of stuff you’ve chopped.
Although we eat lots of veggies everyday there is not enough to make stock on a regular basis which is where the freezer comes in handy I keep a container or a zip lock bag and just pop my waste into it once the bag is full I have enough to make some stock..
While you can use a lot of vegetables in stock, you can’t use all of them, because some vegetables—particularly cruciferous ones like broccoli and cauliflower—will make your stock bitter…Cruciferous vegetables are vegetables of the family Brassicaceae (also called Cruciferae) such as cauliflower, cabbage, kale, garden cress, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and similar green leaf vegetables.
This list is of vegetables you can save for stock:
- Onions of any kind, including shallots: skin, top, root end.
- Scallions: anything you don’t use.
- Garlic: skin, any trim,
- Carrot: skin, root, tips.
- Celery: any and all of it, although leaves are better put to use in soups and salads.
- Turnip: any and all of it.
- Fennel: in moderation, bulb and fronds.
- Tomatoes: skin, seeds, flesh, pulp, tops.
- Mushrooms: any and all of them, but particularly the stems.
- More delicate herbs like parsley and thyme: stems and whatever’s on the verge of going bad. In moderation, woodsier herbs like rosemary or sage: again, stems and stuff that’s on the verge of going bad.
- Ginger: peel and any trim.
- Napa cabbage, but not any other cabbage: core and trim.
- Leeks: root end and green tops.
To make your vegetable stock then take your bag if freezing veggies for stock from the freezer and into the pan and cover with water once they come to the boil reduce the heat so the stock simmer and cook for 15 mins any longer and the stock may be too sweet if you use lots of onions for example this could happen some people say blitz the frozen veggies before cooking and some say just cover with water and cook and then strain through a fine sieve or muslin obviously if you are making chicken stock and using veggie scraps then you cook for longer.It took me a couple of tries before I got my vegetable stock right for our palate as it all depends on your vegetable base.
I make more fish stock and chicken stock than vegetable stock as that is what I use most of I usually keep 1 or two bags of vegetable stock in the freezer as its handy and depends on what I am cooking.
Many of us cut off the ‘eyes’ growing on potatoes before we eat them. These are simply the growing points on the vegetable and can be cleverly used to grow new ones. Instead of cutting them off and placing them in the trash, pop them in a plant pot instead. Be amazed as tiny new potatoes begin to grow.
Brocolli normally has quite a thick stem how many of you just throw it away and don’t use it? Yes, you can use broccoli stems in a soup but I peel the stems slice them and cook as usual with my vegetables..which means I waste very little of the brocolli.
Cauliflower leaves toss in a little olive oil with some spices and roast…Lovely…
My biggest preventable food waste is herbs…I need to grow more so I can pick them fresh as some herbs keep longer when picked than others.
Tip: Storing Coriander( Cilantro). I use a tall jar with a screw lid and pop my coriander inside…No water just the coriander and it keeps fresh for a least a week I use quite a lot so never keep in a jar for longer but have heard it keeps for a further 3/4 days before it gets discoloured.
The coriander roots I freeze and use in curry pastes, dips or if I run out of coriander and need it as an aromatic in a curry or sauce I grind them in my pestle and mortar and add to my cooking …they have a more intense and stronger flavour than the leaves.
Fish…Do you always buy fillets of fish? If so you are missing out…The fish bones and bits can be used to make a lovely fish stock..Prawn heads are served in all the posh restaurants …Deep-fried as a garnish or as a little appetiser with a lovely dip they are delicious…
Fish heads tend to impart a stronger flavour than the rest of the fish, making them perfect for curries, soups, stews, and stocks.
They can also be cooked in one piece and then picked apart for fish cakes, pizza toppings, pasta, or eating on the spot…which Aston my grandson absolutely loves… he can pick a fish or chicken carcass cleaner than a vulture or other carrion bird he leaves nothing…even eats the gristly bit on the top of the chicken bones they are stripped clean…He definitely eats the Thai way…Leave nothing!
Why buy a whole chicken?
Whole chickens are cheaper per pound than the plastic trays of chicken parts. Provided you use the whole bird efficiently, it’s doubly cost-effective. The meat you cook and eat is cheaper than it would be otherwise, and the carcass, which you’ve already paid for and should use, can be transformed into chicken stock, which you might otherwise purchase. Using your vegetable scraps, to add flavour to the stock you make with the carcass.
You can either cook your chicken whole or cut into joints if you always skin your chicken then cook the skin…Sandwich the skins between two non-stick pans of the same size will prevent them from curling up and cooking unevenly. The result: thin, flat sheets of crisp, fragrant “chicken skin chips” you can use in sandwiches, instead of bread or crackers for canapés, crumbled to garnish soups, salads, and baked potatoes — Delicious…
Which means from one chicken you can make a curry from the legs and thighs, Garlic chicken breasts or a stir fry or kebabs with the breasts, a nice stock or chicken noodle soup with the carcass and some lovely chicken skin for garnishes or “chips” With the chicken tenders you can make satay.
For the breaded chicken strips (KFC) as the kiddies call it… either cut a chicken breast into slices or use chicken tenders, then dip in an egg wash and coat with homemade breadcrumbs…I then cook in batches in hot oil until cooked and golden brown then serve with sticky rice and freshly chopped vegetables normally cucumber and cabbage.
The hearts and bits I normally freeze and when I have enough make pate with the hearts the other bits we BBQ but everything is used…No waste and it also helps improve your cookery skills and your butchery skills.
Once the skins are out of the oven and ready for seasoning, be creative by using what you like best: fresh or dried herbs, earthy spices like cumin and paprika, Asian elements like five-spice powder and sesame seeds, blends like za’atar and barbecue rub, and freshly grated citrus zest all work perfectly.
That’s at least 4 and maybe 5 meals from I chicken…
As you see it is far more economical to buy a whole chicken rather than portions.
Until tomorrow stay safe and well…x
About Carol Taylor:
Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.
I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetable ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.
Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use contain to improve our health and well being.
The environment is also something I am passionate about and there will be more on this on my blog this year
Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!
Please stay safe and well and follow your governments safety guidelines remember we are all in this together xxx