Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Eat What Other People Would Throw Away

I've hit on this subject before, but once again I'm getting lots of emails about using kitchen waste. Compost and worm bins are the number one things people suggest, but hey, what about using the veggie discards for yourself? Remarkably there's a lot of "waste" that I actually turn into food for our dinners. Yes, I do have waste that goes to feed the livestock. (Only a tad ends up in the soil or compost. Zero in the trashcan.)

So have you thrown any of this out lately? .......
Corn silks - I make a tea out of them for helping treat bladder infections. I freeze the silks until I need them. I've talked with a woman who adds the silks to her corn soups. She says that you can dry them then run them threw the blender to make a flour. Wow, I'd have to have an awful lot of silks to make that worthwhile, but it's something to think about. Growing up I never realized that silks were edible because my parents meticulously picked off every last one before boiling the corn ears. 

Corn cobs - These can be simmered to make a stock. Reducing to about 1/3 produces a corny sweetish stock. 

Radish leaves - Great in stirfry, soups, and stews. They lose their hairyness when cooked. 

Carrot Tops - I've never eaten them raw in salad since they're a bit tough and chewy. But I do use them when making various stocks. I've also used them as a garnish and snipped them atop mashed potatoes along with parsley. 

The young leaves on broccoli and cauliflowers - I find these better eating than collards. Good in all sorts of cooked dishes. 

Stalks, stems, and cores of broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, lettuce, asparagus - The tender parts are fine for cooked dishes and soups. The tougher fibrous parts go into the stock pot. 

Watermelon rind -  I remove the very thin outer tough rind. The white inner part goes fine in stirfry and curries. I've also pickled it. And it can be juiced or blenderized up with a smoothie. 

Vegetable trimmings (carrot peelings, onion skins, broccoli stems, pumpkin guts, etc) I'll simmer all this sort of stuff up in the stock pot. The residue goes into the chicken and pig feed. 

Vegetable Waste - waste after cooking veggies goes for stock or soup, depending upon the waste. Beet skins, sweet potato skins, the water veggies were cooked in (though I usually steam veggies instead of boiling them). Even the spent veggies at the end of stock making don't go not the trash. Nope, they are fed to the dogs or livestock. 

Bones - Used to make stock and bone broth. Once spent, they go into the wood burning stove, then broken up and added to the garden soil. 

Stale bread - Fine for bread crumbs, bread pudding, filling, etc. 

Citrus rinds -  For making zest. Peels are also good for flavoring drinking water. I often put lime and lemon peels into a gallon of water and set it in the frig.  

Bones, Chicken carcass, Thanksgiving Day Turkey carcass - Great for stock! It simply amazes me that people throw bones into the trash. When I lived in NJ I had many friends who would give me their turkey carcasses after Thanksgiving. They were stored in the freezer until I had time to make soup and stock. 


  1. Excellent ideas thanks.
    I have recently started doing some of these things and will do more now.
    For instance previously I composted cabbage, brocolli stalks and meat bones and much of the fat.
    Now I use all these ingredients in stews, also fat in porridge.

  2. Fineartgourds emailed me about her success with a bunch of turnip greens that other people discarded......

    Unexpected success with the huge armload of turnip greens using my saute and steam recipe:

    1/4 C olive oil, chopped garlic and salt over stove top high heat in a dutch oven.... I used 2 tsp garlic powder in the oil but best is to brown the fresh chopped. Begin adding the washed, dried, stemmed and cut greens in big wads, turning and adding as the leaves cook down. A vast pile makes a modest meal... leaves will wilt, shrink and turn dark green. Add a generous dash of chicken stock and cover. Turn down heat and steam for 15 minutes for tough old turnips. Tender beet greens are much quicker. Plate with copious lashings of balsamic vinegar.

    A taste test part way thru was not encouraging but in the end the mess was not bitter and, tho a bit chewy, turned out to be quite good food. Served with a hot bratwurst and some reheated rice'n'quinoa.