Waste Not, Want Not
Wednesday, February 05, 2014
I’ve been on this kick lately, well actually I’ve been on this kick for quite a long time, in which I hate to let things go to waste in the kitchen, particularly, food and more specifically that which many consider to be waste from food preparation. For instance, the top leafy ends of celery and it’s root or, the ugly outer leaves of cabbage, the bones skins and excess fat from chicken. Over the years I have discovered ways to use this “waste” either in my cooking or in the garden.
Let me give an example or two. My wife and I use a lot of chicken in our cooking and we like to use boneless skinless breast meat. I have found that it is a lot cheaper, substantially cheaper by the way, to buy chicken breasts on the bone with skin on. It is a very easy task to pull the skin off and remove the bone. If I buy a package of four breasts, I can have the job done in three or four minutes. I then fillet each breast to make two four or five ounce filets and place them in a freezer bag for later use. The skin, excess fat and bones are placed in another bag and saved for making stock later.
Celery tops are used in the making of chicken stock, vegetable stock and many other things we use in the kitchen. The root end I generally chop up and throw into the compost bin to use in the garden later on. By the way, I have also learned that when making chicken stock don’t bother to peel the onion. Just chop the onion into quarters and throw it in the pot outer skin, root and all. The yellow skin on the outside actually helps to bring a nice color to the stock.
Once I had several Brussels sprout plants growing in the garden, part of the process of getting the sprouts to grow out is to break the leaves off the stem just under each sprout. My first thought was to throw the leaves into the compost bin but I thought “these are really nice leaves and the look and smell a lot like cabbage, I wonder if they can be cooked and eaten.” Sure enough, thanks to my good friend Google, I checked it out and, viola, they can be eaten and by the way are very good and very healthful!
Here’s another: radishes. I love to get radishes going in the garden as early as possible, for one thing, the grand children help plant them and they sprout very quickly so they are able see the results very quickly. But then you have hundreds of radishes and they all mature at the same time. What to do? Did you know that you can cook radishes? Indeed you can and they are quite delicious. Cook the root, greens and all. I usually chop the greens and cut the roots into small chunks and sauté them in a sauté pan with a little olive oil, some salt and pepper. They remind me a little of turnip greens but with a slight kick to them, delicious! Oh, and before I quit, don’t ever throw those beet greens away they can be cooked and eaten as well. Beet greens remind me a lot of fresh spinach.
So, before you throw away what you think might be waste in your kitchen, think about how you might use it, if you are unsure, ask your friend Google.