Deal of the Week: Recycle Veggies

veggiesToday’s tip comes to us via the French. They are not known to be cheap (as far as I know), but they are known to be notoriously good cooks, come hell or high water.

And sometimes, in the history of the French people, both hell and high water have licked at the doorstep.

Therefore, this suggestion, which provides another justification for buying organic vegetables: Recycle the veggies you cook.

On the cutting board at right are the beginnings of tonight’s slow-cooker dinner. In fact, most soups and stews of a classic European or French origin begin the same way, with a mirepoix.  During the winter, when our household is being well-behaved and cooking frugal dishes in the slow cooker, many an onion/carrot/celery combo crosses our cutting board.

Each of these meals begins the same way, with a melange of cut-off ends of carrots, onions and celery, and onion and carrot peels.

Each of these ingredients also forms the basis, with some parsley, pepper and thyme, of a classic vegetable (or chicken) stock.

The traditional, and recycling, thing to do, then, is to salvage all those bits and peels and ends and throw them into a re-sealable container in the freezer. Add other things, too, like bits of mushrooms or potatoes or what have you. When you have enough, toss them into a pot (or the slow-cooker stoneware), add seasonings and water, toss in some bones if you like (the frugal non-vegetarian chef will also have a freezer stocked with the remainders of boned chicken thighs, a roasted carcass or other previous meals), and you’ve got stock in the making. Add more vegetables if you like.

And when you’re finished with your vegetable stock, recycle again by adding the wilted parts and peels to your compost pile.

Voila, easy, cheap, healthy and green.

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4 thoughts on “Deal of the Week: Recycle Veggies

  1. L'an says:

    I’m so glad I’m not the only one doing this! I’ve tended to save veggie scraps and do up a batch of broth once a month or so (freezing them in recycled Odwalla juice containers usually is just the right size) but whenever I mention this to anyone I work with, they tend to give me the “that is TOO MUCH WORK!” look. Their loss, I guess. Of course, the best part about this is being able to regulate the amount of salt going into the broth. 🙂

  2. cheaplikeme says:

    You and France, baby!

    What do they mean too much work? It’s less work to save the scraps than to chop up new veggies.

    Or do they mean making the broth in general? But then you have it when you need it, you know just what’s in it, and you don’t have those Tetrapak containers to throw away.

    (In full disclosure, I do not always have homemade broth on hand, and the Tetrapak broth is great when you need it, but I do try.)

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