By Diana Earnshaw, Volunteer Contributor
Charlotte Hawkins has written an excellent article on “waste”. We really must all think how we can reduce what we throw out – both food and non-food. However, food waste is not necessary and with a little thought, all those scraps can be used. Charlotte mentioned planning and for this we need a little time but it will be time well spent. Make a grocery list according to your meal plan.
How about making bone broth? If you have roasted some meat on the bone, keep the bones and freeze them. Chicken carcasses can be broken up and keep the skin, sinews, fat and jelly – all in a bag in the freezer. I even whip the bones off people’s plates to freeze! If you are vegetarian (or even if you aren’t), you can make veggie broth or add the scraps to bone broth. Keep clean vegetable trimmings – onion skins (YES – you can! These add flavour and colour to the finished broth, especially red onion skins) celery leaves, carrot and other root vegetable tops, cauliflower stumps, the outer leaves of cabbages or lettuces etc. I have also been known to add a dried out onion half and a bendy carrot to my broth!
Put the bones (if using) and vegetable trimmings in a stock pot. Add herbs, peppercorns and a splash of apple cider vinegar. Pour in sufficient water to cover and simmer for at least 4 hours but ideally, 12 – 24 hours. Slow cookers are good for this. Cool slightly then pour through a strainer. Add salt to taste. If there is a little meat on the bones, pull it off with your hands, put it in a bowl in the refrigerator and add to the soup below. The nutritious liquid can be drunk as it is, for cooking rice, as the basis for gravy and sauces, or to make soup. If you are following a recipe and it asks for water or stock – use the broth! There are so many uses.
Try this Minestrone recipe, which in my view is THE recipe for using up leftovers!