A Special Educator by profession. When not busy teaching & mentoring student teachers, Susin likes to experiment with DIY eco-projects.
Many times while preparing a meal, we end up with lots of vegetable scraps, odds, ends and sometimes good, but unflattering pieces of cutouts. Why not extend their use by turning them into a stock for more versatile culinary uses later on?
Contributing Less to the Daily Trash Piles
It is no new news that the amount of human-discarded trash is getting more alarming. While it is a fact that humans will produce daily waste, we could definitely cut down the amount through more prudent usage and adopting the principle of the "3-Rs": Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
Reusing or Recycling of possible food scraps is one of them.
This articles outlines on how vegetable scraps can be reused and recycled to be made into stock for other dishes and soups.
Start Collecting the Odds, Ends and Scraps of Vegetables, and Fruits in Meal Preparations
Some "ideal" scraps to keep aside would be that of onions, celery, carrots, corns, bell peppers, cabbages and pumpkin, and of those vegetables that would give off a tinge of sweetness. It is also a good idea to keep those odds and ends of foods that contribute to the taste of umami like mushrooms, for instance. Fruits are welcome too! Wash, drain and collect them in a zipper bag or container over a period of time. Make sure that they are kept in freezer safe bags or containers as these scraps would be kept in the freezer until an appropriate amount has been collected for later use. Keep them safe in the freezer for up to six months.
When a sizable portion of the scraps has been collected to be used, they can now be taken out to be revived.
Use a large saucepan or pot and put the scraps in it. Add water into the till the frozen scraps are covered by the water.
Bring the pot of scraps to a boil. Simmer for another thirty minutes to an hour, or till the liquid is thick.
There should be about a quarter left of the original liquid after the boiling and simmering. Turn off the heat and let it cool.
Once it is cooled, Sieve out the vegetable scraps or pour the liquid over a colander to collect just the liquid. Some bits of the vegetables left in the newly made stock are fine.
The stock could be stored in small jars or appropriate portioned vessels with covers for later use in the fridge. Keep these for three days to a week.
Alternatively, use ice cube trays to store the homemade stock. An advantage to this is that the stock can be turned into iced stock cubes in the freezer, which can be stored for up to four to six months. A desired number of cubes can be retrieved easily for use in food preparation later on.
Voila! A New Dish or Soup!
When ready, use the homemade stock by adding them into soups. They serve well as a soup base to be used and add extra or another layer of flavour to fresh ingredients.
The homemade stock can also be added to stir-fries and stews, to one's desire and heart's content. This is is especially useful when there are not enough flavourful ingredients on hand, or when the dish is presumably going to be too bland or light in taste.
In addition, homemade stock from reused/recycled vegetable scraps are well suited for vegetarian dishes too, for that extra tinge of flavour.
So next time, remember to hesitate a while and take out that extra plate to store the vegetable scraps while cutting them!
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2022 Susin Lim