Limp veggies: reduce waste and increase nutrition

We eat a lot of vegetables. Raw, cooked, steamed, in soups, stews, sauces…and, we compost the non-edible parts. Mostly.

But sometimes, I think there’s too much waste going into the compost bin. Right?

Kale, carrots, leeks, broccoli stems. Sometimes, there’s mushrooms, Swiss chard and stems, root veg, soft cherry tomatoes, cauliflower, onions, green onions

Some of you know I spend half my life living away from home, for a variety of reasons. I make the effort to leave a fully stocked fridge for the teens and their dad, but sometimes (often) I come home to find much of it still there. They do prep and eat some of the veg but when it comes to certain items, like chard or kale for instance, they tend to just leave it.

Well I don’t want to chuck that stuff out every time I come home. So I came up with a creative idea of how to make use of those odds and ends. And now, you can too, because I’m going to show you how.

There are 2 methods, and I’ve done both with success: Raw and Cooked.

Raw Method

Sometimes I just want the quick method of getting rid of the mess and making space for new food prior to a grocery trip. This means taking the stuff that’s sitting in the crisp drawer (and not staying crispy), washing/refreshing it, and then chopping it up. I do this by hand or with my little food processor.

Chop raw veg in the little food processor.

Cooked Method

The cooked method is similar but involves an extra step. I usually pour some olive oil into a cast iron pan, and dump the chopped veg in there for a short while. I often use onion and garlic in addition to whatever veggies I have sitting around. And season with salt and pepper, mostly because the salt draws out the flavour.

Ice Cube Trays

I bought extra large ice cube trays at the dollar store. Simply scoop the chopped raw or cooked veg into the trays and freeze. This is what the end result looks like:

The red squares include raw cherry tomatoes, the dark green includes kale, the other squares no kale.

My favorite combination has been mushroom, cauliflower, chard, onion and garlic. I cooked those with a bit of olive oil, kept half aside for stew or soup (can’t remember), and the other half I let cool then scooped into the trays. Once they’re frozen I dump them into a ziplock bag. Now, each time I make soup, or I need to stretch ground beef for sauce, I add a couple of cubes into my pot and voila – extra nutrition and less waste.

Frozen veggie cubes with mushrooms, onion, cauliflower and the stems of Swiss chard.

One time I was at my mom’s when I got a bunch of texts from the husband. He wanted to know where certain spices were and then showed me the soup he was cooking. When I directed him to the freezer to add a few cubes of the frozen veg, he found it to be a good idea. His soup looked good but the stock didn’t look very dark, or not as dark as mine, probably because he used less flavour-inducing ingredients than I do. Now that he knows of the cubes, he reaches for them in my absence.

Next step: teach the kids to do the same. πŸ™‚

PS – this may be a good way to introduce some extra nutrition for people who tend to reach for cans of soup. Think of some of the more isolated seniors or people with certain disabilities who may not have the opportunity to cook with fresh food as often. Bringing them some cubes like this to drop into their canned soups might improve both flavour and nutrition.

Thoughts?

Happy Superbowl Sunday. This is the only day of the year we will watch a football game from beginning to end. I have chili and chicken wings ready for the menfolk, and may make some corn bread too. I may or may not endure the entire game, we shall see. πŸ™‚

34 Replies to “Limp veggies: reduce waste and increase nutrition”

  1. This is a really good idea! I do something similar where I take those scraps and boil them for hours, then freeze the veggie stock that I just made. I like your method because it takes up way less space though! And you still get the fiber from everything. I will be trying this!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Well freezer space might be in short supply, but I’ll make room and the next time I go to the dollar store I’ll look for the extra large ice cube trays!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Great idea! I don’t cook anymore, and Daughter & Ben are the pickiest eaters on Earth, but Younger is a vegetarian who loves to cook, so I’ll share your idea with her.
    SuperBowl is today? πŸ€·πŸΌβ€β™€οΈ I gave up on football when our team said build a new stadium or we’re leaving… bye-bye San Diego Chargers, have fun in L.A.

    I want cornbread now🀀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Fantastic! Maybe I could skip the fresh eating stage and go direct to cubes for kale (which I cannot get the other half to eat.) I do similar things–though no where near as thorough. I also have an interim step for some things, the “chop up for the chickens” plan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I make bone broth too and use odds and ends of the veg for that at times. But it’s less time consuming because I just put the bones in the crockpot with the veg, an onion, some salt, cover and leave on for 24 hours.

      The cubes are so helpful though. I added them to today’s chili, to spaghetti sauce, to soup! I love it. πŸ™‚

      Thanks for commenting!

      Liked by 2 people

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