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?
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.
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.
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:
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.
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. 🙂
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.
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. 🙂