I hate to throw away something that might be useful. It’s why I carted around a 6 pack of styrofoam balls that I had intended to create into something unique and beautiful for my wedding for six years after I was married. This includes a move to another state. ridiculous, I know. Luckily, the styrofoam balls are gone and I’ve moved on to saving more useful things. Like onion skins and carrot peelings and chicken carcasses!
Veggie scraps are great for stock. Most anything goes except for things in the brassica family (broccoli and greens) as they will impart an unpleasent taste. I keep a bag in the freezer and add to it almost daily. Trimmings from onions, peppers, carrots, mushrooms, celery and leeks are the bulk of my scraps. When I’ve got several gallon bags full I just toss the scraps in a pot, cover with water and boil until the flavor is to my liking. You can toss in some salt if you want but I prefer not as I don’t always know how I will be using the stock and I’d rather salt as I cook the dish. strain well, transfer to freezer safe containers and freeze. Voila! Free stock right at your fingertips.
The same method works with shrimp shells, meat bones (you get more flavor if you roast the bones before boiling), and even crawfish leftover after a crawfish boil!
This became 14 pints of crawfish stock!
This is the current stock stockpile: chicken, veggie, lamb, crawfish, and shrimp! Something to satisfy every tastebud!
Breadcrumbs are another easy thing to “make”. When the end of the baguette gets stale or no one can be convinced to eat the heel of the bread, just toss the bread in a spice grinder and store the crumbs in the freezer. No need to thaw before use. Again, such an easy thing to do and isn’t it grand to create something that you need out of something that you would otherwise throw away??
When you just can’t find an edible use for your scraps – compost! Eggshells, coffee grounds (buy unbleached filters and they can go in there as well), scraps that aren’t suitable for stock…practically anything goes! Toss your pile around every now and then to keep things circulating and you should have a gorgeous pile of compost in no time for your garden.
This is an interesting article from Culinate about kitchen thrift and using what you’ve got. It’s not necessarily about the money you save (although that is a definite plus) but more about creating something useful and not contributing even more garbage to the piles.