Aside from just wanting to take out the organics less, learning about maximizing / stretching your food has been such a great motivator for my wallet and my soul. Taking note from my parents, zero waste bloggers, and learning about food in general, here are a few ideas on how you can create a zero waste approach to your veggies!
Garlic skins, onion skins, carrot peels, celery leaves, broccoli stems and more – vegetable scraps when frozen (or just kept in an airtight container in your fridge for no more than a few days) can be turned into a great, flavorful and homemade broth! Just rinse these scraps before adding to a pot, cover with several cups of water, and add spices (I like star anise, bay leaf, whole pepper corns, cinnamon sticks, and sometimes cardamom). Simmer for 30 minutes or more depending on the flavor you’re looking to achieve, and strain when done! Ezpz, broth without the box.
Eat Your Stems
I never used to eat kale stems or broccoli stems, but I realize that they’re a) surprise surprise, edible b) just need a little more simmering and c) allow you to use the whole veggie! Make sure these are cleaned thoroughly (sometimes dirt gets trapped in the stems), slice on a bias (just cause it looks nicer), and simmer in a heated pan with your choice of oil, garlic, spices, and more. Some say it’s even more nutritionally dense than the leaves!
Regrow Your Veggies
This is a next level one, but something I’ve just played around with. Many root veggies and more can regrow – carrot tops can create carrot greens, celery roots, bok choy, garlic, sweet potatoes, romaine lettuce, green onions, and more. If you’re a little nervous about trying this, start with green onions and leeks – they’re so satisfying to see rise up! Just cut off the roots and leave them in water by a window sill / natural light. They’ll grow in a few days, just change the water frequently. Some say that adding it to soil actually allows them to gain more flavor!
Freeze / Blanche
If you’re always buying mass veggies, it might be hard to keep up with eating all of the fresh produce. Simple blanche (submerge them in hot boiling water quickly), let them cool down, add to an air tight container and place it in the freezer. These should be good for a few months!
Store them Properly
There are a lot of different conditions for vegetables – I used to just throw everything in the fridge! Onions can be perfectly great outside of the fridge for up to 2 months, and the same can be said about sweet potatoes and regular potatoes. As a general guide:
- Leafy Greens should be washed, covered in a tea towel and placed in the crisper section of your fridge
- Root Vegetables can be stored at room temperature in a cool dark place
- Tomatoes can be stored at room temperature, out of the sunlight
If you’re not sure, google and cross reference!