Anyone who has been reading my blog for a while knows I’m a vegetarian. When you eat a lot of fresh vegetables, you end up with a lot of vegetable scraps. What do you do with them? Throwing them out seems so wasteful! I have put together a few suggestions to see if maybe I can help you see those scraps in a new light.
- Eat them
Stems and stalks may not be the sexiest parts of the plants but they are still loaded with all the good nutrition and fiber you find in the prettier areas. Stems can be tough but if you dice them up and toss them in a soup, stew or stir-fry, they will become tender and delish.
- Feed them to your pooch
Chauncy and Lucy regularly eat vegetables as I mentioned in my post, Natural Pets: Eat Your Veggies Fido! They love broccoli stalks, cut up to roughly the same size as their store-bought treats. Lucy goes wild over crunchy lettuce ends. They are also both huge fans of kale stems, raw or cooked. I will dice up kale or Swiss chard stems, steam them and mix them in with their dog food. They gobble it right down.
Please be careful when feeding your dog fruit or veggies. Always make sure you give them safe veggies in small, manageable portions. Less is more is definitely more in this case! Never give your dog onions, corn cobs, grapes, nuts, avocados or stone fruits.
- Make stock or broth
I have to admit…I rarely do this. A lot of people do though. They will reserve their veggie scraps and freeze them until they have enough to cook down into stock. The problem I have with this, besides giving up the freezer space, is not all veggies taste good together. While I love and appreciate kale mightily, it has too strong a flavor to use in stock. Maybe one day when I have my dream garden, (and don’t have a three hour commute) I can devote my time to separating scrap for stock.
- Compost it
Composting is a wonderful way to improve your soil. Vegetables are a beautiful, safe addition to your heap or bin. Again, this is not something that I currently do but would like to. If you are a gardener and have been contemplating whether or not to make your own compost, let this be the push to get you started! Find great information (and laughs) in Jeff Yeager’s wonderful article, Rotten Luv: My Love Affair with Compost.
If you have to toss them in the trash, go ahead. There are far worse things stuffing up landfills than veg scraps. At least you know that they will fully decompose and not wreak havoc on the environment for centuries to come.
How do you use your veggie scraps? Do you throw them out? Have you tried any of the suggestions mentioned above? Would you? Leave me a reply and let me know.
Many blessings to all,
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Funny you should ask! 😉 During asparagus season I saved a lot of the woody ends because I hate throwing them out. I have some in my freezer as we speak. I love left over roasted asparagus put in the vitamix with white beans & veggie broth. It makes an amazing soup. I think next week I’ll be boiling those stems, grinding them up and straining them? Or maybe roasting them with a bit of olive oil and grinding them with the broth, then strain. Hmmm or something like that. Thanks for the reminder.
Most of my melon rinds & veggie scraps go over my fence in the back. There is a wildlife reserve back there and they always seem to be gone the next day! We actually can’t let our little Teddy go out in the yard at night without a leash for fear of some skunk, or fox, or something scarier gets to him in the dark.
Someday maybe I’ll get my act together & compost. Thanks for the tips – love your posts.
Awessome comment, Jodi! Thank you for taking the time to write such a thoughtful response. You’re welcome for the reminder. I’d like to throw my scraps over the fence, but alas I don’t think my neighbors would appreciate! 😀
I love the idea of feeding them to the dog! We just got a puppy (yesterday!! – it’s like I have an infant again!) so I’m deep in research about the best things to feed him. I seem to always have an excess of kale and broccoli stems and feel terrible throwing them away but I really don’t have space for composting – and I’m never going to get around to making a stock!
Congrats on the puppy! Yeah!!! Just be mindful to keep the stems small. Dogs especially puppies can swallow things whole at times. You don’t want the little fella to get backed up. The chopped up steamed veggies may be the way to go until you get a good bead on much he/she masticates before swallowing.