One of the items that often goes to waste in my house is vegetables. Mostly because I tend to over purchase and my spouse doesn’t like eating anything that is slightly off. I often feel really bad about this but haven’t really been able to consistently solve the problem.
This past weekend I was cleaning out the fridge before my weekly grocery shop and discovered a bunch of half used produced that was starting to go. Most of it was bits and bobs. Half a tomato that we’d used for slices on burgers, a few sliced mushrooms we should’ve just thrown in the stir fry, an extra baby bok choy head, 1/3 of a red onion left from burger and sandwich slices and some thai basil I’d whacked off the plant to keep it from bolting. None of it by itself a large amount of waste but as a grouping enough to give me pause.
So I thought, maybe I should just make vegetable stock from this? I mean all I need to do was throw it in a pan with some water, puree, sieve and either use or freeze. Less than a half hour of kitchen multi-tasking later I had 3 cups of stock.
I decided I would leave it in the fridge and use it to make risotto for dinner one night. Oh boy was that a terrific idea. The awesome thing about homemade veggie stock is you get all these interesting notes from the things you made the stock from. In my case the basil, onion, and cremini mushrooms really made for an excellent flavor in the risotto. Particularly when combined with the sliced cremini mushrooms, roasted garlic, eggplant and summer squash I added to the dish.
My advice is the next time you’re throwing away veggie bits, bobs and scraps consider making veggie stock. In fact you might even consider SAVING your scraps to do so. It is worth the minimal effort if you are buy and use stock with any regularity.