Sunday, March 13, 2011

kitchen scraps beyond composting

Of course we could compost our kitchen scraps but some can be used in other ways as well:

Make stock (or freeze for later) from scraps of onions (but not too many of the papery, bitter tasting skins), leeks, garlic, carrots, parsnip, celery, mushrooms - even hard cheese rinds - to make stock later. For a quick veggie stock, caramelize veggies scrapes in a little bit of oil and add any other scrapes from your soup recipe, herbs (such as bay leaf, parsley, thyme, and sage), enough water to generously cover and a bit of salt if you like. Bring to a boil and simmer for a half hour for a rich vegetable stock. Strain out the veggie bits and compost or feed to animals (my dogs always loved these super soft veggies)

Carrot tops and peels are also great raw for dog snacks (some dogs like raw broccoli and other veggies or fruits as well)

Feed chickens and ducks your greens, tomato bits, strawberry tops, melon rinds & seeds...

Broccoli stems can be peeled and chopped small or grated, raw in slaw or salads, or cooked where ever you use the florets.  I actually prefer crisp broccoli stalks to the florets.

Save and dry corn husks (for tamales), silk (for beneficial tea), and save the cobs for stock.

Tough vegetable parts (like chard stems and leek greens) can be sautéed until soft for eating.

Use stale bread and heels for bread crumbs and croutons (or freeze for later).

Increase nutrient value and decrease waste if you leave peels on and scrub vegetables clean when cooking with carrots, potatoes, parsnips and turnips.

If unpasteurized (raw) juice starts to "go bad," keep it loosely covered and it will eventually turn into wine or vinegar (I've currently got apple juice and blueberry juice converting in my cupboard).

If unpasteurized (raw) milk starts to sour (but still smells pleasant), use it in baking (pancakes or breads), desserts (cakes, cheesecake or custard), cooking (like mashed potatoes, soups, casseroles, or scrambled eggs), turn it into cheese...

After cooking, reuse nutrient-rich (unsalted) pasta and potato water ibread making, baking, soups or other recipes that call for water. Or use it in the garden!

Use leftover cooked grains to feed your sourdough starter.

Soak lemon or other citrus peels in distilled vinegar for a homemade cleaning product. Or grate & dry the peel to use the zest for later.

Freeze overripe fruit to save for smoothies, jams & fruit crisps

free ingredient: spent grains

Ian has been brewing his beer from whole grains (malt, barley, etc).  After boiling out all the sugar and starches from the grains, they still are full of protein and fiber and have many uses:
compost (of course), livestock feed (chickens love them), and baking! here's my favorite spent grain recipe i've adapted from Alewife:

Spent Grain Pizza or Focaccia

1 pkg. dry bread yeast (or catch your own)
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 tsp local honey
1/4 cup olive oil
2 T local honey
1 tsp sea salt
1 cup bread flour
1 cup spent grains
1/2 cup water
2 ½ - 3 cups bread flour
olive oil for bowl
flour to sprinkle bread board
course corn meal

Proof yeast by mixing with ½ cup warm water and ½ tsp honey. Let sit a few minutes until a layer of foam appears. In large mixing bowl, mix together olive oil, honey, and salt. Blend in yeast mixture and 1 cup flour. In a food processor, buzz 1 cup spent grains and ½ cup water for a couple minutes until semi smooth. Add grains to yeast slurry and mix together well. Add remaining 3 cups flour, 1 cup at a time, mixing well with each addition. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead well until elastic and shiny. then, form into a ball. Drizzle a little olive oil into a bowl, add the dough ball and turn to coat. Cover bowl with one of those plastic grocery bags you’ve got shoved in a drawer and place in a warm place to rise for about an hour. When ready to use, push dough down, deflating it. Bring sides in to center and flip dough over. Put dough out onto floured board and pat out evenly.

For pizza: cut dough into 8 equal sized pieces for individual pizzas. Shape each piece into an evenly round ball and place on a baking sheet that has been sprinkled with course corn meal. Cover with those plastic bags and let rest for a ½ hour. Place baking stone or quarry tiles in oven and preheat at 500º for a ½ hour. Pat and pull pizza dough to flatten add desired toppings and let rest, covered, another 15 minutes. Carefully transfer to the baking stone and bake about 8-12 minutes.

For focaccia: form half the dough into long loaf on a baking sheet sprinkled with corn meal. Decorate focaccia with slashes, drizzle with olive oil and sea salt or top with herbs, garlic, or caramelized onions. Cover and let rest for about a ½ hour. Preheat your baking stone at 400º and bake focaccia for about a ½ hour.