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under-used treasure or garbage? what ingredient do you think people are wasting?

2 nights ago i made a really delicious gnocchi dish, with shrimp and leeks served in a lightly spiced shrimp stock, made from the shells of the shrimp and a few aromatics and spices. (so yummmy) I use a similar stock often as a base for sauces when I cook shrimp, whether stir-frying sauteing or whatever. It took maybe 10 minutes to make, and always adds such depth of flavor.

So i would say shrimp shells get my vote for the most under-used treasure in the kitchen, more often just tossed in the garbage, than mined for flavor.

what gets your vote?

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  1. The green leaves from celery stalks. They work well in some boquet garni if you want to incorporate the bitterness of celery without including it in the dish.

    22 Replies
    1. re: Paul Weller

      on a similar note: Fennel fronds. I chop them up to add to my fennel salad.

      1. re: moh

        and not just the fronds, but the stalks, as well. when i make chicken stock, i use the bulb, then make chicken veggie soup with the fennel stalks, which i use as celery -- along with carrots and spinich or kale.

        makes me crazy when i see the cooking show people just toss them.

      2. re: Paul Weller

        Parsley and cilantro stalks are great too!

        1. re: guerrilagourmet

          Agree. And the also the cilantro roots are fantastic in marinades - especially in south-east Asian food. It makes it taste more like the "real thing" . . . a lot of work though b/c you have to clean off the dirt thoroughly and grind them.

          1. re: cinnamon girl

            Cinnamon girl, I keep my bunches of coriander (cilantro ) in a glass of water in the fridge. They stay perky a bit longer and when I want to use the roots, the dirt has mostly soaked off and is a sediment in the bottom of the glass. Just rinse and pulverise as desired.

          2. re: guerrilagourmet

            I love snacking on cilantro stalks, I pull out all the juice by running the stalk between my teeth.

            Cilantro is very healthy too, so I'd hate to waste any of it. My grandma used to snack on a big plate of raw herbs with every meal and she has the loveliest teeth!

            1. re: guerrilagourmet

              It flat-out makes me mad when I see people throwing away parsley and cilantro stems. They're yummy AND crunchy and I ove then almost more than the leaves. Almost.

              1. re: EWSflash

                Herb stems are also great to throw on coals when barbecuing. My best surprising discovery of a "throw away" food was reading in gourmet magazine that in Mexico they puree CANTALOUPE SEEDS with water, strain, and serve chilled. I tried it and it makes a really (almost too) sweet fruit drink. It was exotic and refreshing.

                1. re: DollySundstrom

                  I'm going to try this, it sounds great. Love canteloupe!

                  1. re: DollySundstrom

                    excellent idea! now i won't throw them out for the sparrows.

                      1. re: buttertart

                        oh, but they get lots of stale bread!

              2. re: Paul Weller

                Have to agree. The leaves on the celery stalks are so full of flavor. I use them like I would parsley. In salads, stock and soups. Never throw them away.

                1. re: scubadoo97

                  Yep and my current favorite way to eat them is to sort of bend them in half and scoop into hummus...really great! Celery stalks in hummus is very good but I love the leaves with hummus even better!

                  1. re: scubadoo97

                    I had no idea people threw them away! I buy celery for the leaves ... have to have a fresh bunch each time I cook, so I can have the whole heart. And then I cook the outer stalks for the dogs.

                    1. re: scubadoo97

                      Actually, I like the celery leaves better than the stalks.

                    2. re: Paul Weller

                      I put the celery leaves in pesto, too. Works well with marjoram and parsley.

                      1. re: Gooseberry

                        I always put celery leaves and stalks in soups and stews. I also use the full stalks from green onions.

                        1. re: FoodieKat

                          If I don't have an immediate use for the celery tops, I throw them in the freezer where they sit happily until I'm ready to make soup.

                      2. re: Paul Weller

                        I don't remember if I got this from The Gift of Southern Cooking or Cook's Illustrated, but I put celery leaves in my frying oil when I make fried chicken, and it adds a sweet, clear note to the flavor.

                        1. re: Paul Weller

                          The chopped celery leaves can be used when combined with green olives & garlic a little lemon juice & olive oil for an appetizer. Check out "Verdura" by Viana La Place for the recipe.

                          And in Chicken Soup too.....

                        2. Bones are incredibly under-utilized. Whenever I roast chicken or get a rotisserie bird from the store, I save the carcass for stock. Friends always throw out what I consider gold!

                          And in the vein of using shrimp shells, when I was learning to cook as a kid, I was taught never to throw away shrimp heads because that was where all the flavor was. Throw them in a little hot water and pound with a mortar to extract.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: JungMann

                            Amen to that!!! I get so many comments when I cook using homemade stock. "how do you get it to taste soooo good???"

                          2. The delicious tidbits (neck, stomach, liver, heart) that come with a whole bird. Neck and heart go in the water for a quick boil, neck gets gnawed off, heart eaten in 2 bites. Stomach and liver are added to gravy. Nice.

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: linguafood

                              I think you mean "gizzard", not "stomach".

                              1. re: uptown jimmy

                                Oh well, whatever that rather chewy intestinal thingee is besides the usual neck, liver and heart. Call it what you want.

                                1. re: linguafood

                                  It's not "what I want". It's called a gizzard. Chickens also have an actual stomach, and the gizzard fills an ancilliary role in helping to process food.

                                  I grew up eating them, and I love them passionately. I can't count the number of times I've purchased packages of gizzards and hearts, fried them up, and eaten them with gusto.

                                  It's one of my pet peeves that the "humane" chickens I buy at Earth Fare don't include the giblets. What are they doing with the giblets, throwing them away? I want my giblets.

                                  1. re: uptown jimmy

                                    Thanks, jimmy :-D. As a non-native speaker, I appreciate the correction.

                                    I understand your disappointment over left-out giblets. What IS up with that, anyway?

                                    1. re: uptown jimmy

                                      have you guys ever had gizzard sausages? *drool* :)

                                      1. re: uptown jimmy

                                        I investigated that at Earth Fare several years ago. The situation wasn't because the chicken was humanely raised. It was because the company that Earth Fare sources their chicken from did not have the equipment to bag & reinsert the gizzards, etc. and it wasn't cost effective to do it by hand. They were a newish producer and hoped to eventually grow to the point that the equipment would be feasible.

                                  2. re: linguafood

                                    Yes! the neck is the most prized part of the chicken in my household, we all fight over it!! It gets all the spices jammed in from whatever one is cooking and tastes so yummy!

                                  3. Bacon fat. It's like throwing butter in the trash!

                                    7 Replies
                                    1. re: jvozoff

                                      Yup. I bake my bacon in the oven, and use the fat to season my cast iron and fry my tatercakes.

                                      1. re: jvozoff

                                        Amen to that! Frying potatoes or a grilled cheese in bacon fat is heavenly!

                                        1. re: BesottedGourmet

                                          Rub baking potatoes with bacon fat before they hit the oven or grill. Makes the best fried potatoes..or just baked potatoes.

                                        2. re: jvozoff

                                          OH yeah! Best thing in the world that my mama makes is just spaghetti noodles with canned tomatoes (of course home canned or frozen is best but store bought works fine) with 1 or 2 Tablespoons of bacon grease, salt and lots o' pepper.......YUMMO! This is my #1 comfort food.

                                          1. re: honey2emmylace

                                            That sounds so good! My mama saved bacon (and goose and duck) fat in a special brown crockery dish that was kept in the fridge. After school or sports we would come home and snack on it. Smeared it on sourdough bread, added a sprinking of salt... or thin slices of sweet onion....

                                          2. re: jvozoff

                                            Ahh, ahem - nobody has yet mentioned saving bacon fat for making refried beans! Talk about heavenly. Especially if you saved some crumbled bacon to mix into the beans. As is, that's delicious, but you can augment the refried beans with garlic, comino, and other spices dictated by your delight. If you love curry, try that, too. Not Mexican? Maybe so, but deliciocity should know NO BORDERS!!

                                            This mixture, spread on a flour tortilla with a nice respectable slab of jack or mozzarella cheese, wrapped up and fried on a griddle in a small amount of oil (till the cheese melts and the tortilla is browned and crispy), is what I call an outstanding burrito. With salsa picante, of course, on the side. Maybe some sour cream, too.

                                            Bacon fat has countless uses, and in a covered container does not need refrigeration, as long as it is pure fat, and not containing any of the bacon juices. That isn't a problem if you fry the bacon very crispy.

                                            But I'm by no means done! I have a number of treasures that people usually throw away, and am posting some of them here.

                                            1. re: fastermx

                                              Re- your first sentence- maybe it's a given? It sure to hell is for me.

                                          3. All good suggestions so far. I would add the stem of brocolli! Peel the thick skin and savor the fresh, crispy inside! The BEST! My dog loves veggies, and I've found she digs the lettuce core, diced, so I never toss that now.

                                            41 Replies
                                            1. re: scuzzo

                                              Amen! When my mom and I used to cook dinner it was understood how broccoli division went - she got the florets and I got the stalks. Better to me than artichoke hearts.

                                              1. re: scuzzo

                                                The stems make the best broccoli slaw! Just peel and slice super thin.

                                                1. re: scuzzo

                                                  Agreed! My mom always peeled the stalks, sliced them and included them in her stir-fried broccoli. When I grew up, I never understood why I never saw anyone else cook the stalks. The first time I cooked the stalks for my husband, he was so surprised at how good they were. He had always just thrown them out. Such a waste.

                                                  1. re: scuzzo

                                                    my mom's favorite part of a cabbage is the core...she steams it and dips in soy sauce, sesame oil, green onions and red pepper flakes. yum.

                                                    1. re: soypower

                                                      mine too... i make sweet n sour cabbage and love the core pieces... in fact, i covet them!

                                                      1. re: soypower

                                                        I use broccoli stalks in my stir frys. It has a pleasant crunch.

                                                        1. re: FoodieKat

                                                          They also make a good cream of broccoli soup. I've also diced them fairly small, saute in butter until tender, then use them with cheddar cheese as an omlette filling.

                                                          1. re: Caroline1

                                                            Diced broccoli stems has never occurred to me. Hmmm. I could probably put that into fried rice.

                                                            1. re: saltwater

                                                              I've always peeled them and sliced them into coins.

                                                              1. re: Patrincia

                                                                We take the "bark" off and then just cut them up and use them in whatever we're having the florets in.

                                                              2. re: saltwater

                                                                peeled and shredded broccoli stalks make brocco-slaw.

                                                            2. re: FoodieKat

                                                              I have made a really yummy broccoli slaw from the stalks... very pretty too

                                                            3. re: soypower

                                                              We loved cabbage cores as kids! Just raw crunchy snacks.

                                                                  1. re: Paulustrious

                                                                    No sir, I'm made of sterner stock than that!

                                                                1. re: Bookwich

                                                                  And I like fresh pineapple cores too...

                                                              1. re: scuzzo

                                                                yuumm the stalks are so good for soup.

                                                                1. re: jenniesue

                                                                  steamed and chopped broccoli stalks are one of my favorite ways to stealthily get veg into my preschooler.

                                                                  1. re: jenniesue

                                                                    Hmm. I never put broccoli in my soups, because I'm afraid the flavor will take over. Fine if it's something like broccoli/cheddar/potato soup, not so fine if it's something like chicken broth, or a minestrone. You don't have this problem?

                                                                    1. re: somervilleoldtimer

                                                                      I precook the broccoli and add it as a garnish to soups; adds flavor w/out overpowering the broth. For diet reasons, we will also use brocholi instead of pasta for Italian sauces, cabbage too.

                                                                      1. re: somervilleoldtimer

                                                                        In my personal lexicon of cookery, it's almost impossible to have too big a variety of veggies in a stew, but even in a soup. I live alone, but always make this stew in my biggest kettle. Then I bag up and freeze the leftovers for future meals where I don't want to cook - or can't.

                                                                        If you've been behaving yourself and saved some beef bones and vegetable trimmings, start making a broth out of them, right NOW. Then make the stew tomorrow. You can even get a head start by steaming the meat, cleaning, preparing and chopping most veggies (except maybe potatoes), so you'll have most of it ready to go the next day - with the hardest part already done.

                                                                        I don't believe in always giving precise amounts in recipes; it often inhibits innovation. A soup or stew only sometimes needs that kind of precision.

                                                                        So I'm gonna make a bit of a speech here - my own world's finest stew! It takes time and effort, but it's worth it. Here goes.

                                                                        World's best beef stew (can make it chicken or pork, too)

                                                                        Get a pound or more of lean beef - or remove the fat yourself; it will have a use later to render for sauteeing any veggies you want sauteed..
                                                                        This steaming process applies also to pork, but not to chicken. It can be cut up and just plunked in the pot, or sauteed first.
                                                                        Cut the meat into manageable chunks, wrap TIGHTLY in foil, and steam it till tender. The foil is vital, because it will save those precious juices! And without it, the meat will dry up.
                                                                        Pour off the juices and reserve for stock.
                                                                        Shred the meat, using fingers or a fork
                                                                        Yeah, you're getting the drift - this is not a fast meal! Conscript help from others in the family, if you can.
                                                                        Heat some oil very hot and fry the meat shreds in small batches till browned. Into the pot they go.

                                                                        Some people would probably love adding a favorite sausage - cut into bitesized pieces, fried brown and lovely, and added to the pot. Unless there are anti-sausage police in your neighborhood, I don't see why you shouldn't, if you want to.


                                                                        Use any - or all - of these, but try to use at least 8. The onion must be one of them, and if you love shrooms, ditto for them. So this dish is also a wonderful way to use up that one last zucchini or bell pepper, etc. It's always delicious, but each time you make it it's slightly different, depending on the veggies you have on hand.

                                                                        Potato (small pasta or some favorite kind of rice works, too)
                                                                        Bell peppers (I prefer red)
                                                                        Chayote (peel and chop, including the edible seed)
                                                                        Spinach (or kale, romano, beet greens - any dark green leaf)
                                                                        Broccoli and/or cauliflower
                                                                        Corn and/or peas, if desired
                                                                        Chinese (baby) peapods
                                                                        Any other chinese-style veggie, like bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, etc.
                                                                        There are others, and you can probably think of a few.

                                                                        If you like, you can pre-sautee any of the veggies - it's up to you.

                                                                        The more veggies you use, the LESS you'll need of each. I find with 8-10 veggies, I'm only using about a cup, more or less, of each one - but a lot more of onion and shrooms, and more, too, of my favorites. Together with, at a minimum, a pound of meat - usually more - my kettle gets pretty darned full.

                                                                        I won't go into how to prepare each one here, since I'll presume you already know how. The size of the pieces is a matter of taste preference. BUT DO use a goodly amount of onion and DO sautee the onions till they carmelize (brown), but save some raw to add to the soup when it is served. You can chop and prepare any of these the way you prefer for soups and stews. Chunky or small pieces - it's your choice, but the small ones deliver more flavor punch to the dish. Use more of your favorites, too.

                                                                        The fried meat shreds, the juices from steaming, the veggies, all get dumped into the pot, then broth is added (preferably homemade) until the solids are covered. Simmer this well covered slowly, for a couple of hours, checking every half hour and adding broth if needed. What you want is enough broth, but the vast bulk of the dish is solids, with broth rising no more than a couple of inches max above the solids. If you have no homemade broth and what you DO use isn't very richly flavored, only THEN use some bullion cubes to make it rich flavored.

                                                                        The broth can be augmented with some tomato puree, maybe a few glugs of the appropriate kind of wine.

                                                                        NOW add seasonings, when the cooking is done, or almost done. I always use a couple tbs of liquid smoke, and regard it as mandatory - fantastic stuff! Add the S&P now, so when you adjust seasonings later, you won't be led astray because it isn't salty enough. My favorite seasonings are the liquid smoke, ample amounts of garlic (always!), oregano, S&P, and maybe some comino. But you can spice it up to suit your own preferences. Just don't do it too early, or the cooking flattens out the flavors. Don't cook more than another half hour after seasonings are added. An exception is brown or wild rice - there must be at least TWICE the amount of broth as the rice (more if you want broth at ALL!), and both rices need 45 minutes of cooking. Add rice or pasta too early and they get mushy, so add them with seasonings or just a few minutes before. Remember that pasta and rice will reduce the amount of free broth, so add more if needed. You can use seasonings that are from regional cuisines, like Mexican, Chinese, etc. Add seasonings in conservative amounts, mixing in, tasting and adjusting the amounts till it's just right.

                                                                        My brother used to love what he called "garbage pizza," because it had just about everything on it that CAN be put on a pizza. This stew is sort of like that. None of the flavors conflict, and they ALL contribute to the overall deliciocity of this stew. It tends to have a wonderful flavor that is uniquely its own.

                                                                        You can thicken it, if you like. The best way is to use about 1 TB of flour or cornstarch (cornstarch is best, and makes it glossy, not cloudy) for every cup of broth you think you've got. Mix the starch with water and stir till it is free of lumps, then pour into the pot and mix in immediately, stirring until the whole thing thickens nicely. You can use buerre marie, too, which is merely flour hand-worked into butter - knobs of it are thrown in until the right amount of thickening occurs. When fully thickened, serve.

                                                                        But you're not done yet! There are the "toppers," too. These are usually things like shredded cabbage, onion, chopped tomato, pickled jalapeno peppers, sliced radish, croutons, (and you can probably think up more), served in separate bowls to accompany the meal. And ALWAYS have wedges of lime or lemon, served with each bowl of the stew, to squeeze right into it for added flavor. These toppers are in common use in Mexico, where I live, and it's your loss if you've never tried it! It's like the toppers often served with chutneys along with a curry meal. Each person picks his own and plunks it into his own bowl of stew. But the lemon or lime wedge is always given to each person.

                                                                        As a bread, hot, very slightly dry-toasted corn and flour tortillas are ubiquitous - and rightly so! - in Mexico, but any good bread will do. A garlic or herbed bread particularly. With all those veggies, a salad would be a bit of overkill, unless it's a fruit salad. If there's room for dessert in anyone after all this, try - uh - jello.

                                                                        I know I'll remember something I forgot to tell you, but it'll come to me AFTER I post this! Murphy, y'know. Try it and enjoy!

                                                                        1. re: fastermx

                                                                          you use broccoli in a stew? doesn't it turn to mush or do you add it near the end? broccoli seems like it would not do well in a stew (sorta smelly, too). convince me!

                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                            I only add the Brassica foliage near the end - with the possible exception of cauliflower. If you want to stop broccoli from going soft the only way I know is to have a tomato based stew / soup. It still won't accept a long cook. The broccoli stems will last cut in biggish chunks.

                                                                            Edit: My spell-checker doesn't like the word brassica and suggested brassiere as an alternative. I don't know about soup, but that's another way to get in hot water.

                                                                            1. re: Paulustrious

                                                                              that's interesting about the tomato-based soup's retardation of broccoli's cooking.

                                                                              brassica, brassiere. now that's a mental image!

                                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                                There are other methods so stop softening. Quick jump into one of my favourite books, my culinary bible, "On Food and Cooking" by McGee...

                                                                                "[...] in certain vegetables and fruits - including potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets, carrots, beans, cauliflower, tomatoes, cherries, apples - the usual softening during cooking can be reduced by a low temperature pre-cooking step. If pre-heated to 130-140F, 55-60C for 20-30 minutes these foods will develop a permanent firmness that survives prolonged final cooking."

                                                                                My way to achieve this is to put everything in a warm cast iron pot in the oven, put the oven on minimum (170F) and cook for an hour. It is particularly noticeable with the carrots.

                                                                                Potatoes / root vegetables keep their texture better if gradually heated from cold rather than plunged into boiling water.

                                                                                However, I am having problems finding documentary proof to back up my tomato-sauce-keeps-vegetables-harder statement.

                                                                                I also forgot to mention that the reason I add brassicas at the end is that there are sulphur-based flavours and as you cook they will accumulate.

                                                                                1. re: Paulustrious

                                                                                  >>"""However, I am having problems finding documentary proof to back up my tomato-sauce-keeps-vegetables-harder statement."""<<<

                                                                                  i think the acidity from the tomatoes affects the cooking. cooking beans is analogous.

                                                                                  1. re: Paulustrious

                                                                                    Tomatoes keep many things from cooking quickly, potatoes, rice, lentils, etc. I add the tomatoes after the starchy ingredients are at least halfway cooked.

                                                                      2. re: scuzzo

                                                                        I TOTALLY agree - I love broccoli stems. I can't believe people pay more for the crowns only - I wonder where the stems from all of those crowns go. I like to slice the stem into coins and use it in stir-fry, or just roast them along with the tops.

                                                                        1. re: aching

                                                                          i can almost assure you that those stems are profitably shredded into broccoli slaw, and also probably processed for prepared broccoli soups.

                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                            Good. I'd hate to think of them just being thrown away (or even composted).

                                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                                              Or just plain ol' frozen chopped broccoli. After they take the florets for the better frozen broccoli. I bet frozen is where most broccoli ends up.

                                                                              1. re: coll

                                                                                The plain ol' chopped frozen is v good in a ham, cheese, and broccoli strata.

                                                                            2. re: aching

                                                                              i peel and slice them. salt them overnight, drain out the liquid that comes out, and add garlic,olive oil, and a splash on vinegar. love those as a snack for days after making

                                                                              1. re: aching

                                                                                I was in a green grocer's (a few years ago now) and they had put up signs asking people to not break the stems off the mushrooms or broccoli before buying!

                                                                                I couldn't believe that people would willingly throw away such useful and delicious things!

                                                                                Everyone in my family fights to get at the broccoli stems. Half the time, there's none left over to cook...I call cooks' treat, but that never works ;)

                                                                              2. re: scuzzo

                                                                                as much as I love eating peeled broccoli stalks, I have a deal with my dog.

                                                                                I give him the broccoli and cauliflower stalks, and he keeps his big hairy butt out of my garden.

                                                                                So far, it's working well for both of us.

                                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                  I wish I'd thought of that. I'm sure my dog's favourite pasttime was to see how many things he could dig up before I caught him ;)

                                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                    My dog would SO be Mr. Farty if I gave him cauliflower and broccoli.

                                                                                    1. re: Krislady

                                                                                      and mine is actually *better* about his, um, aroma if I give him plenty of fresh veggies.

                                                                                      He gets whole carrots, and green beans...he's quite the veg head.

                                                                                      (and the vet gives it her blessing, because it fills him up without filling him out. No, no garlic or onions)

                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                        Well, he does love carrots and sweet potatoes (and watermelon and cranberries) but I've never actually dared with the cabbage-y stuff. . . hmmmm.

                                                                                        I'm sure he'd like it - he likes pretty much anything I give him, except maybe bananas.

                                                                                        And we have to watch our Jarly's weight, too - he's got hip problems, and the lighter he is, the easier he walks.

                                                                                        1. re: Krislady

                                                                                          Talk to your vet -- there are some things that are toxic to dogs, like too much garlic, onions, grapes, and chocolate -- and fresh pumpkin is a very powerful laxative -- (long story)

                                                                                          But they like their veggies and most of them are good for them...so as long as the vet gives the thumbs-up, go for it!

                                                                                2. Radish greens. I used to throw them away, then it occurred to me that I could cook them just like any other greens.

                                                                                  32 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: NYCkaren

                                                                                    Good one, I keep these as well! A while back, I read a recipe using them, I never knew they were edible!

                                                                                    1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                      I use radish leaves in salads. They add a bit of peppery bite when arugula is unavailable.

                                                                                    2. re: NYCkaren

                                                                                      ohh I didn't know that! I'll will so do that now. Thanks

                                                                                      1. re: NYCkaren

                                                                                        Beet greens too. IMHO the best tasting cooked green.

                                                                                        1. re: garfish

                                                                                          Absolutely! I LOVE beet greens! My favorite cooked green as well.

                                                                                          1. re: CookieWeasel

                                                                                            ladies past menopause should not go overboard on beet greens, spinach or chard, though--it ties up the calcium and makes it unavailable. We need our bone food!

                                                                                            1. re: toodie jane

                                                                                              Oh, but they are so good for the eyes - beet greens, kale, spinach, chard... Really good for slowing progression of macular degeneration. Is it possible to eat the greens separate from calcium sources to try to get benefits of both? Cause Caucasian ladies past menopause are higher risk for macular degen...

                                                                                              1. re: moh

                                                                                                A further boost for beet greens. I always keep my eye out for opportunities at my local supermarket to get a produce person to cut off the greens and sell me them apart from the beets. I seldom have time or inclination to cook beets, but I am always ready for the greens. The supermarket staff are not always sure how to price them, but I get to profit from the fact that most people who buy beets simply throw the greens away. They are one of the most nutritious (and delicious) things imaginable.

                                                                                                1. re: Bada Bing

                                                                                                  They wouldn't do that where I live.....

                                                                                                  1. re: Bada Bing

                                                                                                    so many people don't want the tops of their beets that you can get a giant bag of greens for free at the NYC farmers' markets! They usually have a big box of them. yum! I've used them in curries, just stir fried with garlic, in borscht and other soups, plus the stalks alone and raw are a pretty good substitute for celery with hummus!

                                                                                                2. re: toodie jane

                                                                                                  As I understand it, spinach (and probably other greens) contain calcium. How is it they can inhibit absorption of calcium? I'd want to check on that further before relying on it. You're right, though, we DO need our bone food.

                                                                                                  While I can't exactly recommend this, my way of insuring enough calcium each day is met by also satisfying my craving for a sweet before bedtime - I make close to a quart of chocolate milk. Yeah, calories, and other objections, but it's what I've come to love. So I make my own chocolate syrup - it's much cheaper.

                                                                                                  When I was young, milk was my "favorite swill." I drank it at meals all the time. In my later 50's, I got off the milk habit - at JUST the time when I shouldn't have! So the chocolate milk works for me - and I seem unable to get tired of it.

                                                                                                  1. re: fastermx

                                                                                                    << "So I make my own chocolate syrup - it's much cheaper." >>

                                                                                                    Please do tell! I rarely buy chocolate syrup and would love a delicious recipe.

                                                                                                    1. re: just_M

                                                                                                      One cup cocoa
                                                                                                      Two cups sugar
                                                                                                      One cup water
                                                                                                      Pinch salt
                                                                                                      Mix and simmer for five minutes, make sure it doesn't scorch or boil over.
                                                                                                      You can add vanilla after you turn off the heat, but I don't find it is necessary.
                                                                                                      Bottle when cool - it is thick but not quite as thick as some of the bought ones.
                                                                                                      Very occasionally this turns crystalline (some of the sugar precipitates) after a week or so, but even then it still tastes fine.

                                                                                                      Better than fine, it is flat out *delicious* and much better than bought.

                                                                                                      1. re: AnotherMother

                                                                                                        Thanks AM - can't wait to try this. I'm sure I won't have to worry about crystallizing between the kids and the Mr., I'll need to taste it right away just to get any!

                                                                                                        1. re: AnotherMother

                                                                                                          I always add a bit of vanilla as well, any time I make a chocolate sauce. My son won't tolerate it out of the bottle anymore. Has to be homemade!

                                                                                                      2. re: fastermx

                                                                                                        the word is that the nutrients of raw spinach are less bioavailable than those in cooked spinach.

                                                                                                        1. re: fastermx

                                                                                                          Spinach contains oxalic acid, which can leach calcium. I think you'd have to eat an awful lot of it for it to have that affect, though.

                                                                                                          1. re: MsRetro

                                                                                                            A warning to people who are prone to renal calculi(kidney stones)- oxalates are voodoo for you so act accordingly. Otherwise, party on

                                                                                                            1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                              Yah, my Dad had an awful time with kidney stones and was told to avoid consuming excessive amounts of spinach or chocolate, and to switch from iced tea to half tea/half lemonade...

                                                                                                              1. re: eclecticsynergy

                                                                                                                Liver is bad too, I once ate a bunch of chopped chicken liver at the same time that the local spinach was available, and soon after it was kidney stone time.

                                                                                                                1. re: coll

                                                                                                                  Well, the liver is the organ that filters all toxins. I love froi graux (sp?), but restrain myself because I know I'm eating every awful thing that bird ate--and unless you know the person who raised the bird, you don't know what they ate. Same as deep sea fish--or shell fish--I am slowly reverting to vegetarianism (I'll never give up milk products), as I'm always questioning how safe it is to eat another animal, unless you know what they ate. I wish I could have my own little farm with my own garden and a few chickens and a goat or two--I could be happy--though I would miss the fish.

                                                                                                                  1. re: PEGinAZ

                                                                                                                    but then you also need to know what's in the soil and water of any plant you eat. we have had many more plant based food disease incidents than meat based lately - or so it seems to me

                                                                                                                    1. re: PEGinAZ

                                                                                                                      Foie gras comes from birds that have been (over) fed corn. They're not eating bugs/worms/plant shoots/anything else, because they're kept full of corn, so if anything, their liver is probably 'cleaner' than yours, especially if you find an organic producer (and they do exist).

                                                                                                                      This is true whether you're raising one duck/goose for foie gras, or 1000.

                                                                                                                      A large proportion of vegetarians eat dairy products and eggs -- thus the term lacto-ovo.

                                                                                                                  2. re: eclecticsynergy

                                                                                                                    just learned that citric acid helps with stones....
                                                                                                                    so crystal light, lemonade, etc.

                                                                                                              2. re: fastermx

                                                                                                                too much oxalic acid is bad for yas. one serving of greens a day won't hurt ya.

                                                                                                              3. re: toodie jane

                                                                                                                if you've been good to your body (read haven't done a celery diet), you don't need HALF the calcium that the USDA recommends (look up the WHO regs if you don't believe me). Milk also kills bioavailability of calcium.
                                                                                                                One serving of greens a day, no more, will do you just fine...

                                                                                                                You want bone food, YOU WALK. a mile a day will do your bones better than doubling the calcium (thank nasa for the research!)

                                                                                                                1. re: Chowrin

                                                                                                                  Weight lifting is even better for your bones.....it works for me anyway.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Chowrin

                                                                                                                    i just read that whole milk makes calcium more bioavailable than skim. (i have to post the article on chowhound, as it involved some "good news" about food "fat.").

                                                                                                                    how can milk kill calcium availability if it provides calcium?

                                                                                                                    calcium requirements are different for men & women, and differ according to age -- esp. as women age (and aren't getting estrogen in the same amounts).

                                                                                                            2. re: NYCkaren

                                                                                                              If you grow radishes in your garden, let a few go to seed, those peppery pods are delicious.

                                                                                                              1. re: serious

                                                                                                                radish pods/old term=radish cods....make a delicious treat when pickled in vinegar with garlic and herbs...many other seed pods were done this way also. The ultimate frugal recipe..for details check out chronicles of recipes from 17th/18th century

                                                                                                              2. re: NYCkaren

                                                                                                                An Iranian friend told me they always eat radish greens in Persia...but the radishes we grow have such spiky leaves that I just used them in stir fries and soups!

                                                                                                              3. Bones, shells, fat, giblets and old bread. All backbones of fabulous cuisine bougeoise recipes that affluence has forgotten.

                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                1. re: Brandon Nelson

                                                                                                                  So many recipes call for bread crumbs - sometimes dry, sometimes moist. Leftover bread is perfect for that - if you only bother to get out the food processor, make them, and then leave them to dry completely before putting in a lidded container (I use large coffee cans).

                                                                                                                  So let me share my family's classic bread stuffing for poultry or stuffed pork chops. Old bread works beautifully. Shred by hand a BIG bowlful of bread into crouton-sized chunks, or thereabouts. (I use a loaf, or close to it) Chop a goodly amount of onions and mushrooms. Sautee the onions in BUTTER till browned, and dump on the bread. Sautee the shrooms in more butter, and dump. Add beef consomme (I'd use it over my homemade broth because consomme is very concentrated) and mix well until the bread mixture is moist. Add S&P, some finely-minced or granulated garlic, and you're done. This is not exotic. It is not fancy or even gourmet. It just happens to be utterly delicious - so much so that I always make extra and bake it up separately dotted with butter. And no matter how much I'd make for my family, it never seemed to be enough.

                                                                                                                  Sometimes I just make it to enjoy as a side dish - even without pork or burd. There ARE times when something simple can outshine the glamorous. And nobody has ever failed to adore this stuffing, simple as it is.

                                                                                                                  BTW, where is it written that you HAVE to stuff a bird you roast whole, anyway? I used to think so, and so I didn't roast "burd" very often. Now I do. Without the muss and fuss of making stuffing, stuffing the burd, trussing, etc., I just pop it in the oven with some lemon juice poured over it, and let 'er rip. I often chop some potatoes, carrots and onion, and add them to the pan with the bird, basting them with the pan juices as they cook with the poultry.

                                                                                                                  And where is it written that only thick, pre-pocketed (and expensive) pork chops can be baked with dressing? Use ANY kind of pork, put it in an oiled pan, cover it with this dressing, dot with some butter and bake till the pork is thoroughly cooked and tender. If the meat is thick, bake under a foil seal till it is done through, then remove the foil to crisp things up nicely.

                                                                                                                  ALL those years when I didn't roast chickens because of my assumption that they HAD to be stuffed! Habit can make slaves of us all. Nowadays, I live alone, with only myself to feed, but I will still roast up a bird any time I have a yen for it. I have tons of ways to use the leftovers. One favorite is warmed up succulent, moist chicken breast meat, fitted into a very slightly dry-toasted flour tortilla, along with a thick piece of avocado and a dollop or two of picante sauce. Talk about heavenly!

                                                                                                                  So the old wisdom is correct - NEVER neglect the simple and the thrifty. They do NOT equate to inferiority, but often lead to magnificence, when used well.

                                                                                                                  Good eats to you.

                                                                                                                2. the green tops of scallions- lovely in salads, soup and on tacos.

                                                                                                                  51 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: lhb78

                                                                                                                    Whoa. I've never heard of anyone throwing out the green top of scallions. I only know people (myself included) who throw out the white stump on the bottom.

                                                                                                                    The green stuff is what you're supposed to use ----

                                                                                                                    1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                      supposed? supposed?

                                                                                                                      thats a funny concept. supposed to by whose rules?

                                                                                                                      the white part and the green part arent the same but both parts have uses

                                                                                                                      1. re: thew

                                                                                                                        Let me put it this way :-D

                                                                                                                        *Suppose* a recipe mentions the use of scallion, it is generally the green part that's used. At least in the recipes I know, or have seen. I tend to chop down fairly low, including some of the white stuff.

                                                                                                                        But throwing all the green stuff out? What's the point? Buy a shallot or regular onion if that's what you need.

                                                                                                                        1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                          Huh - most of the recipes I have call for the white part, and throwing the green part out. But I notice in Dunlop that she uses both.

                                                                                                                          1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                            I use both the white & green part of scallions - whether I'm cooking or adding them to a salad. The only part I throw into the compost heap is the root end and maybe the very tip.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                              Well, yeah -- I guess that's what I do, too. But to throw out all of the green part just sounds ridiculous to me... I don't care what recipe you're using (in response to lhb78).

                                                                                                                              1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                Don't throw out those root ends! Plant them in your garden or even in a pot and they will grow. When ever you need them, just cut them above the white part and the green tops keep growing back - you will never run out or have to buy them again.

                                                                                                                                1. re: GSDlove

                                                                                                                                  Ha. That would be the first plant EVER to survive my gardening "skills" (including pre-potted basil, and the occasional palm tree).

                                                                                                                                  1. re: GSDlove

                                                                                                                                    Seriously?? OMG I never knew!!!!!
                                                                                                                                    That will be added to my balcony garden this summer that's for damn sure! How well do they do inside? (runs to plant some in a pot she justs happens to have!)

                                                                                                                                    And to add my 2 cents, my brother nad Dad both just toss the green part away, so whenever they come to my house I precut the white parts and hide the green parts in the fridge!

                                                                                                                                    1. re: starlady

                                                                                                                                      I stuck some from the Asian market in the ground... They are the best growing thing in the garden. Cut and come again... they grow back so quickly... :O).

                                                                                                                                      1. re: soleado123

                                                                                                                                        The ones I planted just last week are already growing really well. Not tall enough to eat yet but they are poking out of the ground etc.. :)

                                                                                                                                    2. re: GSDlove

                                                                                                                                      thanks for a great tip, my holiday narcissus is getting a bit ragged now -- I'll just plant the ends of those scallions in my fridge!

                                                                                                                                      1. re: GSDlove

                                                                                                                                        It works with leeks, also. You need about an inch of white above the root. Also, I save the tough part of the green on leeks and use that when I make stock. After it is cooked I toss it, but still have the flavor.

                                                                                                                                      2. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                        I dont think most people throw out the whole green top- but most recipes DO call for the "white and tender green parts" only. Depending on what im making, ill use more or less of the green tops.... Ive never seen a recipe call for tossing the white part.... ever.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: bastet212

                                                                                                                                          hmmm. not sure about this. I've definitely seen lots of recipes calling only for the white/pale green part of leeks, but rarely for scallions. I definitely fall in the "generally only use the green part" camp.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: bastet212

                                                                                                                                            I don't know if it's a southern thing or maybe a black thing, but my grandmother only used the green part, and the group of black women I work with only use the green part. I love all of it... to me the white part has the flavor and the green part has the color.. so I use it all. And can't wait to try planting the root end.... do I need to plant a whole white bulb or just the root after I use the white?

                                                                                                                                            1. re: honey2emmylace

                                                                                                                                              Interesting, I'm French and German, my mom used the white and green.
                                                                                                                                              to where it was too tough. I too do, and have made many fine soups with it.
                                                                                                                                              It's a little green but delicious none the same.
                                                                                                                                              Braised Leeks in wine and butter are so so good. And a friend not too long ago made a dish with the eggs and leeks, talk about comfort food..

                                                                                                                                              1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                                                                                hi chef c! wasn't there an entire thread on leeks a while back? have you ever grown them? the warmer weather is telling me to get a garden in the ground!

                                                                                                                                                an english friend introduced me to leeks years ago -- grilling the white section wrapped in the wonder food: bacon, of course.

                                                                                                                                              2. re: honey2emmylace

                                                                                                                                                My family are southern blacks and we use the entire scallion; I think it's a preference thing...

                                                                                                                                              3. re: bastet212

                                                                                                                                                This thread really surprised me. Here in Australia no-one would ever dream of throwing out the white part.
                                                                                                                                                Every recipe I have ever seen calls for the white part and the 'better' parts of the green tops. Some asian recipes call for both parts.

                                                                                                                                              4. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                I've only ever seen people use the white/chuck the green when they do discard any of it too.... I was shocked the first time I saw it happen. I was in my first year of high school, it was in Home Ec, of all the misnomers in my cooking life. Before that I had only seen what my mother did with them, which was to use the whole lot, green and white, always mixed in whatever she was cooking.

                                                                                                                                                I love knowing I can plants the ends now!
                                                                                                                                                (I LOVE this thread)

                                                                                                                                      3. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                        Funny story - when I got married my MIL thought you were supposed to throw away the green tops, and I thought you were supposed to throw away the white bottoms.... so glad we both know better now.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Patrincia

                                                                                                                                          Yea, because it sounds like if the two of you were working together on those, you'd be left with nothin'.

                                                                                                                                        2. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                          In Chinese food often the white part is used in the cooking of the dish and the green as garnish. Nothing much if anything is wasted in Chinese cooking!

                                                                                                                                          1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                            Whoa - back! BOTH parts are precious. I use the whiter parts in stir-fries, and feel deprived when I have none to use. I usually cut off the root, and 2", 3" max of the white part, including some of the green, for the stir fry, and usually split them lengthwise if the globes are large. The middle parts, white/green, are perfect for most recipes calling for scallions. The tops of the green are fairly fibrous, but what does that have to do with extracting their taste in making a superb sauce or broth? The only parts to throw out are those that are - unlovely, like spoiled or something.

                                                                                                                                            Have you ever tried roasting a chicken with scallions and mushrooms pushed UNDER the skin? You have to pinch the skin all over, loosen it, then use a hand under the skin to get it separated from the meat where it's stubbornly attached. The skin will now be loose all over the bird. Split the scallion segments lengthwise, and pack them as liberally as you can, along with mushroom caps, under the skin of the whole bird. You could include some split garlic cloves, too, if you like. Toothpick closed the opening your hand made. (If making a turkey, you might want to include some small knobs of butter under the skin, too, to keep it moist.) Then roast. I've even done this with just a chicken breast or thigh I was going to make into fried chicken. Pack in the goodies, toothpick the opening closed, then bread and fry as usual.

                                                                                                                                            Try not to make the opening for your hand too large, to conserve juices when roasting. Then toothpick them closed. This is a MOST unusual way to roast a chicken, stuffed or otherwise. And people WILL notice, count on it!

                                                                                                                                            1. re: fastermx

                                                                                                                                              I've never done that with scallions and mushrooms, but I've done it with lemon slices and sprigs of lemon thyme. I'll have to try the mushroom/scallion combo next time.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: fastermx

                                                                                                                                                That mushroom scallion chicken skin thingee sounds.... awesome. I'll have to try that soon!

                                                                                                                                                1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                  Spiogs of fresh rosemary are great stuffed under a chicken skin too!

                                                                                                                                            2. re: lhb78

                                                                                                                                              Koreans use the green parts of scallions in cooking. When I was a kid I would read recipes about where you just use the white part of a "green" onion. Had no idea that a green onion was a scallion as we always used the whole thing. I couldn't even fathom at that point that some people threw them out. Same with leeks as well. My mom would save the green parts of the leeks, shred them up into yuk gae jang (spicy Korean soup with green onions).

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                                LOL funny, just last year I figured out that scallions were green onions. I grew up with them being called green onion. In fact, I don't know anyone who uses the word scallion. And we usually used the whole thing too.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: livetocook

                                                                                                                                                  In some places green onions/scallions are called spring onions. Just to add to the confusion...

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: kiwiFRUIT

                                                                                                                                                    Yeah, that's what they're called in Germany. And I have honestly never heard of anyone who tosses out the green. Again, what's the point? Any Stir fry "recipe" that asks for green onion is talking about the green stalk finely chopped. Notice the green little rings in a stir fry, or fried rice. Not white little rings ---

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: kiwiFRUIT

                                                                                                                                                      Actually.. Spring onions and scallions are different.. both are just called "Green Onions" colloquially. Spring onions are usually slightly bigger, with more of a knob at the bottom (white) end. Scallions are almost perfectly straight. Here is a link to an article on it: http://archives.record-eagle.com/2007...

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: aletnes

                                                                                                                                                        i believe that is, to some degree regional
                                                                                                                                                        from the cooks thesaurus site:
                                                                                                                                                        green onion = scallion = bunching onion = shallot (in Australia) = spring onion (in Britain) = Chinese onion = stone leek = cibol Equivalents: 1 bunch = 1/4 pound = 1/2 cup sliced Notes: These are onions that have small bulbs and long green stalks. They're usually eaten raw, but you can also grill or sauté them. Some people also use the term green onions to refer to onion tops, shallot tops and young leeks. Substitutes: spring onions OR leeks OR shallots OR chives (if used raw)

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                          Er, in Australia a shallot is a small round bulb a little like a very small onion. (Usually golden, sometimes red.)
                                                                                                                                                          The long green things are known as spring onions.
                                                                                                                                                          The fresh onion with a small bulb and green tops is a salad onion.
                                                                                                                                                          I have them all growing in my garden right now... and they are all delish!

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: AnotherMother

                                                                                                                                                            AnotherMother, you have all the names correct.

                                                                                                                                                            It irritates me to no end when I see spring onions sold here in Australia as shallots.

                                                                                                                                                            What is (correctly) known as shallots is sometimes sold as eshallots or golden shallots. I've also seen different names for the red shallots in asian markets.

                                                                                                                                                            I think the name used also depends on which state you live in. But no matter what they're called, they are indispensible!

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: aletnes

                                                                                                                                                          Since coming to live in Mexico, I have discovered these bunching-type onions with the larger globes than scallions usually have. In fact, it's HARD to get the small-globed ones sometimes. I have to ask my domicilia (cleaning lady) to get me the cebollas with the small globes, using hand gestures - I don't know what they're called here. BTW, I'm no snob; I'd literally die without this woman, because I'm profoundly disabled. I even have to sit down when preparing foods to cook. Bummer.

                                                                                                                                                          These large globed onions are perfect for many onion dishes, which call for small, but not tiny, onions. A particular favorite is the kind baked slowly in a sweet and spicy broth - Monte Carlo onions, I think it's called. Down here, they're simply washed thoroughly (especially the root, which is not cut off), and plunked on a grill along with other delights you're grilling. The dry skin protects the inner part, and becomes somewhat charred - but you can still eat it, if you want to. They say a little carbon helps clean out the internal plumbing, so why not?

                                                                                                                                                          Small-globed or large, this kind of onion is a treasure.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: aletnes

                                                                                                                                                            I was going to say the same thing; sometimes we get "spring onions" here which are green on top with a small white round onion on the bottom, like size of a golf ball or bit bigger sometimes.

                                                                                                                                                            In Chinese the word for the skinny things with no bulbous bit on the end, just white then roots, is "choong", which means spring.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: hillsbilly

                                                                                                                                                              Beg to differ, 蔥cong1 is (green) onion, 春 chun1 is spring, they may be pronounced similarly in some dialects but the characters are different.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                buttertart, you are very talented!

                                                                                                                                                        3. re: livetocook

                                                                                                                                                          Scallion really is the best term to use. My mom always called them "shallots"! Until I learned that a shallot was a very different thing from what my mom meant. Still, she kept calling them shallots, but I have updated my vocabulary.

                                                                                                                                                          I've noticed a lot of people mix up the words cilantro and coriander, too. I've seen people using either word for either one. Cilantro is the herb, the plant, while coriander is the SEED of the cilantro. But confusion reigns online, so be sure you know what they MEAN when they use those words, because cilantro and coriander have VERY different flavors and uses. Nor are they remotely interchangeable.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: fastermx

                                                                                                                                                            Actually, in many parts of the world outside the U.S., coriander does also mean the herb, versus coriander seed, which, as you say, is the seed of the coriander/cilantro plant.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: fastermx

                                                                                                                                                              in australia they call scallions "shallots"

                                                                                                                                                              then also what mmruth said

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: fastermx

                                                                                                                                                                My family (in SW Ontario) called them "green onions".

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: fastermx

                                                                                                                                                                  My mother always called green onions "scallions", no idea why.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                                                      in germany, we call them frühlingszwiebeln = spring onions. more often than not, the white bulb is much larger than what you get in the US. they can get almost as large as leeks.

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: lhb78

                                                                                                                                                              charring them on the grill... so tasty!

                                                                                                                                                              ...and if i'm really lazy, i take a whole scallion, toss it in the microwave for 20-30 seconds til it chars... yum.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: lhb78

                                                                                                                                                                Speaking of top parts ... I use a lot of the green part of leeks and quite like it. Not the dark outer wilted part, but the inner green part, quite high up. Really my favorite part of the leek ...

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: foiegras

                                                                                                                                                                  I haven't seen green garlic mentioned! It looks like green onions, tastes like garlic cloves but is milder/mellow, more sutle tasting. Grow your own. Just plant a head of garlic from the grocery [or cloves an inch apart] about 4 inches deep in rich soil or a pot. Harvest when at 8-12 inches or so. So don't toss that garlic that's sprouting, plant it!!! Lot's of green garlic recipes, do a google search.

                                                                                                                                                              2. Chicken Fat

                                                                                                                                                                Your matzo balls will thank you.

                                                                                                                                                                23 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Oh Robin

                                                                                                                                                                  Oh yes. I save the rendered chicken fat from a chicken and roast my potatoes in it.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                                                    I have all sorts of little bags in my freezer labelled "chicken fat" and "duck fat" - for the same purpose.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                                                                      yea potatoes get all lacey crispy in duck fat

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                                                                            I froze some chicken fat for the first time Sunday. I felt really guilty, 'cause my cooking life generally revovles around getting RID of fat, not adding it...but DAMN potatoes are good roasted with a chicken. Now I'm planning to make some even when I don't have the benefit of a chicken.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: danna

                                                                                                                                                                              Along the same lines - I just read a recipe in one of the Barefoot Contessa books for make-ahead gravy where Garten says she freezes roast drippings for use in gravy later. Brilliant idea.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                                                                              What?!! No goose grease? Sorry, but I just couldn't resist throwing in a giggle.

                                                                                                                                                                              The only time to throw those away is if you've accumulated so many of those little bags that there's no room for the glorious salmon you just bought, or the ambrosial ice cream you just made. Then, maybe... But you should know that, as long as your "fat" bags contain absolutely NO meat juices, you can boil them, let them cool a bit, and pour into sterilized jars. My chicken fat comes from rendering chicken skins, and I save it in jars. It has the flavor of fried chicken to lend to any use I put it to. Even when opened, it keeps almost indefinitely. If there are any meat juices in it, though, it'll spoil - and fast.

                                                                                                                                                                              Boy, I wish I could even GET duck, much less have bags of duck fat handy. Here in Mexico, it seems not to be offered in too many places - in none near to me. I want to try my hand with a nice fat goose one day, too, but - same problem.

                                                                                                                                                                              My mom once put a goose on the griddle. She almost had to call the fire department as the dripping grease made a rather BIG fire. One lives and learns!

                                                                                                                                                                              Don't know who said it, but I've known this since high school (you don't WANT to know how long ago that was!): "Ve get zo zoon alt, und zo late schmart."

                                                                                                                                                                              Sigh. All too true.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: fastermx

                                                                                                                                                                                I believe that's an old Pennsylvania Dutch saying....

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: fastermx

                                                                                                                                                                                  it may be Swiss-German, too -- I have a ceramic vinegar just with that carved into the clay.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                    I have an old German 78 record and it's in one of the songs!

                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                                                                                  me three!

                                                                                                                                                                                  duck fat, pork fat, bacon/ham fat (skimmed off the top of ham/bacon stocks), beef dripping (rendered from fat cut off beef) and yes, of course, chicken fat.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Oh Robin

                                                                                                                                                                                Saving a bunch of chicken fat, first time, after making a big pot of stock. Can I just save it in a can?

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: foxy fairy

                                                                                                                                                                                  For decades cooks have saved their fat in a can without worries. Some catalogs even offer "special cans" for this purpose, instead of relying on the repurposed soup or coffee can of yore - some even have inserts for catching the random solids.
                                                                                                                                                                                  That said, why not let your fat cool a bit, then add to glass and refrigerate, or freeze it?
                                                                                                                                                                                  NOTE: The stove-side can o' fat was as often dipped into, to fry some eggs, or grease the cornbread skillet as it was added to, for draining pork belly, or bacon, or chops - a very bi-directional thing almost constantly in service. I'm not sure your (and know my own) daily cooking wouldn't keep that pace. Though I was raised with the stoveside can and continued the practice until the mid 80s, I now refrigerate & freeze - and now use glass.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: SusanaTheConqueress

                                                                                                                                                                                    My mom always had a big stoveside coffee can for fats and oils - but NOT for use; it was collected till full, then thrown out. Because some of it may not be pure fat, and spoilage could occur. Also, it was a mixture of many fats and oils, not usually compatible for cooking purposes.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: fastermx

                                                                                                                                                                                      You took the fat from those cans, added lye, heated the mixture and made soap.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Not good for bathing [have to add glycerin & fragrances], but acceptable for the kitchen and washing.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: SusanaTheConqueress

                                                                                                                                                                                      My wonderful mother-in-law claims the proper name for this receptacle is Mama's Fat Can!

                                                                                                                                                                                    3. re: foxy fairy

                                                                                                                                                                                      Be ABSOLUTELY sure it's pure fat, without a trace of meat solids or juices. This is easily done by boiling it. When there's no more steam, keep boiling a while longer. Strain it, to remove ALL solids. It should get very hot, and emit no steam at all. Let it cool till it's at a normal "boiling water" temperature, then pour it into a sterilized jar and seal. Even after you open it, though, it should keep almost indefinitely, as long as you keep the lid on. Mine does, anyway.

                                                                                                                                                                                      If it's too hot when you pour it into the jar, the jar may break. You want to put it in the jar very hot, but not as hot as oil and fat are able to get. So be careful. I wouldn't use a can, if I were you. Glass is ALWAYS better. Fats easily absorb odors and flavors - including unpleasant ones that a can may have. You may have noticed this attribute of fats when you had to throw out butter that had NOT spoiled, but had picked up the "taste of the refrigerator," making it totally inedible. The REASON we love our fats and oils so much is because of their function as "flavor carriers." That's why the same dish with no fat at all tastes blah, whereas with at least SOME fat or oils, it suddenly becomes delicious!

                                                                                                                                                                                      You can remove the paper inside a glass mayo jar, sterilize it and the lid - if the lid fits on quite tightly, it should work. For canning fruits or veggies, I wouldn't use this, but pure fat is a pretty good "keeper," even in unsterilized conditions. Just keep the lid on. I keep mine on a shelf - and haven't had any of it spoil, even over months of sitting there, unsealed, but with the top on. I can buy lard - or a mixture or lard and solid vegetable fat, that is sold in plastic bags, and keeps months on the shelf. You don't have to freeze or refrigerate Crisco, do you? There you go.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: fastermx

                                                                                                                                                                                        You can also do it with a thermometer. Once it reaches 260F the water has all gone. Fat is damaged by oxidation, heat and sunlight. Without these it will last a long time without refrigeration before going rancid. I keep it in the fridge. If you have a large container of it in Summer it's an awful lot of fat to clean off the floor. I boil up chicken carcases 40 at a time and get about 3lbs of fat. ( That's a guess as I have never measured it)

                                                                                                                                                                                        In Winter I poach duck and chicken to 145 and store it under fat in the garage ready to be used as a confit.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Paulustrious

                                                                                                                                                                                          Every southern cook has a jar of bacon fat in the fridge--my jar is an antique, but I use the bacon fat for a few specific purposes. I tried bacon mayo, but just couldn't stand the taste. Now I use a combo of olive and coconut oil. At Christmas, my children look forward to the beef tenderloin roast I make, basting with bacon fat.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: PEGinAZ

                                                                                                                                                                                            duuuuuck faaaat.

                                                                                                                                                                                            (I keep two jars in my fridge at all times)

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                (but duck fat is cheaper and easier to come by -- it's hard to buy goose parts, even in France...and I maintain a good supply of duck fat as a byproduct of my own cooking, so it's more or less free)

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. I think that herbs before you toss need to be looked at for pesto or pistou.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Along with fresh herbs, scallions, leeks, shallots, garlic are aromatics that I buy every week (if I need them). What I'm doing lately is if they are looking a little old, I'm tossing these along with leftover parsley, basil, mint and cilantro into a blender with oil and salt and pepper. Give it a whirl, to a nice thickness with olive oil, and then you mix it with cream cheese or mascarpone. It makes a pretty decent herbal spread for breads. Or you could hide it inside dough for a nice herbal bread or focaccia.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Or without the cream cheese, a nice dollop to soup and eggs is perfect. At times you can drop it in to pasta, rice or potatoes the only problem is the herb/aromatic ratio will vary so I never can give an exact recipe, but I'm finding that its sure worth it to save it.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Almost forgot, makes great run for lamb chops, chicken, or beef. (especially lamb!)

                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                                                                                                                      I do this too and I love it! The pesto/pistou ia great with everything...in addition to what ou mentioned, it makes great rub or stuffing for roast chicken, is great with white beans, either whole or mashed. I've started throwing arugala and spinach bits in mine too, with good results.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Chard stems/stalks, I love to chop + toss in w/stir-fries... or sautee with a little butter and onion, and add to scrambles eggs... so many uses!

                                                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: missfunkysoul

                                                                                                                                                                                        I never knew you weren't "supposed" to eat the stems. I always just saute them up first, then add the greens.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: missfunkysoul

                                                                                                                                                                                          The very last Gourmet (Nov) has a nice recipe for chard that includes the stems.

                                                                                                                                                                                          You fold up the chard, "stuff" it in a pot, fill 1/3 full w/ water, boil /simmer until the stalks are tender, rinse , drain, chop. To the pot add a bit of olive oil and some chopped bacon, (the recipe didn't call for it, but I rendered most of the fat and then drained it) add chard and garlic and cook 3-4 minutes. I over cooked mine a bit, but it was still quite good.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: missfunkysoul

                                                                                                                                                                                            A favourite side dish of mine is to dice the stems and boil until nearly tender, then add leaves until everything is cooked. Drain, mix with caramelised onion, bechamel/white sauce, top with nutmeg and bake til the top is a little brown. Cheese on top optional. I think danna's bacon mixed in would be nice too.

                                                                                                                                                                                            I always serve thsi as a side but yeah, I can eat it on its own too.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. wow, reading the responses, i kept thinking "me too! me too!" except maybe the shrimp shells, as i rarely cook with fresh shrimp (paste or dried tends to happen more often). i spent my learning-how-to-cook-from-your-mom years on a farm with a low budget and lots of mouths to feed. we didn't use as much as someone raised with depression-era cooking, but a far sight more than your average joe nowadays. i'd have to say the most common thing i run into is poultry bones and organs.
                                                                                                                                                                                            like many here, i tend to use most of a veggie. green onion tops are used as garnishes, green leek tops are used to flavour light stocks, broccoli stems are used in a variety of ways, celery centres for stock, chard stems in stir fries, carrot tops/bottoms in stock, onion skins left on onions for stock (nice color), etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                            20 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: dani_k

                                                                                                                                                                                              Pot Licker and other flavored liquid items. Also, I'd like to collect all those turkey frames and ham bones that get tossed.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: saltwater

                                                                                                                                                                                                Yeah, I was a little surprised at my first thx giving meal with the In laws. My MIL threw out her turkey carcass. My mom, grandma, aunt etc always froze theirs and made soup later. I thought everyone did that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                (Now that I know her better it doesn't surprise me. She makes little to nothing out of scratch. This is a woman that would choose low cal cool whip over real whipping cream. She thinks it tastes better)

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: livetocook

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Argh. MIL does the same thing. I mourn the loss ever year.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: livetocook

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I've always made soup from the turkey carcass, and as I'm the one who roasts the birds, etc., the carcass always comes home with me - my husband's family still think I'm incredibly weird but they sure like it when I send some of the resulting soup up to them!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    And they like cool whip too! Just no accounting for some folks' tastes... :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I just remembered that another thing they think is weird that I do is save the bone(s) from the ham to use in beans or bean soup! I just don't get them...

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: saltwater

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Me too! I actually found myself asking for the chicken carcass after my first passover with my bf's sister. They both looked at me like I was nuts...until they had a bowl of the soup!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LolaP

                                                                                                                                                                                                      A roasted chicken makes great stock! I make stock every time I roast a chicken. I keep the back, neck, wingtips, and frame and set it to simmer on the stove for the evening. Then I freeze it into 2T ice cubes and put them in a good freezer bag. Those cubes are great for stir-fries where you need a little stock. (I melt them first in the microwave, of course).

                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. re: dani_k

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I've read a lot about using shrimp shells for stock, my experience is that I get a sort of ugly dirty smelling soup. Lately I've thought this was due to using farmed shrimp, but it will take some time for me to use shrimp shells for flavouring.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: steinpilz

                                                                                                                                                                                                      maybe you're cooking it too long? I find you can extract a nice delicate flavor in 10 to 15 minutes. I usually put some garlic and a few other flavors in there as well

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Thanks very much, I'll keep this in mind. If you don't mind, what other flavours do you add?

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: steinpilz

                                                                                                                                                                                                          i never work from a recipe, so its always fairly ad hoc, dependent on what i'm making it for, and what i have in the house.a bay leaf, a lemon peel, fennel seed, lemongrass, salt and pepper (natch), garlic, a dried chile pepper, keffir lime, konbu, carrot, and many others have all found their way on there one time or another.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          this is a case where less is definitely more, as the shrimp flavor is both delicate and easily overwhelmed, as well as distinct and easy to clash with

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: steinpilz

                                                                                                                                                                                                            My mum uses shrimp shells and heads to make stock for certain Chinese noodle soup dishes...she also adds pork ribs to give it a richer flavor. She actually starts with a few pork ribs, a few cloves of crushed skinless garlic and a pot of water. Bring it to a boil, reduce to a simmer and skim all the gross stuff that floats to the top. After the first half hour of consistent skimming is generally when all the prawn shells/heads go in, and it's simmered for another hour. To get a better looking stock, strain it through a cheesecloth.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            My favorite way of using this stock is in prawn noodles - yellow chinese noodles boiled (separately), with thin pork slices, boiled prawns on top, served with a generous helping of the above stock and shallot oil, a sprinkling of fried shallots and chopped green onion. A dash of white pepper and fiery little red chilis on the side and you're good to go!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: steinpilz

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I had the same experience when I used the shells from farmed shrimp. I try to avoid the farmed stuff but sometimes the craving has to be fed and there are no nice wild ones around.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: torty

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I see absolutely no reason why you should feel that farmed shrimp would be in any way inferior. I have none available here in Mexico, but I wouldn't hesitate to buy it if it were. If anything, farming can avoid things which can contaminate seafood, like mercury. It's a lot less likely to use semi-slave labor, too. And since it is well known what shrimp love to eat and what's best for them, I'd think farmed shrimp ought to be superb.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            But I speak from reason, not experience. If anyone has unpleasant knowledge or experience with farmed shrimp to offer, I have no standing to say they're right or wrong.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: fastermx

                                                                                                                                                                                                              farmed shrimp? everyone who has eaten farmed shrimp has "unpleasant knowledge and experience"!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              wild-caught gulf shrimp! yay team!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              as to "It's a lot less likely to use semi-slave labor, too." what the heck is that supposed to mean?

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I'm not fastermx, but a lot of shrimp sold by major US retailers has been tied to sweatshops in other countries (in the past). Maybe that is what is being referred to? I wish I had access to wild-caught gulf shrimp! Just the thought makes me drool!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: milkyway4679

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  look for them in your freezer-case! it will say so on the packaging.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: milkyway4679

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    There's a lot of exploitation in Asian shrimp processing plants. Shrimp are hand peeled with little safety equipment. Shifts are long, pay is meagre, conditions and job security dismal. That's how we get our frozen product so cheap. But this kind of thing is not just confined to shrimp processing, unfortunately it's how the developing world is developing...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Also, this kind of crowded monoculture actually increases exposure to disease, mainly water-borne viruses, but I guess if it wipes out a whole tank or pond, it doesn't end up in our shops. Maybe in our waterways though... Mercury is only really an issue with big fish higher up on teh food chain, things that consume lots of other things over their lifespan, like tuna and swordfish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    And you have to remember the issue of bycatch when you eat wild.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ever feel like we're not allowed to eat anything anymore?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sorry for the wet blanket. I love prawns.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: dani_k

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yep, whenever I "groom" veggies for a dish, anything left over goes into a bag into the fridge and becomes a stock of some sort. Can't stand to waste food!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. Stale bread. I put it in the food processor and make crumbs. These go into meatballs, meatloaf, treacle tart, and any other recipes that call for crumbs. I keep them in bags in the freezer for when I need them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Kagey

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Toast bread crumbs in a pan with a bit of butter and top pasta!!! I like it best on a white sauce type pasta.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: scuzzo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Great idea. And I think there was a recipe not too long ago in the NY Times for pasta with breadcrumbs and chorizo, and I think chickpeas, if I remember correctly. Must dig that up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: scuzzo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Buzz up some dried mushrooms in the food processor add it to the breadcrumbs, toast it all up and toss over braised leeks. YUM!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: scuzzo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    My mother used breadcrumbs instead of flour to line cakepans. She even made a lovely walnut cake that uses breadcrumbs instead of flour. And of course she made her own breadcrumbs, as do I.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Kagey

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    My grandmother (and later my mom) used to save the heels of loaves of bread and freeze them. When she had "enough" they came out and were thawed, then spread with butter or margarine and some garlic salt and baked in the oven to go with spaghetti or chili. Each slice was cut into about 3 strips, and we always called these "gramma specials". Since we were 5 kids who ate a LOT of sandwiches, there was no shortage of these. Im sure if I looked in my mom's freezer today (she now lives alone) I would certainly find a ziplock bag with at least a few of these bread slices in it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Kagey

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      stale bread is also good for making french toast. The bread doesn't fall apart when you soak it in the egg mixture.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Smileelisa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Stale bread is good for bread soup (with stock, tomatoes and lots of herbs) and bread pudding (try with a sweet coffee-brandy sauce). Stale baguettes make great French toast - crispy outside, almost custardy inside, and can also be sliced and toasted for bruschetta.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        My only problem is that in my climate bread goes moldy before stale.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          If you left it open in the fridge, it would probably dry out with no mold? Or just toast it?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. I love my beet greens. In the spring, when the beets are too small to be picked, but the row needs to be thinned, I bring home the greens and cook them up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Are tough, thick stems/stalks from Kale an underutilized treasure? No one has mentioned using them yet. They are much tougher than chard stems, so I'm not sure I'd be inclined to use them the same way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      How would you use them if you had them on hand? I snapped the leafy parts of my Kale last night, but I have a couple dozen tough stems left over.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks for any suggestions;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      11 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: phoenikia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yes! The beet greens! I'm disappointed if I have to buy beets with no greens. Fortunately, my garden and my CSA usually supply me with plenty. I was thinking about the kale, too. That's one thing I do toss, but would be interested to hear "uses" for them. Would they be too bitter for stock?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: phoenikia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            if you are stir-frying your kale, or using in soup, or whatever, cut the leaves off of the stems, chop the stems small, fry the stems with other veggies, add the leaves later. exactly as if it was chard, just need a bit longer to cook if the stems are huge. adds some celery-esque texture to the dish or side veg and you use the whole vegetable. i don't use kale in stock, but would add chopped stems to a soup's mirepoix and finely chopped/shredded leaves at the end, just before serving, as if it was fresh spinach (but will need a few more minutes to cook than spinach). i would leave kale leaves out of any soup i was freezing or making in advance-- when a soup with kale is reheated it can seem "muddy" so it's better to add the leaves shortly before serving.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks for your suggestions re: the kale stems. I'll give it a try tonight;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                What a fabulous thread..I learned so much! Thanks!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Just wanted to thank you for your suggestion to fry the kale stems first. I just made a Coconut and Kale soup that used up all my stems. I fried the chopped stems with some other veggies (onion, garlic, carrot and jalapeno) in olive oil until softened, then added the other ingredients. Just before serving, I blended the soup with my hand blender. Turned out great!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: phoenikia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    !!! Coconut & Kale soup???!!! Can you please post recipe??? Sounds so intriguing! Thanks!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Val

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Coconut & Kale soup- this was based on http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/is...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2 tablespoons olive oil
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1/2 onion, chopped
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1/2 cup chopped carrots
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 clove garlic, minced
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 jalapeño pepper, seeds removed, finely chopped
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 bunch kale, tough stems finely chopped (I had about 1 1/2 cups of chopped stems), leaves washed well and chopped
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 cup cooked rice
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3 cups water
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1/2 chicken bouillon cube
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1/2 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Limes, cut into slices to serve with the soup

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      In a large saucepan, heat the oil over moderately low heat. Add the onion, carrots, kale stems, jalapeno, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent and other vegetables have started to soften, about 5 minutes.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Stir in water, kale leaves and bouillon, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered about 20 minutes. Use a handblender to puree to desired consistency. Add the coconut milk and cooked rice and heat through.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I had cooked rice on hand, but you could easily add uncooked rice when you add the water, and bouillon, but you should then also increase the amount of water.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I served the soup with slices of lime on the side. Found a squeeze of fresh lime juice really brightened it up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: phoenikia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      awesome--glad it worked for you :) the soup sounds delicious btw & i'll print a copy of it, so thanks back at you

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: phoenikia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    When I'm boiling/steaming large, curly kale with thick stalks, I chop the stalks crosswise and add first, cook 5 minutes, then add the leaves.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: phoenikia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Ditto on the beet greens. I use them for a salad borrowed from A-16 Restaurant in SF. I bake the beets ala Alice Waters (foil-covered baking dish, a bit of water, beets. Bake at 350 for (she says 1 hour but I don't like them that squishy - which they get if they're not huge) for 30-40 minutes (start checking at 30 mins.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Cool, slice and dress with vinegar, olive oil and crushed garlic. I sometimes put the greens in with the beets and bake/steam them all together. Other times I steam them separately. Chop beet tops into salad-size pieces and mix into the salad. Outstanding!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. One time I went to a pig farm and had them butcher a pig for a hawaiian style pit roasting. There was a group of asian men that were asking everyone for the organs and blood. They had a huge cooler full of them they had gotten for free because people were throwing them away.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. The crowd that gathers here most likely wouldn't do this. But I've been to lobster fests where so many people ate only the claws and the tail, leaving the bodies for the gulls. I've been known to pan-handle around for leftover lobster bodies, much to the embarrassment of my family. There's lots of good stuff in those bodies!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Pat Hammond

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The tenderest, sweetest lobster meat is in the body above the tops of the legs. Once you learn lobster anatomy, you can bend the interior piece and push the meat out with a fingertip. Don't put on any butter or lemon juice. It's too good to do anything but eat it just as it is.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ditto for crabs, by the way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: KRS

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I agree. For me the real treasure is the lobster's liver, i.e. tomalley. I don't turn up my nose at lobster roe, either! It sounds like we get our money's worth from a lobster, KRS!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Pat Hammond

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Bumper sticker in Maine: Vote for Tomalley, the Greenstuff Party.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              We fry Maine shrimp with the shells on in hot olive oil until chrunchy and eat, shells and all.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Great roughage!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Don't you kinda need stainless steel teeth? If I were smallhearted, I would HATE you people in Maine - ALL THAT LOBSTER! ALL THOSE CLAMS! And I can't get ANY. That's okay, enjoy them and appreciate your good fortune.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I, on the other hand, can eat guacamole in huge portions, whereas most Americans pay a premium for avocados. There are times of the year when people with avocado trees can't give enough of them away! A tree that hung over my last house had avocados as big as FOOTBALLS! One could make guacamole for a whole family. But you had to catch them before they fell off the tree and went splat. There's also a purple avocado here, small as a pear, and the skin is very thin - you can eat it right out of your hand, skin and all. Great on the road.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                When I lived in South Texas, I discovered something that was kind of a biproduct of shrimping. They were called "rock shrimp." They were smaller than a medium shrimp, but with a hard shell like a lobster. A LOT of work needs to be done to remove them from the shells, but once done, you're only minutes away from eating them. I just piled them in a buttered baking dish, drizzled more butter over the top, a sprinkle of garlic powder, S&P, and they would cook up in about 10 minutes in the oven. The taste was something like a cross between shrimp and lobster. They were dirt cheap, too - the shrimpers at one time just threw them out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I live in Mexico now, and don't think they're available here. So sad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Pat Hammond

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Whenever I have dinner at our local seafood restaurant, I ask the server to pack up the leftover shrimp/lobster/crab shells in a doggie bag. If I'm with my family I throw theirs in, too, though this sort of mortifies my sons (my parents, on the other hand, regard this with approval, as they regard all things thrifty). The folks at the restaurant have always been very nice about it. I hope I'm not being inappropriate or rude, but ever since making the wonderful shellfish stock from the Simply Recipes site, I cannot bear to see those gorgeous shells go to waste. I store them in the freezer bags until I have enough, then roast them briefly (to intensify the flavor) before making the stock.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: jhuston

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              shrimp shells? broken crab shells? i hope you give the server an extra tip.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                oh of course! generous tips are good karma no matter what. plus i worked briefly as a server and it was one of the most eye-opening and demanding jobs ever, so i'm appreciative of extra service. it's the crab, lobster, and shrimp shells that I hoard for stock.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. i love the brown, crunchy rice left on the bottom of a non-stick pot after making steamed rice. add a little barley tea, and somehow it just tastes like heaven...you could also use it to make sizzling rice soup.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            chili pepper leaves...great stir fried/stewed in soy sauce, garlic and sugar or made into kimchi...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: soypower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              what do they taste like? (seeing as how it's winter and I can't run out to the garden) are they hot?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: soypower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Do you mean leaves of peppers from the capsicum family? I would be hesitant to eat these--capsicum is in the nightshade family, and relatives such as tomatoes have poisonous leaves.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Egg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  as far as chili leaves being poisonous, i believe you have to eat large quantities to achieve a toxic level of capsaicin...also, the 'poison' is in both the pepper and the leaves...


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: soypower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Chili leaves are definitely eaten in Southeast Asia.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Egg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I should be dead by now then! ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Don't worry about chili leaves. Great in stir fries and my favorite: Corn soup (chicken broth) and Fresh Chili Leaves.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. re: soypower

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Young/newly emerged leaves of mango, coffee, and avocado are edible--the two former can be served with Lao food in rural areas.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I just had my first avocado leaves last week. I've been eaten chokes since childhood, but never tried the leaves until a local grower offered me some. (She's growing them in a green house.) I chopped them up and added to a salad. Very tasty.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  4. Completly agree about the shrimp shells. I keep a bag in the freezer. When peeling shrimp, if I'm not going to be using the shells that night they go into the freezer bag. When there is a full bag then I have the makings for some fantastic shrimp stock.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I do that too!!!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I also keep crab shells in a bag in the freezer so after I eat the crab in the summer I can make crab bisque in the winter!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I love the West Coast!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. DONT THROW A WHEY!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      When pressing yogurt (straining) to make Labneh the liquid whey makes an excellent marinade. The high quality bacteria breaks down and tenderizes the meat. Apparently there is a kind of cheese that you can make from it as well. I heard about it somewhere here on Chowhound.It's called panir.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Out of the range of food use, whey is good for chapped skin as well.Rub it on.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      17 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: fruglescot

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        good thought. i usually toss the yogurt whey.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        panir the same as paneer? if so, you make it more along the lines of labneh, i believe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: fruglescot

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Imagine, something I didn't know about. LOL Thanks FS.... I usually drain about half a large container of plain fat free yogurt...now I can use the whey too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            IS FAT FREE YOGURT, REALLY YOGURT
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            So Gio you're a pressed yogurt lover as well. Much less expensive than purchasing the labn-eh, eh? You are, very well informed by my observations so I'm pleased that I was able to pass on some useful information.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Here is a bit more. I would recommend that you consider natural yogurt over the fat reduced types. Michael Pollan brought the point to my attention at his recent lecture by questioning what exactly is in, 'fat free' yogurt.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I don't mean to pontificate of course. You will be the ultimate decision maker.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: fruglescot

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Frugle.... My yogurt of choice is Stoneyfield Plain Fat Free. Here's a list of the ingredients:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              CULTURED PASTEURIZED ORGANIC NONFAT MILK, PECTIN, VITAMIN D3. CONTAINS OUR EXCLUSIVE BLEND OF SIX LIVE ACTIVE CULTURES INCLUDING L. ACIDOPHILUS, BIFIDUS, L. CASEI AND L. RHAMNOSUS. (I apologize for the caps - I copied & pasted from their site). I'm pretty satisfied with that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: fruglescot

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                i make my own yogurt at home, with skim [aka non-fat] milk. nothing in there but milk!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: dani_k

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Same here. Homemade. Just milk and bacteria - definitely yogurt...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jsaimd

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    question for you both.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    If you use pasturized milk and just milk are you not missing the active bacteria which is, in my mind anyway, the purpose of consuming the yogurt? Should you not add a tablespoon or so of acidophilus?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: The Old Gal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I add a small amount of old yogurt.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: fruglescot

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Italian ricotta is traditionally made from whey, too. The milk is first used to make traditional firm cheeses, the whey is then used to make ricotta, and then the left over liquid from that is fed to pigs. Nothing goes to waste, and those pigs taste really good too...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Gooseberry

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I don't see how whey alone can make any cheese. The solids of the milk are already gone. You're not the first person who said a cheese is made from whey, but I think these are inaccurate assumptions. I looked up panir, which supposedly was made from whey, too, and it is NOT made from whey; it is made from milk, and creates whey.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I've already done this checking for panir; maybe someone else will do it for ricotta? I've never heard of whey that contained enough solids to make cheese out of. Whey is a liquid - the part of milk that isn't fats and solids. If I'm wrong, I'd love to be set right about this, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: fastermx

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I make my own ricottta, yoghurt and paneer. There are two ways to cause the proteins to coagulate. One is to use rennet and the other is to use acid. Ricotta and paneer use an acid based method and that takes almost all of the proteins out - provided you use enough acid. The remaining whey cannot be used in making any 'cheesey' stuff. However, it can be used in cooking. I use it to make bread.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Paulustrious

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I don't know about yoghurt or acid-curdled whey, but if you use the rennet method only the less soluble milk solids are removed. I have personally made ricotta from the proteins in whey left over after making a batch of mozzarella.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Boiling the whey denatures the highly soluble proteins (ricotta means "recooked" in Italian), resulting in a cheese made mostly of albumin, according to Wikipedia. Albumin is the shiny white stuff in eggs, and the goopy stuff that covers fish that's been cooked sous vide. That actually explains a lot.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The Wiki has more info on it if you like:


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: fruglescot

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                OK a Whey question:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Can you freeze the whey to then reuse as a marinade later or does the freezing make the marinading qualities moot?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Cause when I drain off Yoghurt I only do a little at a time as I live alone....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: starlady

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  How about refrigerating it and adding it to the next soup or stew you make? I haven't tried it, though, so I don't know what the result would be. Could you maybe mix it in small amounts with fruit juices and drink it?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Or maybe time making yoghurt to coincide with a meat dish you want to make that same day that requires a marinade. That way, you make the whey and promptly put it over marinating meat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I live alone, too. But particularly because I'm very disabled, I won't make any dish that takes some time and effort without making enough to give me between 2-4 meals, frozen, for later on. After all, it's only a little more effort to make a larger amount, and the payback in meals you only need to reheat is worth it. Whether a large amount or a small one, I'm going to get mighty lame from any labor-intensive recipe. So I make the dish, eat my portion for today, then bag up the cooled leftovers in one-meal portions and freeze them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I got my start doing this with spaghetti. That got me hooked! There are often days when I hurt too much to cook, and those bags of ready-cooked main dishes are things of beauty in my freezer at such times.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I wouldn't try freezing whey. Any of those beneficial microbes it contains would likely be killed. Murphy's law says that only the ones that can make you sick can easily survive freezing. Very likely, whey would spoil in a day or two in the fridge, too. So unless someone knows better, I'd say to use it or lose it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  You know what I ADORE with yoghurt? I mix it with finely-chopped nuts (not quite powdery crumbs), a good dollop of honey, maybe some wheat germ or sesame seeds. Then mix it well and enjoy. Loaded with nutrition, and a joy to anyone's sweet tooth.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: fruglescot

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I love to make my own cottage cheese. I've always hated having to throw out the whey, because I know there's a lot of food value in it. But I knew of no way to utilize it. In a marinade to tenderize meat? Sounds wonderful. For chapped skin, I'd be glad to try it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I looked up panir, but it isn't made from whey; it is made from milk. The whey is still a biproduct of making the cheese. Mexico has a similar cheese, called "queso fresco," meaning it is fresh and unaged. I don't care for it much, especially because it isn't real good at melting as a well-behaved cheese should! But it's also acidy. Feta cheese is similar in some ways, but by being too salty rather than too acidy. I'm no particular fan of either, but I'm definitely in a minority.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Got any great recipes that can use whey? I'd make enough with one batch of cottage cheese to marinate a whole side of beef, it seems. What can I do with the rest of it? I'd prefer edible ones, naturally, to avail myself of the nutrients.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I DO know that many people will feed their whey to their pets, and it's very good for them. But I can't seem to make myself just pour a glassful and quaff it. I need a recipe!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: fruglescot

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    At least if you have a dog - they do enjoy whey.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: algct

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yes - every morning I feed the dog, then go make my own breakfast - usually either yogurt and granola or a smoothie. And the dog sits in the kitchen doorway patiently waiting for his daily allotment of "yogurt juice." :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. GOOD TILL THE LAST DROP
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    On another thread there is a discussion under the heading of "Cooking with Coffee"
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    where several uses for left over coffee come to light. My favourite use for the brown brew is to add it to gravy for colour and flavour.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    < http://www.chowhound.com/topics/497225 >

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. I drink the water from cooked veggies - my family thinks I'm nuts, but it's tasty and surely healthy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Almost all fruit/veggie scraps. Though we live in an upscale suburb where people turn up their noses at dirt or saving scraps, we save it all (as long as it's warm enough to go out/break down. I also add coffee grounds & filters, tea bags and egg shells. The only fruit/veggie scraps I won't add are avocado peels/seeds, mango pits and other large stuff that doesn't break down easily.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Every spring my husband mixes the whole thing together and spreads it over our veggy garden - we have great crops!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: amymsmom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I always save the water from the veggies to use the next day in pasta water or risotto or just to cook more veggies in, and in the summer sometimes to slightly thin gazpacho. never thought of drinking it, though I put soup in a mug often enough why not, right?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: starlady

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I do this too! I often use the boiled water to add to pasta.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I also save the water from boiling dumplings, it's goes quite nicely as a drink with dumplings. I can't take credit for this though, I learned this from a dumpling restaurant chain here in China.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: quirkybeijing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Also the water from rehydrating Dried shitake mushrooms. We throw this into broths, and also use it as a base for soba noodle broth.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: amymsmom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          My mother made and drank something she called "Gunk" every day. She simmered vegetable leaves, onion scraps, etc. for hours, cooled them, refrigerated the liquid and drank a glass a day. She learned it from a Dutch friend of hers whose mother drank it her whole life as well. Friend's mother lived to be very, very old. My mother died when she was in her late 70s. So who knows if either of them benefited from it. She was always trying to get me to drink it. I tried it once and that was enough. No salt even!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Mine made vegetables in the pressure cooker and drank that liquid - under a cup per day, until she was in her 70's. She lived to 91.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: amymsmom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            You're right, it is healthy. But most people just throw out the cooking water from veggies. You CAN save them and use them in soups and stews, but many people wouldn't take the time or trouble.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Instead, I am a strong proponent of steaming. That way those nutrients remain in the food. They cook up faster in steam, too, which saves fuel. If you know what cooked veggies you'd want to serve for the next week or few days, you can steam them all up at once - again saving fuel. Then you have fully cooked veggies for those meals - which is a time saver. I often steam up a variety of veggies all at once - each in a little packet of foil, to keep them from "sharing" flavors that you don't want them to, and also to have a container to use to remove them. Some will cook faster than others, so you can just lift out the foil packages as they finish steaming.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Before I'd use veggie scraps as compost, though, I'd be more inclined to find ways to get them into people - or at least the flavors they still have to offer. THEN into the compost heap!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            If I were able I'd love to have a garden. There's enough land here at my new house, but I have a severe and painful spinal disability - no gardening for this kid. I do grow my own cilantro, because I use it a lot, and it spoils so fast when bought fresh. Since this is the tropics, the soil is loaded with intestinal parasites, and cilantro is almost ALWAYS loaded with them. These nasty puppies can actually crawl right UP on herbs or veggies that grow close to the ground - cabbage is another perennial problem. Make coleslaw without purifying it, and you WILL get sick. Cabbage, celery, lettuce and cilantro - and strawberries - are some of the best ways for tourists to get "the revenge" in Mexico. All of it avoidable if the food gets purified first. We have to purify most of the veggies and fruits that don't have peels and are eaten raw, but most particularly those which grow close to the soil. One day, I'll fill my pot with a sterile soil, so I can grow cilantro that I won't have to purify. Then just pluck the amount I need for that day, and the rest won't go bad on me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. Chicken skins. Whenever I cut up a whole chicken for pieces, I render fat from the skin and save it to make crust for savory pies and tarts. Especially good with whole wheat. (To render the fat, just put the skin in a pan and cook it at medium-ish heat until the fat all comes out as liquid. Give the cripsy skins to the dog as a treat and pour the fat into a jar.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Abby B

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The dog? Give the crispy skin to the dog???? The dog can fend for itself! I'm keeping the crispy skins for myself!!!!! The dog??????

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: moh

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Woof! Sitting up and BEGGING here......

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Cheflambo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I have to agree with the stale bread post, it seems that its almost always thrown out, and yet it is so easy to turn into breadcrumbs. I don't know if anyone has mentioned cheese rinds, such as those from a block of parmesan, yet. thrown into a soup, or even some roasts and braises they add amazing flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: notgreg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    oh yeah (parm rind). that's an old trick and a very good one!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: notgreg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Cheese rinds are an ESSENTIAL part of a good minestrone.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: notgreg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Cheese rinds is a new one to me. Do they dissolve into the recipe?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Tonka

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          They can burn onto the bottom of the pot if you're not careful, but if you get them out in time (after an hour or so) they make a nice pre-meal treat. I cut them into bite size pieces before I put them in, and sometimes when I'm lucky they soften up just right and I leave them in when serving.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Abby B

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I tend to agree with moh here - the dog? When I fry chicken skins, it's to get those crispy rendered skins to munch - if you render virtually all the fat out of them, they're even tastier than pork rinds - and you pay MONEY to have those. These skin rinds taste exactly like the skin of fried chicken. If you don't chow down on them with a touch of salt, as fast as they hit the paper towels, you can use them on sandwiches, in salads, as a topper for almost any vegetable dish - the uses are endless. I wrote to some other posting about this - find it if you want to know how to make them the best way possible.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    To me, the rendered fat is a biproduct - very useful, but I don't use it all that often. But those skin rinds? I can never get enough. Nobody who loves the crispy skin of fried chicken can resist them! And they have a LOT less fat than on the fried chicken, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I've always loved my dogs - not one died before the age of 16 - but sorry, chum, those chicken skin rinds are MINE, all MINE!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Never throw out chicken skins! Send them to ME! I'll know how to pay them due homage.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Abby B

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      While you do that, just add in some sliced onion when rendering the fat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      When the skins are crisp and the onions golden, you can strain the fat off.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Use the fat for chopped liver & the "gribines" like fried pork rinds.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The dog can live on the smell!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. THE CRUST OF THOSE GUYS
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Often the bread you leave in the restaurant bread basket will become dessert for the following day. Successful (read profitable) restaurant management includes providing uses for kitchen leftovers. Ever eat "Bread Pudding"?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. I use my veg water to water my plants in the summer - it has good nutrients in it and is organic (if that is what you buy). Also helps reduce my water consumption a bit. Every drop helps!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. I agree about stale bread, duck/chicken/bacon fat, and broccoli stems, disagree about shrimp shells (see above), I'll add cheese ends (great for soups), and radish peels (recently read about this on a Japanese cooking blog).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: steinpilz

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            What do you use the radish peels for?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: yamalam

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Here are two radish peel recipes (and one udo peel recipe, don't really know what udo is) from that japanese site -- there are many more recipes and the lady also blogs what she cooks daily, it's pretty interesting:


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: steinpilz

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Udo is a tall leafy plant which grows on the banks of streams in Japan.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The stems are cut and used in soups, or the shoots are cooked like asparagus.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    You really are knowledgeable Gio.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Citrus peels- I save enough every month(yes, in the freezer) to make enough marmalade to keep my neighbors friendly...I prefer to keep them seperate, because nothing, I mean nothing, beats grapefruit marmalade... but a mix of clementine, lemon, meyer lemon, orange, tangerine etc is pretty tasty too...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Bunnyfood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                You can use squeezed out lemon halves (after juicing them) & add them to your ongoing preserved lemon jar - great for Mediterranean cooking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                This may work for limes too, I'm not sure, but maybe I'll try to prove the concept.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Anybody hear of preserved limes????

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Jacques Pepin believes there is hardly anything that should get thrown out before wringing out all the flavor first. I take pieces of hard asparagus, outer onion layers, broccoli stalks, herb stalks, etc. and make vegetable broth (or soup base) with them. I make chicken broth with remnants before and after cooking a chicken. The carcass always goes into a pot for stock or soup. Bones may be the most under-utilized items.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                For me, because I do a lot of cooking (and because I have two refrigerators and a freezer) I can save and use all these things that many people feel they must throw out. Since I have a vegetable and herb garden I usually don't have to worry about pesticides and chemicals. When I'm done with veggies they go into my compost heap.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I use good bacon for salads and as flavoring for bean dishes, etc. I save the rendered fat and use a little to flavor food or add a little of it to the oil when I cook cornbread.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                13 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Scargod

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The great advantage of old fashioned French stove (a la Aga) that stayed on 24/7 was that French cooks always had a stockpot simmering on the back of the stove, and any and all peelings, parings, and trimmings went into the pot. More water was added as needed. Whenever stock was called for, it came from the pot. And the pot was never emptied. Well, wait a minute. Maybe every five years. Now that I think about it, I have never heard a French cook brag that their stock is older than that. Guess hygiene has to raise its head some time or another.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  There was a time when I used to keep my own stock pot simmering, but at today's gas and/or electric prices? Hey, pass the box of organic chicken broth! '-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Whenever I see a recipe which says "simmer for four hours" I think the cook clearly wasn't dealing with an old, inefficient stove or my electricity prices. While I understand the benefits of a good, slow simmer, I usually make stock in 1hr30, tops. All the gelatine's been extracted from the bones, and it tastes good.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Although I sometimes dream of having a big fireplace, and just putting a cast iron pot on it, and letting the fire do the work for hours at a time...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Gooseberry

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Tote them ashes! Chop them logs! Of course, if you have a staff... '-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        no staff, except a boyfriend to chop the logs! Although he complains he is overqualified as fireplace-manner, being an automotive engineer....!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Gooseberry

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Stock in 1 hr and 30 mins? All the gelatin has been extracted? WHAT?!?!?!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Next time you make stock, pick up a bone and try to crumble it -- bones have a lot more tissue to dissolve. If they don't crumble, you aren't finished. What does your stock look like in the fridge? Or at room temp? Shouldn't have the viscosity of water... hell, when I braise chicken I usually give it two hours!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mateo21

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Mateo, perhaps I should rephrase it: enough gelatine's been extracted, enough to make the chilled stock stronger than jello in the fridge.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I also tend to use chicken wings, which have a greater surface area so I feel cook quickly (and tend to have a lot of gelatine, in my experience).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I've tasted stock cooked for 3 hours, and for 1h30 - I can't tell enough of a difference to justify the extra time, so I'd say that most of the flavour (to my taste buds, at least) gets extracted in the first 1h30.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Gooseberry

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            When I do stock it bare-simmers for 8 hours... I've never done a test through this period but I have done a 1-2 hr stock and the difference between that and 7-8 hours is substantial, in the opinion of my tastebuds!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I have to admit that I have not done this but I think with today's crock pots or slow cookers, you could maintain on all week and keep throwing scraps in. At the end of the week strain it and use it for a soup base. They are not hot to the touch so you wouldn't have to worry abut leaving them on. The low setting is the perfect simmering temperature.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        My father in law used to be an old army cook, he used to maintain a pot on the back of the stove but I always thought it wouldn't be worth putting in the fridge at night.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: tonka11_99

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I read that it is extremely frugal to use your crock pot, compared to any other type of cooking...perhaps I should be making my stock in that? Then I could start it in the morning and finish it at night--would that work? ...however, the water added at first should probably be boiling...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          You know what MIGHT substitute somewhat for an Aga? It'd be out of doors, though, not right handy in the kitchen. And it DOES sound a bit weird, but it really DOES work.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I read a cool article about how you can make an oven out of 5 bucks of materials: cardboard, aluminum foil, black spray paint and a thick sheet of clear acrylic that can withstand temps up to, say, 250 F.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          And yes! CARDBOARD BOXES. It's catching on to help poor people in other countries, but works best where there are a lot of days of full sunshine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Since I live in Mexico, I know a number of people who are - shall we say, "impecunious." I.e., poor. I'm trying to get some of them to work together to make these ovens. They can cook their ubiquitous frijoles in it, and pay nothing for the cooking fuel. You can even make bread, unless you want it browned. The sun does the cooking. It can cook soups and stews, and keep that kettle of broth simmering all day - as long as the sun shines. But if it rains...goodbye oven.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          BTW, if you love beans, and don't like all the fuel - and time - it takes to cook them, try this. Pick them over, then pour boiling water over them, to cover. Put a lid on it and let it sit overnight. Next day, they'll cook up in half the time. You can even extend it one more day by draining off the water, then pouring fresh boiling water to cover, and cooking them up the next day. After the 2-day treatment, they'll cook up very quickly. I've been spreading this to the Mexican people I bump into, because poor or not, they all love their beans, and nobody likes to waste gas, even if they're not poor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          So I pass it on. You can do it, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: fastermx

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            fastermx, i'm going to try your bean soak method. don't the beans get gassy (i.e., you can see the bubbles on top of the water?)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It was called a pot-au-feu. A pot-au-feu was also a colloquial term for a stay-at-home.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The Chinese have an equivalent called "loo" (I think).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              When you red cook (soy sauce) or white cook items, the cooking liquid is skimmed of fat & kept till the next time. Naturally, over time, the cooking broth becomes more complex.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              There are some older cookbooks which cover this - to mind is the 1000 Chinese Recipe Cookbook.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. Olive brine from green olives and even canned black olives. There's a lot of flavor in the brine. I add the brine from green olives to potato salad dressing, sauces and marinades. Its like adding olive flavored salt. Can you tell I love salt? As an extra treat, I drink the brine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Rhee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              i do the same thing...also use the brine from pepperoncini peppers and the marinade from artichokes. they are great splashed on a salad or slaw...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Rhee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Try adding a little bit o gin with the brine for a pseudo martini.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Rhee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It's usually a race to see which runs out first - the green olives or the brine. Both go into our Bloody Marys. Same with dill pickles.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jennywinker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Along the lines of using leftover brine... I have been taking the brine from dill pickles, and adding thinly sliced zucchini. Let it soak for a day or more, and you get a delicious pickled zucchini! Obviously, other veggies would work as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Rhee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I suppose you could use olive brine to help brine pork or chicken add some brown sugar to it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Rhee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      You could also prepare some of the same veg as you had in the brine, boil them up together and refill the jar. You might need to add a bit of vinegar or other ingredients, but I've never had to. Pickles, olives - anything pickled can be treated this way. I've even short-cutted the boiling up part, and shoved some sliced cukes into an empty, but juice-filled pickle jar. Works.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: fastermx

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Brine, yep. Can make new pickles from old brine, even the sweet & sour kind, or use dill pickle brine to pickle just about anything you care to. If you keep the jar in the fridge your new pickled stuff wil even stay a bit crunchy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        One of my favorites is to use the brine from jalapeños on pizza crust instead of tomato sauce. Add cheese and toppings, bake as usual. Gives a wonderful peppery, vinegary savor without a whole lot of heat. Unique and very tasty!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: fastermx

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          i've put quartered onions into dill brine in the pickle jar. good and crunchy!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. I just recently read that the young tender tops of fava bean plants are edible... wish I had a place to grow them...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I do just about all of the things mentioned in this thread - always have - started the shrimp shell/head thing many years ago when I saw Jacques Pepin do it!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: RWCFoodie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Well then RWCFoodie, you are now in company with a better informed group of chowhounds.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Are you sure you don't have a crumb or two of new information that you could toss us?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: fruglescot

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Hey fruglescot, I thought the info re fava bean tops was pretty good - had never heard that until just recently... I'll put on my thinking cap and see if I can remember any others. These things are so ingrained that they are not even conscious any more - I just do them as a routine. And you're right, I am in better company with a better informed group of Chowhounds - I've learned much about many things over the past 4-5 years from CH!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: RWCFoodie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            This reminded me that onion and garlic tops can be harvested once or twice before allowing them to grow and finish their job. Use the tops in cooking. Garlic greens are really nice to cook with!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. The inedible poured off fat from ham, turkey,whatever for making soap.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. I have a question!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I am trying my hand at growing potatoes this summer and with all this talk of eating beet greens, radish greens, etc. Can you eat Potato greens?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: starlady

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                i wouldn't eat potato or tomato greens-- nightshade family--greens can be toxic

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: starlady

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Green potatoes are poisonous, don't know if this applies to their "greens" though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: steinpilz

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    well it sounds like I won't be trying it anytime soon then LOL
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Something I learned about potatoes last year while spending some time on a farm.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    When harvesting potatoes from the ground, when you go to wash them put them in a sink full of water, the ones that sink aren't edible!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    They could have been left in the ground from last year or whatever...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: starlady

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Potato leaves contain high levels of oxalic acid, same is true for rhubarb leaves, that's why you rarely see them on the stalks except maybe at a farmers market.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I see alot of the stuff here that I do. Here are a few of my favorite "saves"
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Cilantro stems and roots, cleaned well in a pot of black or pinto beans
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Broccoli stems use for a broccoli puree soup. When they are soft from cooking run thru a food processor
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Rosemary stems, after removing leaves save the woody pieces for skewers for chicken pork etc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      lots more....just can't think at the moment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: tastelikechicken

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sweet potato greens however are tasty. We got some at the farmer's market last summer. I think they're primarily used by Asian cultures.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: steinpilz

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Potatoes, tomatos, and eggplants are members of the solanine (sic) family. The leaves are toxic!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The fruits are not.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Europe had a major problem when these plants were brought back to the Old World from the New.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      If you note, only the poor countries at the time were eating potatoes (Ireland), tomatoes) and eggplant (Italy and the rest of the Mediterranean region) whilst the more northern countries watched.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Green tomatoes - OK! Green leaves - good luck!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. re: starlady

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Growing up in Oregon we had the most wonderful huge garden. I remember that my Dad planted potatoes. We harvested small red and baby potatoes. But I do recall after he used the fork to pull them out of the dirt, he layed the potatoes on burlap to dry for some time. How much I don't remember.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      This year, as an experiment we cut up a couple of russets with some eyes and planted them. The greenery was huge and grew quickly, but after 4-5 months we were so impatient abd dug them up. There were perfect little potatoes on all the roots. About 6 potatoes per plant. I think it's defintely doable but ever so important to learn the facts about toxins and eating green potatoes. I have never heard that the plant part of the potato is edible.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: starlady

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        That's what I've heard, too, that they're - if not poisonous, very close to it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Here in Mexico, people use mostly what Americans call "new potatoes." Thin, pale tan skins, and much moister inside. They're good, but getting a truly fine russet potato here has been touch and go. These potatoes I get do have green under the skin - or on it. I realize that the green contains the same "poison," so I cut it off. Not to stay alive, because you'd have to consume an astonishing amount before the green could kill you - but because it adds bitterness. I think the green in the leaves is more toxic than the green on the spuds themselves.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I would take the advice and NOT eat the greens of tomatoes, potatoes or any other plant in the nightshade family. We may want to think that all leaves should be edible and good for humans, but that's not - quite - how it turned out. A note in Mother Nature's "suggestion box" might help, but I wouldn't hold my breath. There ARE some plant leaves that really CAN kill you, so don't get too fast and loose with eating just any kind of greens.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: fastermx

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The leaves etc are not good for you. They stems are not even used as animal feed. (At least they weren't in my part of the world)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. parm-reg cheese rinds. great for flavoring soups (and then remove them).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: malabargold

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            what do you do with pineapple peels?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            i've been eating a lot of them recently but can't imagine what to do with all of those spiny peels except maybe squeeze a little bit of of juice

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: jpmcd

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Haven't tried it myself, but according to a Dole website, it's good for things like rough heel skin! Then again they haven't been growing pineapples on Lanai for quite some time. In case you're curious

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: jpmcd

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                You can make pineapple vinegar with them a la Diana Kennedy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: jpmcd

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Tepache is a Mexican drink made from pineapple detritus. I think it has been discussed on chowhound a few times.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Well, with a bow to the esoteric and the arcane, how many of you have been saving your onion skins to dye your Easter eggs? Tomorrow's the day. Unless you don't celebrate Easter until April 27th.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                11 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  We do the onion skin dye every year! A couple of years ago I figured out to boil the onion skins in the water the night before, rather than trying to cook the eggs with the skins. I save the water overnight and the scoop out the skins and cook the eggs in the morning. The resulting dye water is a lot stronger and the eggs don't get over-cooked.