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The lowly mushroom stem and other underappreciated parts

I *like* the stems.

What do you watch in horror as most people toss, from celery leaves to scallion tops (or bottoms, for that matter)?

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  1. I'm sure I have a lot to learn in this area, but to start, fish heads, beet tops, herb stems, fat from the stock, bacon fat, lobster shells, broccoli stems...

    3 Replies
    1. re: Full tummy

      what do you do with lobster shells? I'm horrified when people throw out all the good parts of the lobster, like that green creamy stuff in the body, etc. (basically everything except the claws and tail).

      1. re: janethepain

        Use them for lobster bisque, seafood stock, etc. You can freeze them till they're needed.

        1. re: janethepain

          the shells can be crushed and used to make lobster oil--incredible on eggs.

        1. re: Cathy

          That's the best part of the artichoke!

          1. re: cheesecake17

            When I was a child - I used to eat only the stem - then I'd disgard the heart!

            (I like artichoke in it's entirty these days!)

        2. pea shells, carrot greens, cucumber skins for starters.
          Why do some folks peel everything, discard edible parts and waste de-licious nature?
          One persons wet garbage is anothers soup pot :)

          3 Replies
          1. re: HillJ

            What do you do with pea shells? carrot greens?

            I'm assuming when you speak about cucumber skins, you aren't referring to the ones that are covered in wax. I usually buy English cucumbers and eat the skins. Same thing for carrot skins, and potato/sweet potato skins!! Drives me crazy when I see people eat all the flesh out of a baked potato and leave the skin on the plate. I am sure that some don't like the skin, but my husband got saddled with a taboo from his mom that the skins were dirty, or some such hogwash.

            Let's add heels to the list, and I mean the ones on each end of a loaf of sandwich bread.

            1. re: Full tummy

              oh the heels of bread is an excellent one, Full T!

              pea shells I clean, chop, steam quick and make a green smoothie
              carrot greens go in salad, soup, stuffing
              organic cukes, no wax
              but wax is removed easily and English cuke skins are super thin no need to peel!
              totally agree on potato skins! Potato skins make delicious chips anyway!

              Let nature be! :)

              1. re: Full tummy

                bread heels in our house were loving referred to as 'the coolie' -

            2. I didn't even know people threw out broccoli or mushroom stems - why on earth wouldn't you eat that?

              the bite of shrimp near the tail that's left inside the shell - just pull the whole thing out!

              apple peel

              potato skin - assuming it's been scrubbed

              chicken giblets

              7 Replies
              1. re: janethepain

                Some people think that, with broccoli, the florets are where it's at. I prefer the stalk part. As you get nearer the base, the skin does get stringy and tough, so that can be easily peeled off.

                Mushroom stems may be removed for stuffing; shiitake mushrooms' stems can also be woody and tough, but they can be retained for stock.

                I always get that little bit in the shrimp tail. Nothing wrong with it.

                What do you do with apple peel? I usually eat it, but what to do with a couple of pounds of peel from making apple pie/sauce?

                Yes, chicken giblets. Use them for stock or gravy.

                1. re: Full tummy

                  I prefer the broc stalk too, peeled and, yes, the bottom cut off.

                  Potatoes, agreed, there's *almost* nothing that should require peeling them.

                  1. re: Full tummy

                    Peels? Well, I haven't tried this, but I bet you could cut them small and roll them in brown sugar or honey and bake them crunchy -- oatmeal/ice cream/cake topping. Maybe simmer them with the cores for pectin. Or make cider vinegar?

                    1. re: Full tummy

                      Here's a thread about what to do with apple peels
                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/620433

                      You folks don't eat the crunchy shrimp tail?

                      What do you do with the fat skimmed from stock?

                      1. re: Full tummy

                        When I make apple sauce, I just quarter the apples, leaving peels and seeds intact, and cook them covered on low heat, possibly with a bit of water to start. Then I run them through a food mill, and what's left is just a tiny bit of pulp at the end, which I compost. But I wish I had pigs to give it to!

                      2. re: janethepain

                        Too funny on the shrimp tail thing jane. I never even knew there was a good way to get that last bit out of there and wasted it for the first 40 years of my life. Then I moved to Houston and became a crawfish lover, and soon figured out that you could pinch that tail of a shrimp just like you do a crawfish and voila!! no more wasted shrimp tail.

                      3. portobello mushroom fins
                        salmon skin
                        pomegranete seeds
                        fish cheeks
                        chorizo fat
                        trigger fish livers
                        coconut milk
                        warm road kill (white tail deer in PA, antelope in WY)

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: Veggo

                          What are portobello fins? The lacy brown soft stuff under the cap?

                          Mmm, salmon skin. Love it so.

                          1. re: tatamagouche

                            The mushroom 'lacy brown stuff' is sometimes called gills, also. I have a recipe that calls for scraping them out. What with cukes, maters, we are eviscerating everything. I couldn't be bothered.

                            1. re: tatamagouche

                              Salmon skin pan fried. I actually only like salmon flesh raw and the skin crisp; cooked salmon pales in comparison to either.

                              1. re: Caralien

                                Same way I prefer salmon and its skin! At least my salmon is at most "medium rare".

                                I'm known to strip the skin off smoked salmon, wrap it in paper towel and nuke until crisp, then serve the crispy skin and raw salmon all together.