HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >

Vegetable Offal ... do you partake?

ipsedixit Oct 18, 2010 04:52 PM

This article about secondary edible parts of vegetables [http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/ex... ], got me curious.

Besides the main part of a vegetable, do you use any of the secondary parts -- or what I'd like to think of as "vegetable offal"?

For example, I will often make a salad from the leaves of sweet potatoes, and if I can get enough of brocoli leaves, then I'll do the same.

In fact, sweet potato leaves are great. Blanch the leaves, mix together some soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, diced garlic, chili flakes, a dash of sugar, some salt and white pepper to taste, then combine all of it with the leaves, and refrigerate overnight and you've got yourself one mighty fine dish to wash down even the driest bowls of white rice.

What about you?

Do you partake of vegetable offal?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. s
    small h RE: ipsedixit Oct 18, 2010 05:46 PM

    Squash seeds, broccoli & cauliflower stems and leaves, beet greens, celery leaves, pea shoots - check. I've tried eating mature carrot & radish greens, but I don't find them very palatable.

    4 Replies
    1. re: small h
      tastesgoodwhatisit RE: small h Oct 18, 2010 07:25 PM

      I adore beet greens when I can get ahold of them. Celery leaves are very tasty in salads - my husband made one with shredded pomelo, celery leaves and rice vinegar that was very nice. I'm currently trying to find some taro leaves to make pau pau.

      I actually like chayote squash leaves more than I like the squash itself. They're called dragon whisker vegetables in Chinese, and they are fantastic blanched and used in salads. Pea shoots are really good too, but I wouldn't consider them offal because they have to be grown specifically for that purpose, which is why they're so expensive.

      Things that I don't eat, but are edible, generally get thrown into the stock pot.

      1. re: small h
        pdxgastro RE: small h Oct 19, 2010 09:08 PM

        +1 for the cauliflower stems. Do you find that they give you bad breath?

        1. re: pdxgastro
          small h RE: pdxgastro Oct 20, 2010 05:54 AM

          No, not at all. But I could see how they'd be hard to digest for some people.

        2. re: small h
          BananaBirkLarsen RE: small h Dec 3, 2011 03:11 PM

          Absolutely squash seeds, broccoli and cauliflower stems and celery leaves! I've never tried beet greens or pea shoots but I bet I'd like those as well.

          I once used some corn husks to give a chicken stock a lovely sweet taste.

        3. i
          Isolda RE: ipsedixit Oct 18, 2010 06:31 PM

          Love beet and kohlrabi greens. Also love garlic scapes. I have used carrot greens in gumbo z'herbes, but am not sure they add anything, since there are so many other greens in there. Like small h, I also enjoy pea shoots. Our WF sells them for a small fortune. Broccoli stems are delicious shredded, blanched, and then tossed with brown butter and toasted walnuts. I think they are the sweetest part of the broccoli and since everyone else in my family eats only the florets, there is more of the good stuff for me.

          I have never had sweet potato greens. I'm guessing you get them from your CSA or grow your own sweet potatoes?

          6 Replies
          1. re: Isolda
            ipsedixit RE: Isolda Oct 18, 2010 07:01 PM

            I have never had sweet potato greens. I'm guessing you get them from your CSA or grow your own sweet potatoes?

            From the garden (or my mom's garden anyway).

            I'm going to start and try to cook up some broccoli leaves -- I'm bet those are nutritional powerhouses. Maybe I could sautee them with some sweetbreads ... I can call it "offal-offal" like they do with "piri piri" ....

            1. re: ipsedixit
              mamachef RE: ipsedixit Oct 21, 2010 12:17 AM

              that's the offal-lest sounding offal dish i've ever heard of!! : )

              1. re: ipsedixit
                brokentelephone RE: ipsedixit Oct 21, 2010 02:03 AM

                There is a milkshake drink sold by the Newport Creamery chain in RI called an "awful-awful" which sounds far more appetizing than your version LOL

                1. re: brokentelephone
                  al b. darned RE: brokentelephone Oct 23, 2010 06:02 PM

                  Haven't had one of those in YEARS!!! They really are "awful big and awful good."

              2. re: Isolda
                mollyomormon RE: Isolda Oct 19, 2010 10:41 AM

                I must try that with the broccoli stems, it sounds fantastic!

                1. re: Isolda
                  morwen RE: Isolda Oct 22, 2010 08:25 PM

                  Kohlrabi greens are a great substitute for grape leaves when making dolmade or for cabbage leaves for stuffed cabbage.
                  Raw broccoli stems make a mighty fine coleslaw too!

                2. b
                  brooklynkoshereater RE: ipsedixit Oct 18, 2010 07:28 PM

                  I love salting and toasting squash seeds, watermelone seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc.

                  12 Replies
                  1. re: brooklynkoshereater
                    bushwickgirl RE: brooklynkoshereater Oct 19, 2010 05:18 AM

                    Watermelon seeds?

                    1. re: bushwickgirl
                      funniduck RE: bushwickgirl Oct 19, 2010 05:54 AM

                      When I was kid, I used to love sucking the salt off of watermelon seeds. Bushwickgirl you can get them in most Asian grocery stores....

                      1. re: funniduck
                        ipsedixit RE: funniduck Oct 19, 2010 10:10 AM

                        Yup ... love the stuff.

                        1. re: funniduck
                          bushwickgirl RE: funniduck Oct 19, 2010 01:02 PM

                          I have never seen these in an Asian grocery store, or maybe just didn't know they were watermelon seeds. Will ask next time I go.

                          1. re: funniduck
                            Eric in NJ RE: funniduck Oct 20, 2010 05:24 AM

                            It's almost impossible to find a watermelon with seeds anymore, all they sell here are the round seedless ones.

                          2. re: bushwickgirl
                            BamiaWruz RE: bushwickgirl Oct 19, 2010 10:54 PM

                            Yep, they are popular in the middle east. Try a persian market.
                            My grandma made her own, she toasted and then froze them to give them out to everyone in the family when she visited. Smuggled them over the boarder from southern Iraq to north. They are yummy !

                            Traditionally we also make jam out of the rind of the watermelon, i think it's the white part. It's sort of candied. Pumpkin and carrots are also turned into jam.

                            1. re: BamiaWruz
                              bushwickgirl RE: BamiaWruz Oct 20, 2010 04:30 AM

                              Yes, pickled or candied watermelon rind I've had and like. When eating watermelon when I was a very young kid, my mom used to tell me that if I swallowed the seeds rather than spit them out, a watermelon would grow in my stomach, thereby putting the fear of watermelon seeds in me.;-)

                              1. re: bushwickgirl
                                BamiaWruz RE: bushwickgirl Oct 20, 2010 01:01 PM

                                Ohhh I see, well either way these are totally washed and roasted like pumpkin seeds, so they're pretty much dead.
                                I heard of someone who years later sneezed and a watermelon seed that he had choked on once came flying out of his lung. Freaky!

                                1. re: bushwickgirl
                                  hotoynoodle RE: bushwickgirl Oct 20, 2010 10:01 PM

                                  the watermelon tree, much like the chewing gum tree, in my stomach has thankfully grown at a myopic snail's pace since i was a child. :)

                                  1. re: hotoynoodle
                                    bushwickgirl RE: hotoynoodle Oct 21, 2010 12:18 PM

                                    Funny, and mine as well apparently.;)

                                    What I really want to know is, how do watermelon seeds taste, aside from the salt, similar to squash or sunflower or what seeds?

                                    1. re: bushwickgirl
                                      BamiaWruz RE: bushwickgirl Oct 21, 2010 08:58 PM

                                      They have a slight sweet taste, but the edible part is very very small and flat, it's nothing compared to a pumpkin seed. They are a lot harder to open too because they are flat, small and the shell is hard. Sometimes people who didn't know how to shell them would just chew the whole thing then spit it out.
                                      They don't taste like pumpkin seeds at all, I think.

                                      1. re: BamiaWruz
                                        bushwickgirl RE: BamiaWruz Oct 22, 2010 11:13 AM

                                        Ok, thanks. Sunflower seeds are very popular in NYC and I see lot of people just chew mouthfuls and spit. I like to split them open individually between my teeth, time consuming, but a little more genteel.

                                        I'll keep an eye out for them, next time I'm in an Asian store.

                          3. greygarious RE: ipsedixit Oct 18, 2010 07:59 PM

                            This topic was covered ad nauseam here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4959...

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: greygarious
                              Altarbo RE: greygarious Oct 19, 2010 01:18 AM

                              I think it would take a _lot_ of celery leaf (in place of spinach or lettuce) sandwiches before I get nauseous from it. I'd probably explode before then.

                              Tis another interesting thread tho.

                            2. JungMann RE: ipsedixit Oct 19, 2010 07:19 AM

                              Chili pepper leaves are an edible, bitter green. I use them in soup. I love the stems of broccoli and peel them before either steaming or adding to a stir fry. Vegetable peelings can also be used to make stock, but I have to confess that I almost never make my own vegetable stock.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: JungMann
                                ipsedixit RE: JungMann Oct 19, 2010 10:02 AM

                                Speaking of broccoli stems.

                                While most of us know that the stems can be peeled and eaten raw, or lightly steamed, have you ever tried eating the "rough skin" of the broccoli stems themselves?

                                Bear with me here for a minute. Peel or cut off the rough outer skin of the broccoli stems, then boil them until they are fork tender (can take a while depending on the thckness of your skins). Take them out and let them cool, then run them through a blender, strain with a cheesecloth or one of those "Asian spiders" used for noodles or dumplings, and you've got what I like to call "nectar of the jolly Green Giant" (ho! ho! ho!)

                                1. re: ipsedixit
                                  JungMann RE: ipsedixit Oct 19, 2010 12:27 PM

                                  Actually that reminds me that I've had broccoli "guacamole" at some health food place in Chicago that was terrific. I think it was made from the stems, though I've had no success in recreating the recipe.

                                  1. re: ipsedixit
                                    eight_inch_pestle RE: ipsedixit Oct 21, 2010 01:18 AM

                                    That sounds intriguing, but what's the work-to-reward ratio? If it's something really good I could see setting aside a tupperware in the freezer to collect a sizable batch. Otherwise that sounds like some involved and messy work for what, maybe a quarter cup of nectar?

                                    1. re: eight_inch_pestle
                                      ipsedixit RE: eight_inch_pestle Oct 21, 2010 04:42 PM

                                      Yeah, it's not much. Unless you've got alot of broccoli stem skins, not something you'd want to do.

                                2. mamachef RE: ipsedixit Oct 21, 2010 01:35 AM

                                  I mentioned this thread to my husband and he said, now you've found a new one: "compost cookery." : )

                                  1. mollyomormon RE: ipsedixit Oct 23, 2010 04:49 PM

                                    I have some beautiful baby carrots from the farmers' market. Any thoughts on what to do with the greens?

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: mollyomormon
                                      ipsedixit RE: mollyomormon Oct 23, 2010 07:15 PM

                                      Chop them up finely (dice 'em, essentially), then use either some pine nuts or walnuts and make a pesto out of them.

                                    2. s
                                      spm RE: ipsedixit Dec 3, 2011 01:52 PM

                                      I need to inform the uninformed that there is some "vegetable offal" that may be poison. For instance the nightshade family...potatoes, tomatoes and peppers. I wouldn't blindly experiment on the greens and flowers if truth be told. Know what you eat.

                                      1. greygarious RE: ipsedixit Dec 3, 2011 07:12 PM

                                        I bought a large bunch of Brussels sprouts on the stalk at Trader Joe's for a ridiculously cheap price. After snapping them off the stalk, I looked at the green spokes that grow perpendicular to the stalk and steamed one. Tasted like broccoli stems. So I cut them all off, sliced into half-inch lengths, and steamed until tender, which took longer than steaming the sprouts themselves. I added them to the gratin I was making. I hacked into the stalk and saw that it had a green and fairly tender core, surrounded by a very tough skin. I had tossed it out before reading that you can pressure cook the stalk, after which it is easier to peel down to the broccoli-stem-tasting core.

                                        Show Hidden Posts