October 2, 2007

What's for dinner?

My mother once told me a story about her best friend, who lived across the street from us when I was growing up. When the woman served dinner, her teenage daughter would take one look at the plate and say "this is garbage!" One night the mother arranged a beautiful plate for her daughter, with a salad of carrot tops, radish peels, and so on, and other "garbage" as the main course. It was all really garbage, artfully arranged on the dish. From what I hear, it did deter the daughter from ever referring to dinner as garbage again, but I have to admire the mother for her patience. I don't think I would have stood for such flak from one of my children. ~smile~

Anyway, today I am making chicken stock. Several days ago we had a roast chicken for dinner, and we saved the bones and stuck them in the freezer. Last night, I made a stir-fry, and saved all the carrot peelings, onion skins and ends, garlic papers, and celery tops, again in a zip-top bag in the freezer. Today I had time and inclination, so I tossed it all into a pot with a handful of parsley and several quarts of water. It's been simmering for a couple of hours now and smells so delicious. It's about time to turn off the heat, let it cool, then strain and freeze the stock for future use.

Just think, it was all made with "garbage".

Not much gets thrown out around here. Besides the obvious things - aluminum cans being recycled for cash, and jars being reused (I gave away boxes full of them earlier this summer through freecycle.org), as well as passing on magazines and outgrown homeschool materials to friends, and reusing cardboard boxes and mailing envelopes - I go much farther. There is no kitchen waste at our house - everything feeds an animal. Dogs, cats, chickens and goats get the appropriate scraps added to their meals. Old eggs, or those that freeze from being stored on the refrigerator's too-cold top shelf, and those that are just too "dirty" to take in the house, are given to dogs and cats, and the dogs even eat the shells. Junk mail and paper are shredded and used as animal bedding. About the only kitchen waste that is thrown away is the daily ration of coffee grounds, but I was just told that they make a dandy face and body scrub, and I intend to try that out.

Did you know that you can use fruit peelings to make jelly? Most of the pectin is just under the peel. I save those scraps in a freezer container, then boil them in water and strain, then use the juice to make jelly. My husband said it's the best apple jelly he's ever tasted. All made from something that most people would throw away. And after I strained them out of the juice, I fed the peelings to the chickens.

Till next time...

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed reading about your environmentally recycling program. I never thought of using vegetable peelings to make stock. I'm going to give it a try.

    Coffee grounds are also great to add to your flower garden. They enrich the soil.

    There's so many uses for everything. I was brought up on a farm and there was no waste there, as all scraps and garbage was fed to the livestock. Great work. I enjoyed my visit.



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