Friday, January 26, 2007

Reusing your vegetables

On Wednesday, I made a big batch of vegetable soup. Carrots, onions, celery, potatoes, tomatoes, and broccoli were the main ingredients, but I also used two large vegetable bouillon cubes, leading me to throw away two cube wrappers, and bringing me one third of the way to having a small bouillon cube box to reuse. A small contribution to the week's half-bag of garbage, sure, but today I've taken a step toward eliminating even that. I used the scraps and peels from the soup vegetables and a few others that were ready for the compost heap to make my own vegetable stock.

I sort of knew this was simple, but having tried it I can now officially say: Making your own stock is really easy. I just threw the scraps into a pot, covered them with water, added a few spices and salt, and simmered for about an hour and a half. I got about 12 cups of stock from this--the equivalent of a box of vegetable bouillon cubes. It's a small victory--probably an hour's worth of work to save a few dollars and the small amount of waste generated from that small box. But I am excited to be getting an extra use out of something on its way back to the earth. I'm freezing the stock tonight, and the soggy scraps are headed to the compost tomorrow. Another bonus: the boiled scraps should take up less space in the bin and take less time to break down into worm food.

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