I’m having so much fun discovering all I can do with what normally winds up in the trash ! Well, my trash anyway. Please share any recipes and ideas you may have to use up the leftover parts of your fruits and vegetables .
Summer is on its way and that means fresh corn on the cob will soon be at all the markets. I’ll freeze as much as I can of local corn while it’s available too, so I turn out a lot of naked cobs that usually just get fed to neighboring animals , composted or just tossed away . Turns out the cobs are quite useful.
Have you ever heard of or tried corn cob jelly ? It’s delicious ! It has a unique “corny” taste – almost like “corny honey” . It’s sweet as all jelly is , but it’s flavor is just different enough the guests you serve it to will ask ” Wow, what is this?” .
- 12 large corncobs
- 4 cups water
- 1 package (1-3/4 ounces) powdered fruit pectin
- 4 cups sugar
- Cut corn kernels from cobs and reserve for another recipe. In a stockpot, place corncobs and water; bring to a boil. Cook, uncovered, 10 minutes.
- Discard cobs; strain liquid through cheesecloth. Liquid should measure 3 cups. Add additional water if necessary.
- Return to stockpot and stir in pectin. Bring to a full rolling boil. Add sugar and bring back to a boil. Skim foam and add a few drops of food coloring. Transfer to covered jars; refrigerate up to 2 weeks.Yield: 5 cups.
If you like to preserve , you can go one step further and process the jars to enjoy over the winter.
Fennel Stalks and Fronds
Fennel is another favorite herb, vegetable? It’s actually both . Several types are grown for their bulbs and others grown more for their fronds. I’ve always used it as a vegetable using the bulb only , but now I use the entire plant – bulb, stalk ,and fronds no matter what variety I have on hand!
- The stalks resemble celery stalks in texture and crunch, so you can add them raw to green salads or cook them down as you would an onion into quick stir-fries, pastas, or braises. Toss them into the roasting pan when you’re roasting the fennel bulbs.
- As for those fronds? They have a mild anise flavor, but because they’re so delicate and beautiful they’re most often used for garnish. As long as you chop them away from the stalks and keep them in an airtight container, they should last about one week in the refrigerator, so you can continue sprinkling them on salads, finished vegetable dishes, or just about anywhere you find could use some color and bright flavor.
- Fennel Seed is used in all sorts of wonderful dishes and also in pickling ! So , if you grow it , let some go to seed and collect it for your pantry. Fennel seeds are very expensive at market.
Believe it or not , many salad greens (especially mustard greens ) and leaves of all sorts are easily roasted into amazing chips . You may have heard of kale chips. They certainly have become all the rage. Cauliflower leaves will also get delightfully crispy , not quite a chip, but they taste so decadent .
Simply toss your washed and chopped leaves in a little olive oil making sure you don’t saturate them, and place on a baking sheet in a single layer. Roast at 375 for about 20 minutes, and check for crispiness . Pop back in the oven for 5-10 more minutes if you feel they aren’t quite the way you would like them.
If you have enough of them you could serve them as your vegetable side dish !
Pineapple Rind and Core
What the heck do you do with that?
There is always so much waste after cutting up and enjoying your fresh pineapple. The crown , if it’s a nice green one, can be used to grow another pineapple plant. Super easy to do , but it will take a few years to actually grow a pineapple. The plant looks great on a porch or patio though , even without the fruit. Cut the crown off , and peel down the bottom leaves. Leave it out for a two or three days to dry and then just plant it bringing the potting soil up to the leaves. Plant in a large pot,one big enough that you won’t need to transplant it for a while or directly outside if you are in a warmer zone and don’t have to worry about winter freezes. It will need lots of sunshine , and be careful not to over water. That’s it! You will start to see it really take off after about a month. It makes a great ,easy to care for houseplant.
Another discovery for me ! You can make a delicious tea with the rinds and core. Place everything in a stock pot along with a knob of peeled ginger, cover with water, and bring to a medium to low simmer. Simmer for 25 minuets then cover and let steep for another 25 minuets – then strain.
Serve your tea warm , or I think it’s best over ice !
What have you done with some of your under appreciated produce parts ? !