Fridge foraging: Eat your shoots and leaves

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Those tops and tails you’re tossing onto the compost pile or (shudder) straight into the bin? They’re worth their weight in mealtime gold.

PARMESAN HEELS


For the love of umami, stop tossing those Parmesan heels! Tossed into home-made stock they add intense, moreish depth of flavour and, covered in olive oil with a couple of garlic cloves, they make just about the best Parmesan-infused oil you never knew you needed drizzled over roast spuds.

Try: Barley risotto with beef broth and Parmesan rind.

MIELIE COBS


Those naked mielie cobs have some life left in them yet. Run the blunt side of your kitchen knife along their lengths to “milk” them into a bowl, then use the liquid to bump up the flavour and creaminess of polenta, home-made creamed corn or veggie risotto. The dried cobs are also great for smoking ingredients, imparting a sweet, mellow flavour.

Try: Baked eggs on polenta.

VEGGIE NUBS


While they might not be pretty to look at, those tops, tails and cores left over after veggie prep are waiting to show you what they’re made of in vegetable stock. Pro tip: make your own veggie stock “granules” by dehydrating the odds and ends in a low oven (about 60°C) for around 6 hours, then blitzing in a food processor until powdered and mixing with seasoning, dried herbs and spices.

Try: Versatile veggie stock.

FRUIT PEELS


Squeezed lemon and lime halves make great chopping board scrubbers. If you haven’t zested them, the peels can be chopped finely and added to sugar to make a zesty sweetener (dry them in a slow oven to prevent clumping). And those apple and pear peels? They’re great for fruit teas. Jamie Oliver apparently fancies a steep of pineapple peel, grated turmeric and fresh ginger.

Try: Genius banana skin cake with avo frosting.

BEETROOT AND CARROT TOPS


Why bin those beetroot leaves when you can use them just as you would spinach (sautéed with onion, garlic and lemon zest)? Carrot tops deserve your love, too. Wash and dry, then blitz with nuts, garlic, hard cheese and oil for a peppery pesto.

Try: Millet risotto with celery leaf pesto.

WILTED HERBS


Is there anything sadder than those handfuls of wilted herbs in your crisper drawer? It doesn’t have to be the end. Soft, leafy herbs can often be revived with nothing more than an ice bath and, if not, the flavours are still there. Blitz with olive oil and strain through muslin cloth to make delicious herbed oils.

Try: Roast cauliflower with parsley oil.

Discover more recipes featuring leftovers here.

TASTE Article by: TASTE

The TASTE team is a happy bunch of keen cooks and writers, always on the look out for the next food trend or the next piece of cake.

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