By Bernie Bell
In these times, when the public are strongly advised to go out to shop as infrequently as possible, we want, we need to waste as little food as possible.
The trimmings from our veg, don’t usually get ‘wasted’ as such, as they go into the compost heap, which goes into the veg patch, to help to produce more veg. That wonderful cycle of life, decay and life.
These days, Mike uses every little bit of the veg, when cooking, hearkening back to the war years, when folk were told not to be ‘squander bugs’.
When he boils veg, he keeps the water, rather than straining it down the sink. He then puts the – washed – veg trimmings into this liquid. It can be the tops and tails from green beans, courgettes and carrots – tough broccoli stalks, the pith ( but not seeds! ) from peppers – anything goes!
Also, this time of year, our last year’s garlic are starting to get a bit sprouty, with green bits in the middle. The green bits taste nice, but they can be a bit – fartulous! However, used in moderation, they do add nicely to the flavour of the brew.
So, Mike puts the trimmings in the water the veg was boiled in, boils it all up again, and, when cooled, puts the resulting mixture into an airtight container and puts it in the ‘fridge to be used as needed. It doesn’t last long, 2 or 3 days, but, after straining out the ’bits’, it makes a tasty stock for use in risottos, gravy and, of course, soups.
If you steam veg rather than boiling it, just boil up the trimmings in water and you get a similar result, not quite as flavour-full as water that has had veg already cooked in it, but nearly as good.