As you clean out your fridge (and perhaps the top of your fridge, too) for this week's Kitchen Cure assignment, are you finding vegetables that look decidedly less perky than that upright stalk of celery? Are you finding a few sad carrots, a wet noodle bunch of celery, brown and dusty parsley? Well, don't throw them out yet. Here are two ways to make good use of even the saddest vegetables.
1. Make stock today! - Throw those vegetables or herbs into a big pot of chicken or vegetable stock. Even wilted vegetables will release sweet, aromatic flavor into a batch of stock.
• Here's a tutorial on how to make chicken stock. Remember, you can make stock in your slow cooker, too, or in a pasta insert for easy cleanup.
2. Freeze your scraps and make stock later. - You can also throw those scraps and wilty vegetables into a big freezer container or bag, and freeze them for a later batch of stock. Keep throwing in celery tops, carrot scraps, sprouting onions, and other vegetables. Then, when you have a chicken carcass sitting around after dinner, it's easy to pull out the slow cooker, throw in the chicken and add your bag of frozen vegetables.
• Here's a great list of vegetable scraps to save, and ones to avoid: Tip: Save Vegetable Scraps for Stock, as well as a recipe for vegetable stock.
The result? Delicious, homemade, and nutritious vegetable or chicken broth that you can use in soups, stews, pasta, or just drink straight up.
Of course, as someone will probably point out, this isn't the highest and finest way of making stock. The finest stocks are made from whole chickens and the best vegetables, right? They're lovingly tended to and skimmed carefully as they simmer. Well, that is true, to a point, but we still think that any sort of homemade stock is better than no stock at all, and if this is your main way of making it, then good for you! It's also a great way to make sure that nothing goes to waste.