By Shaun Daniel, Sustainability Resource Center
Spilt milk may be nothing to cry over, but a cut up onion is different. And maybe you shed a tear for those parts of the onion—the root, stem, and outer skin—that are just too course for that Sunday morning scramble.
If you are an apartment dweller like I am, you probably don’t have access to a compost pile. Even with indoor vermicompost, garlic and onion generally aren’t to the tastes of those hard-working little red wiggler worms. It’s not as if you’re going to throw those ends in the fridge for a cheese and onion sandwich either. What’s one to do?
Somewhere along the line I learned from other radical homemakers a way to make full use of all that veggie goodness: Save it for broth.
You’ll need a zip lock bag or other freezer appropriate container (Mason jars work!). Then, just gradually collect and freeze those veggie scraps until you’ve got a big batch—kale stems, carrot tops (not this one), and garlic skins included. Definitely leave out bits with mold.
When you’ve scraped together all those scraps, throw them in a big pot with three quarts or so of water and a couple of bay leaves. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 40 minutes to an hour until reduced by half. Separate out the liquid with a fine mesh strainer and use the resulting broth as the base for a soup, adding other seasonings and ingredients to taste. Here’s a nice Meatless Monday recipe to test it out.
You can even compost the soggy leftovers if you have a pile; though, again, not in a worm bin. Don’t worry the wigglers!
But wait. There’s more… What about fruit scraps?
My worm bin is how I take care of apple cores and banana peels, but citrus rinds will unfortunately burn the worms if given in much quantity. Poor little Eisenia fetida. If you have a sunny windowsill or hot radiator (or even a proper dehydrator), you can dry those orange peels and the like to use for tea. People will be impressed.
Cheers to being scrappy.
This article is part of a series to focus on fun, practical tips for leading a more sustainable life. If you have any tips of your own to suggest, email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shaun Daniel is a graduate student in Environmental Humanities and a graduate assistant in the Sustainability Resource Center.