Seeing that I am half Scottish, this latest blog post is a natural for me.
I love finding new uses for things that I used to throw away. My latest goal has been to create as little food waste as possible. Not little waist as possible - that doesn't seem to want to come about. But little waste. Over the past few months I have really tried to use what I have. Not waste anything - or as little as possible. Oh, there are times that it happens. I'll wait too long to use some parsley, or forget about the kale in the crisper. But for the most part I have been really good. This has come about by doing the following.
1. Each week I create a family meal plan, and I stick to it.
2. Each Sunday I purchase food based on that meal plan and nothing more.
3. I try to use up what I have on hand first and eat out of my pantry and fridge.
The results have been this. My food budget is more under control - although it could still use some tweaking. The anxiety of what's for dinner is over. The daily stops at the grocery store has come to an end.
Now I am honing things a bit more by trying to make meals stretch. Getting more than one meal out of one chicken or pork roast. Using up everything. I now make my own broth, something I used to hate doing. But that was because I was always making a turkey broth with some humungous carcass and it was just a pain in the butt. But my weekly broth from a free range bird is a breeze. Or from a small package of chicken thighs. It takes no time at all. Tastes great. I know what went into the making of it - which may gross some of you out. And above all it's CHEAP! Once done, I have left over meat for meals, soups, lunches, salads - etc. Even better, to make my broth I seldom use items from my pantry. Its true! During the week I keep all my peels from onions, garlic, the bottom portion of the celery bunch, the ends of carrots and parsnips, the outer leaves from cabbage etc. in a bag in the freezer. Then, when it's time to make some broth I put the chicken pieces in the bottom of a pot. Add my frozen bag of leftover peels. Add a few peppercorns and a bay leaf. I may add a carrot or two, since I tend to not have too many end pieces (I have a bunny in the house). Cover with some water and brew at a gentle simmer. After 45 minutes I take out the chicken pieces. Discard the fat (sometimes I cut the fat up and put it in the dinner for the dogs), take the meat off the bones and put that in the fridge for later in the week. Then put the bones back in the broth and let it simmer away for another hour or so. Strain out the veggies and bones and discard. Put the delicious broth in the fridge to be used during the week. It's so easy and costs me nothing extra.
The thing is I was purchasing chicken broth every week. Even with coupons and buying it at Stupid Store, I was still spending close to $10 per week on broth (I use a lot). That's $40 per month! Crazy. I stopped. Now it doesn't cost me a thing. I like that. My cheap little heart goes pitter patter at the thought.
My only advise is to make sure that the peels are large enough so that cleaning up the tub afterwards it a breeze. I'm sure there is always a possibility of allergies so if things don't feel right get out. I know for me 15 minutes is about the right amount of time. After that I'll start to feel my calves a bit - nothing too much, just a little warmer than normal. That's my sign that I've been in long enough.
Orange and lemon peels are the best to use I've found. They give the most fragrance and feel luxurious. But I use grapefruit too and lime of course. They're all fabulous.
So there you have it. Bathe in your garbage! Go for it. You'll be glad you did!