“Never consider that you have bread enough around you to suffer your children to waste a crust or a crumb of it. If a man is worth millions of bushels of wheat and corn, he is not wealthy enough to suffer his servant girl to sweep a single kernel of it into the fire; let it be eaten by something and pass again into the earth, and thus fulfill the purpose for which it grew. . . There is not a family in this city, where there are two, three, four or five persons, but what can save enough from their table, from the waste made by the children, and what must be swept into the fire and out the door, to make pork sufficient to last them through the year, or at least all they should eat.” Brigham Young.
Most of us would have difficulty raising a pig in the back yard today, but the principle still exists–do not throw anything away. Plan to use your leftovers. Check your fridge often and use leftovers for lunch when all the family is not home, add them to other dishes you may be preparing, puree them and feed them to your baby.
Keep containers in your refrigerator for leftover milk and vegetable cooking water. Collect the milk from the kids’ glasses at the end of the meal and save it. Even the little bits of milk in baby’s bottles and the bottom of the pitcher which is almost empty. Use this in making bread, gravy, etc. The cooking will completely sterilize it. The water vegetables are cooked in contains important vitamins and minerals. Use it to make gravy, sauces or keep a container in the freezer and use it when making soups or cooking dry beans.
Save the fat from ham and grind it to add to baked beans in place of bacon. Save all your bones and fat from roasts, steaks, even the ones from the plates, in a plastic bag in your freezer. When you have a supply, cook them down to make soup stock. Wash your vegetables before peeling, and then save the parings from potatoes, carrots, outer lettuce leaves, cabbage, celery tops, onion tops, etc. and add these to your soup pot after the bones and meat scraps are cooked. If you care to, you can even add the leftover vegetables from your children’s plates. Cook these well, then strain the liquid and throw away the bones. Feed the vegetable scraps to the chickens, the pig, or make compost to enrich the soil in your vegetable garden.
Season and use as bouillon or any way you would use vegetable cooking water. Use vegetable stock to cook brown rice or dry beans. I haven’t tried it yet in bread, but I don’t know why it wouldn’t work.
Okay, for those who want a recipe to follow, here is a good one:
Basic Vegetable Stock
This stock has optimum flavor when used within 2 to 3 days. It may be frozen for up to 3 months, but there will be some loss of flavor. Some cooks find it convenient to freeze stock in ice cube trays.
- 8 cups water
- 8 cups coarsely chopped misc. vegetables.
- 2 medium onions, coarsely chopped (include skins for a darker stock)
- 1 to 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped (optional)
- 3 large carrots, cut into 3 to 4 chunks
- 4 large celery ribs, cut into 3 to 4 chunks
- 1 to 2 parsnips, cut into 3 to 4 chunks (makes stock sweeter)
- 2 bay leaves
- Small bunch fresh parsley stalks
- A few sprigs of fresh thyme or oregano
- OR 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or dried oregano, optional
Pressure Cooker Method:
Place water in the cooker and begin bringing to the boil as you prepare and add the remaining ingredients, except the salt.
Lock lid in place. Bring to high pressure for 10 minutes. Allow the pressure to come down naturally. Otherwise, reduce pressure with a quick-release method. Allow the stock to cool slightly. Pour through a strainer into storage containers. Press the vegetables against the sides of the strainer with a large spoon to extract all of the liquid. Add salt, if desired. Cool and refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 3 months.
Heat all ingredients to boiling in a large soup pot Reduce heat. Cover and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Turn off heat and allow the stock to steep (soak) on the warm burner as it cools. Strain vegetables, as above, and pour into storage containers.
Potential Candidates for the Stockpot:
- asparagus, broccoli and chard stalks
- bay leaves or a few pinches of dried herbs
- bell peppers
- corn cobs and inner husks
- celery, parsnip, and carrot chunks, peelings and trimmings
- garlic (including skins)
- onions (including skins), leek greens and roots, scallions (including root ends)
- kale stalks (for a strong, distinctive flavor suggesting cabbage)
- peeled sweet potatoes, apples, or pears (for a slightly sweet stock)
- potatoes and potato skins (be sure to remove any green spots; skins will make the stock darker)
- sprigs of parsley or other fresh herbs; parsley stems
- tomatoes or lemon slices (for a slightly acid stock)
- turnips (peel them to avoid bitterness)
- wilted celery, lettuce, and watercress
- winter squash (avoid waxed peels)
Use strong vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, turnips, rutabagas) sparingly if at all.
Yield: 2 1/2 quarts
Source: “Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure” by Lorna J. Sass