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It’s easy to forget that the vegetable parts that we discard are still vegetable! Roots, stems, stalks, leaves and seeds all have different flavour profiles and textures and can really add something special to a dish. When you think about how much money you spend on food, it makes sense to use as much of the veggie as possible!
Much like nose-to-tail eating has come back in a big way in some of Australia’s best restaurants, root-to-tip eating is becoming more commonplace as well. The advantage is you don’t have to deal with any offal!
So to help you reduce waste and make those veggies go further, we’ve got some tips to help you become a true root to tip believer!
Well, this one’s a little obvious. I’m pretty sure vegetable stock was invented to make use of leftover veggies and veggie cuttings. There are no hard or fast rules with stock. Boil as much as you want for as long as you want and use whatever you want. Peel, stalks, roots, leaves, whatever flavours you like, throw them in. Don’t know what to do with the green stalks on top of your carrots? Stock. Not sure about your turnip.
They’re the crunchy whitish bits everyone chops off and throws away. But they actually have a lot of flavours and are a great way to add texture to salads and stir-fries. Peel off the outer layer and then shred, chop or slice depending on your preference, and treat it just as you would the rest of the broccoli head.
Just like broccoli, you can use the whole of the cauliflower in a variety of different ways. Great roasted.
Leaves and Green Tops
Vegetable leaves like carrot leaves, beet leaves and sweet potato greens can be used in myriad ways. They’re great in salads, chopped up fine and used as a herb, or fried whole in stir-fries or in braised dishes. So instead of buying bunches of herbs next time you need a garnish, have a look at what you’ve already got. Our personal favourite is radish leaves.
Turnip, Potato and Sweet Potato Skins
Peeled your veg and got a ton of loose skin you don’t know what to do with? Add some salt and oil and oven roast them for some delicious oven chips! Or deep fry them if healthy eating isn’t your thing.
Bok Choy Bottoms
You can grow a whole new plant if you play your cards right. Plant the bottoms in some soil and if you play your cards right, you can start growing a new – albeit smaller – plant! Check out our article on how to do this here.
The Whole Herb
Plants like coriander are packed with flavour from root to tip, and they’re all subtly different. For a real punch and crunch in salads, bao or simply as a garnish, chop up the stems and add to your favourite dish. The leaves are fantastic as a garnish or flavour in just about anything from curries to braises to stir-fries, and the roots add a depth of flavour to broths, stews and hot pots that need to be tried to be understood.
So there are just a few ways to make use of the bits and pieces of veggies we usually throw out.
If you’ve got any more tips and tricks feel free to share them with us!