Eating Trash for Supper

Last night we ate the trash for supper. And we liked it!

No, we haven’t resorted to dumpster diving for our dinner. Let me explain. 

When the pandemic hit, I dove mouth first into the comfort foods — chips, casseroles, baked goods. For some reason I went down a potted meat hole lined with Vienna sausages, deviled ham, and Saltine crackers. If it was sweet, I wanted it. If it was salty, I wanted it more. 

But you can’t live like that forever. 

That’s when I decided I needed more vegetables in my life. 

A good friend turned me on to BDA Farm’s CSA box. It’s perfect for a pandemic because once a week all you have to do is drive up to their truck at the appointed time at the appointed spot. Pop your trunk, say your name out the car window, and a nice person puts a sack of Alabama Black Belt-grown veggies in the trunk of your car. And off you go.

No touch. All good. All fresh.

With an excess of produce, I started cooking more. After all, if you’ve got all these good, fresh vegetables, you have to get creative and use them up! That’s when I realized how much food I actually waste. 

Y’all … if food waste is a sin, I was well on my way to the hot place. But when faced with a situation where it was hard to just run out to the store for more, I started taking a hard look at myself. Actually, I started taking a good hard look at my trash.

If a cherry tomato got a little wrinkled, I would turn my nose up at it. If a green onion looked a little wilted, I shunned it. If I only used half of a bell pepper, the other half usually wound up shriveling in the fridge bound for the garbage. 

Why was I throwing away perfectly good food because it was a little past its prime? Mama’s words rang in my ears. There are starving people who’d be grateful … And she’s right! The luxury to waste perfectly good food because it isn’t perfect is a privilege and one that many, many people don’t have.

So I decided to do better. 

I started putting the wrinkled and wilted veggies in a gallon-sized freezer bag. Then I started putting most of my trimmings and peelings in there too. Basically anything that wasn’t starchy went in the bag — celery, peppers, onions, tomatoes, carrots, herbs, mushrooms. Leaves, stems, tops and bottoms, it all went in the bag.

You know why? Because that bag full of trimmings is basically a bag full of soup ingredients. You can throw it all in a pot with some water, add a little salt, some peppercorns, and a few bay leaves, cook it up for a while, strain it, and you have vegetable stock. Freeze it, and you don’t have to buy box broth.

Which brings us to the fourth thing I’ve learned in 2020 — you can eat trash and like it. Last night, I used my homemade vegetable broth to whip up some vegetable beef soup. With some beef tips, an extra can of tomatoes, and some frozen mixed veggies added in, et voilà! The trash turned into supper.

It was quick, easy, and pretty darn good for scraps. 

  • vegetables in a pot
  • mixed vegetables in a pot
  • vegetable broth in a pot
  • vegetable beef soup in a pot

(This year for #BlogLikeCrazy, I’m talking about 30 lessons I’ve learned in 2020. Read the other entries here).

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