We already know that eating apples with the peel on is way better for you than a peeled apple, but what other parts of veggies that many people throw away should actually be eaten? Check out these ideas for using parts of your veggies you always thought belonged in the bin or on the compost heap.
1. Swiss chard stems
When we prepare Swiss chard, we usually cut the leaves away from the stems and throw the stems away. That’s because they’re harder and take longer to cook. But they’re packed with nourishment, and can be absolutely delicious in stir fries. Just cook them longer-chop them up and add them at the same time as you would add onions into your pan.
2. Beet leaves
Why buy spinach or Swiss chard and beets, and spend money on three different veggies, when you could be eating the beet leaves? They’re full of calcium, iron, and vitamins. People have been eating beet leaves for thousands of years, and they really taste as good as any other leaf vegetable. Cook them, stir them, fry them, boil them in the same method you would cook spinach or kale.
3. Turnip leaves
As with beet leaves, they’re super nutritious, but they also have a distinctive flavor that’s really quite yummy. Try it!
4. Cauliflower and broccoli stem
Apart from being as nutritious as the florets, eating your cauliflower and broccoli stems adds much-needed fiber to your diet. Peel the thicker stems to get rid of the stringy part and chop them into stir-fries, salads, soups, and stews.
5. Broccoli, cauliflower and brussels sprout leaves
Let’s put it this way: they’re all cabbage family, right? So the leaves are not only edible, but can be quite nice, provided you don’t overcook them. Shred the leaves and sauté or steam them just as you would with cabbage. Yummy with cheese sauce!
6. Butternut, squash and pumpkin seeds
Rinse off the pulp, sprinkle with a little olive oil and salt and roast them till they’re crispy. Use them as tasty and healthy snack food, or sprinkle them into salads. They’re also great as a sprinkle on curries.
7. Radish and carrot tops
Lovely fresh radish and carrot tops usually end up in the bin, but they’re actually gourmet foods that should go in your cooking! Try them fresh in salads or cook them. They work equally well when sautéed, blanched or steamed. Use them in soups and stews; or add a little ginger, garlic and olive oil and sauté them as a side-dish on their own.
Tip: Carrot tops taste a lot like parsley!
8. Watermelon rinds and seeds
The rind is one of the most nutritious parts of the watermelon, but eating it raw can be a bit of a challenge, even though it is edible. Try pickling it and eating it as is or as an addition to savory snacks and dishes. As for the seeds, roast them as you would pumpkin, squash or butternut seeds and enjoy them as a snack food. Alternatively, chop them up with the fruit in a food processor and enjoy a healthy smoothie.
9. Mango skins
There are nutrients in mango skins that can help protect you against skin cancer. If you don’t like the texture raw, try blending it into smoothies or else make a delicious snack by oven drying them till they’re crispy.
10. Potato peels
As long as your potato skins haven’t started turning green, they’re good to eat. You can save money by eating your vegetables, so try doing it with the skin on. Keep potatoes in their jackets or peel them and make a crispy snack. Deep fry or oven dry them till they’re crispy. Sprinkle with salt and pepper or spices. Yum!
11. Leek or spring onion leaves
If you’re not already eating your leek and spring onion leaves start now! Chop them up fine and add them to your soups and stews. Spring onion leaves are also good in salads, and they add a beautiful, dark-green color to the ‘look’ of your salad too.
Take a look at these yummy and quick recipes and try one for yourself:
- Stir-Fried Swiss Chard and Red Peppers via nytimes.com
- Beet Green Gratin via foodnetwork.com
- Spicy Skillet Turnip Greens via addapinch.com
- Spring Rolls with Shredded Broccoli Stems, Vermicelli and Red Pepper via nytimes.com
- Velvety Carrot Soup with Carrot Top Pesto via myrecipes.com
- Potato Spring Onion Curry via werecipes.com
Remember, a great meal should always be shared with your family and friends!
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