Food & Wine Photo Credit: Gabriel Cabrera

The Ultimate Veggie Rescue Guide

Produce going south? Here’s how to salvage it and keep it from the compost pile.

We’ve already shared six incredible recipes that maximize your fave veggies (Carrot top pesto! Potato skin chowder! Chocolate beet cake!), but in case there are still some leftover bits and pieces, here’s how you can make the most of ’em:

Not-Using-It-Today Produce
If you’re not ready to cook, toss everything—from whole tomatoes to greens—right into the freezer to add directly to soups, stews or chili another day. Just stick them in a plastic bag or container—no prep necessary.

Wilting Greens
Wilting chard, kale and, often, lettuce can be revived by trimming the stems and placing the bundle upright in a sturdy glass of water, like a bouquet, to bring it back to life.

Leaves and Stems
Don’t toss celery leaves and cilantro stems—they have as much or more flavour as the rest of the plant.

Stalks
Broccoli (and cauliflower) stalks are perfectly edible—peel the broccoli stalks and you’ll find a sweet, crunchy pale-green interior.

Leftover Herbs
Wrap fresh herbs in a damp paper towel and store in a plastic bag in the fridge. If you still don’t go through them all, lay sprigs of fresh thyme, rosemary and other woody herbs on a parchment-lined baking sheet and place in the oven on its lowest setting for 2 to 3 hours or until completely dry. Rub the leaves off the stems and pour (use the parchment like a cone) into jars or Ziploc bags to store.

Potato Peels
Roast or fry russet potato peels in about half an inch of oil until golden and crisp; transfer to paper towels and sprinkle with salt. They’re better than any bagged chip.

Scraps
Keep a heavy-duty Ziploc bag in your freezer for scraps you can’t use—onion skins, carrot tops, celery ends and parsley stems can be frozen together and added to a chicken carcass to make stock. Or, when you accumulate enough, cover them with water and simmer on their own, then strain to make vegetable stock.

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