Beginning with this entry and for the remainder of the series I’m going to be sharing with you some practical ways that I build and maintain my well-stocked pantry all the while eating from it daily. These are all things I have done or am doing.
In this entry we’re going to concentrate on leftovers and how I use them to add to my pantry. What! You didn’t know you could add to your pantry using leftovers … oh.my.yes!
Let’s get started, shall we?
1. I save the bones from fried, baked or from deboned chicken … both cooked and raw. I add them to a freezer bag I keep in the freezer. I even add the bones leftover from a meal we've eaten after the chicken has been eaten off the bones. Don’t go ‘eeewwww’ … they’re going to be frozen, cooked, and pressure canned. Nothing’s going to live through that! When the bag of bones is full, I dump it out into a pot of water, add a little vinegar, raw garlic and onions and bring it to a gentle boil. I let it boil gently for 2 – 3 hours then let it cool, strain out the bones and vegetables and pressure can it in quarts or pints. I have also frozen it if there wasn’t enough for a canner full. By doing this I add nutrient rich chicken broth to my pantry.
2. I do the same thing with beef bones … both cooked and raw. By doing this I add nutrient rich beef broth to my pantry.
3. Before we leave broth, let me add that I also do this with raw vegetable peelings … I don’t add the vinegar though. I make sure that I wash the vegetables really well with a vegetable wash. This is the one that I make and use. By doing this I add nutrient rich vegetable broth to my pantry.
4. I make freezer convenience meals by filling up freezer/microwave trays like these with leftovers and adding them to the freezer part of my pantry. I’ve even been known to cook extra so I could add a few freezer/convenience meals to my pantry. I let them thaw in the refrigerator then pop them in the microwave to heat and then eat.
5. I keep an ongoing soup bag in my freezer. Every morsel of food is precious when building up my pantry. Not enough leftovers for another meal … only a tablespoon full left … no problem … I put it in a freezer container/bag and continue to add to it until the container is full, then use it to make a pot of soup or pot pie, or add to a casserole, etc.
6. I use leftover raw vegetables from the garden … you know the ones that get too big such as cucumbers, yellow squash, zucchini, etc or that are left over from a big canning day … maybe I have a cup of raw green beans left. It’s not enough for another canning, not enough for a meal so I stick them in the dehydrator, dry them and then grind them up using a coffee/spice grinder like this one or a food processor/chopper like this one. The end results are that I add the powdered green beans to my ongoing vegetable powder jar. I do the same thing with tomato peelings. I add all kinds of raw/dehydrated/ground up vegetables to my vegetable powder jar on an ongoing basis. What do I use vegetable powder for? I sneak small amounts into meatloaf, meatballs, casseroles, hamburger patties, soup, vegetable patties, etc. Great nutrition from something that usually goes to waste.
7. I use leftover peelings from lemons. I wash lemons in the vegetable wash mentioned above. I zest the lemons then either make lemon extract out of the zest or dehydrate the zest to add to my pantry as dried lemon zest. I add two things, lemon extract and lemon zest to my pantry from the lemon peels.
8. I use leftover orange peelings to make dried orange peel for use in recipes using the same method I use for lemons. I add dried orange peel to my pantry from leftover orange peelings.
9. I use leftover pieces of fruit to make fruit powder just like the vegetable powder in #6. I use fruit powder in smoothies and fruit based deserts
10. I make apple cider vinegar using leftover apple peelings.
11. I make apple jelly from leftover apple peelings.
12. I make peach jelly from leftover peach peelings.
13. I make pear jelly from leftover pear peelings.
14. When I fry bacon, I strain the leftover grease and put it in a freezer container to use for seasoning purposes.
15. When I have just a little bit of buttermilk leftover from a cooking project I pour it into an ice cube tray and freeze it. When it is completely frozen, I pop it out and add it to a freezer container for later use. When I get ready to use it I let it thaw in the refrigerator, stir it up and use as if it were fresh.
To sum it all up, from leftovers I add chicken broth, beef broth, vegetable broth, freezer/convenience meals, lemon extract, lemon zest, orange peel, vegetable powder, fruit powder, apple cider vinegar, seasoning grease, buttermilk, jelly and bags of ingredients for making soup or casseroles. Pretty good for leftovers, don’t you think? To see how I incorporate all these ways in my daily life, join me at A Working Pantry.
Okay it’s your turn, how do you use leftovers to add to your pantry? Your comments are what will make this series more helpful so please share your wisdom.
patsiA Working Pantry
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