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Making the Most of Each Harvest

July 21st, 2015

One of the things I find myself doing is trying to maximize what I can grow in the garden. I don’t like to waste anything, particularly things I grow. The result has been a lot of creative ways to use up things that might otherwise go into the compost, like broccoli stems.
broccoli stems 1
broccoli stems 2
I used to peel them and cut them up, then I started putting them in my mini food processor and dicing them finely. Then I make slaw with them or blanch and freeze them to be added to soups or sauces. I really love doing this because it essentially doubles my broccoli harvest. These shredded bits are particularly good in the curried broccoli soup I love to make.

Do you have any great tips for maximizing your vegetable harvests?

7 Comments to “Making the Most of Each Harvest”
  1. louisa on July 21, 2015 at 7:47 am

    This year I’m only growing mange tout peas to maximise the amount of the pea harvest that we eat but in the past we’ve used our pea pods for pea pod soup. I keep meaning to use broad bean pods in a similar way too, though haven’t tried it yet.

    We don’t grow much broccoli but when we do, I use the stems finely or julienne peeled in stir fries.

    We also use squash flowers in cooking to get something out of the plants while the fruit are still growing.

    And of course, we turn all our scraps into eggs :)

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  2. PennyAshevilleNC on July 21, 2015 at 8:05 am

    THANK YOU I got tired of peeling and chopping the stems by hand and then not using them up as quickly. This way I can peel and chuck into the food processor. I love it, you saved me time and extended my dollar :)

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  3. Nebraska Dave on July 21, 2015 at 8:14 am

    Susy, wow, what a great idea. Those tough old stems would make for great soup seasoning. I’m not sure that I have a processor that would grind the stems up like that. I might give it a try to see what comes out of the blender.

    Have a great broccoli stem day.

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  4. Myra S. on July 21, 2015 at 8:55 am

    My dogs love the stems so it’s a happy treat that keeps them busy for a while.

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  5. Tonya on July 21, 2015 at 9:54 am

    I seldom plant shell peas because they take up so much garden space and yield more pods for the compost than peas for the table. Last year I saw a recipe for pea pod soup and planted a row thinking the recipe would help ease that frustrated feeling of “I just spent all this time shelling peas and this is all I get to eat compared to this massive pile of pods I’m going to compost?!?!?!” The soup was quite good (although I “beefed it up” with some chopped sugar snap peas) and I felt better about extending the use of the peas. There are many recipes on line. The one I used finished the soup with a dollop of sour cream and some crumbled bacon…..perhaps that’s why it was so tasty?

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  6. val on July 21, 2015 at 11:46 am

    Not that innovative, but I save onion tops and peels, carrots bits, and parsley stems for stock. I even save cilantro stems and mushroom stems for Asian stock.

    Reply to val's comment

  7. Pat in Lincoln on July 21, 2015 at 6:07 pm

    At the end of the broccoli growing season after I’ve had all the benefit of the plants I pull them and take them to the local zoo. Various parts of the plants go to different animals. I understand the tortoise gets the root and tough bottom of the stalks to gnaw on to control growth of it’s beak.

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but just recently moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine.

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