Use It or Lose It

Salvaging as much of the cabbage that she can

Uh, sometimes you let your cabbage sit too long in the fridge and the outer edges turn a color you don’t want to identify, so you have to pull out your sharp paring knife and get to paring away said outer edges.  Well, maybe not you all, but this is what you do if you’re my aunt, an octogenarian who has lived through some lean, tough years when you don’t let a few brown dried out leaves stop you from your next meal.

No, I don’t want you all to ignore those suspicious white and brown spots on your various produce and foodstuffs that’s been sitting around too long in your pantry because that could be dangerous, and, besides, you’re not in war-torn famine ridden Korea nor are you turnip-digging defiant Scarlett O’Hara of the war-torn famine ridden South.  You are just you in 2012 needing to be careful about the freshness level of your food.

But I cannot lie, I forget about produce in my fridge, left to rot and morph into the brown and slimy creature from the Black Lagoon aka the veggie crisper, and then I feel guilty about having wasted perfectly good food, especially when I think about the hard times my family endured growing up in a country that’s known more than its fair share of strife and struggle.  But no matter how remorseful I am about that bygone spinach or radish, I won’t cook with any produce I can’t vouch for––who wants to be hugging the Porcelain Goddess all night long?  Okay, not me.

However, I don’t shy away from using the “rejects” in my cooking.  A good example would be using the stems that you cut off shiitake or cremini mushrooms in a soup stock (sometimes the stem of the shiitake is a bit tough to chew).  Or if you’ve culled the leaves off your bionic bok choy (I just learned that Shanghai bok choy is the smaller, greener cousin) to use in a soup and are left with just the stubby stalk:

What you're left with at the end of the day...

But that stalk will be good for a tasty kimchi so go ahead and keep those bok choy, swiss chard, and broccoli stalks that you won’t put in your soups and pasta dishes and kimchify them!  You can use the recipe from the March 1st post, JUST MAKE IT YOURSELF: KIMCHI or apply your own fermentation expertise.  It’ll be like you’re recycling!

Hey, all this talk about not wasting food makes me think of the Frugal Gourmet guy who was on  public TV a while back.  I don’t remember what actually made him frugal––maybe he used a lot of beans?

Oh well, how I do digress…

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One thought on “Use It or Lose It

  1. Pingback: Search Terms: Not Lost in Translation | DIY Korean Food

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