Cooking with Food Waste (Spring)

My kids harvested quite a lot of radishes and green garlic from our CSA farm this past week. They were so excited about the process it was hard to limit their picking. Once we were home though, we got to work figuring out just how to use the bounty before us.

For the green garlic, we decided to make a green garlic soup with the bottoms of the plants. Much like leeks, green garlic tops are fibrous and unenjoyable to eat, but they are also flavorful and full of nutrients. We had a whole pot of green garlic tops to use after they were separated from the bottoms. Not wanting them to go to waste I used them as the base of homemade vegetable broth. I’ve made broth many times before, so I just added veggies and water to the pot rather than using any particular recipe. I tossed in some carrots and onions that were past their prime, the roughly chopped green garlic tops, some parsley stems, a few bay leaves, and some celery that had frozen in the fridge. I also opted to add cumin seeds and coriander seeds. This addition made the stock have a flavor that would pair nicely with Indian cuisine (my favorite!). I labeled and froze the stock to use in future Indian dishes.

For the radishes, we separated the radishes from their tops and washed them both thoroughly. We made a double batch of radish top pesto, using some for dinner and freezing two small jars for future dishes. The flavor of the pesto was different from what you would buy in the grocery store. It was more peppery and intriguing, a delightful way to appreciate the unique flavors of spring. The radishes were then used for eating fresh as well as pickling to be used as a sour and refreshing condiment.

I’ll admit, using up all of that produce took quite a bit of work, but I am very proud to say that none of our CSA harvest went to waste. Using up every bit of food takes patience, practice, and creativity. It also takes grace when things don’t go according to plan. But it is a fun and rewarding experience, and it opens your kitchen up to new flavors and creations you may never have experienced before.