On a very hot summer day, Transition Palo Alto joined other local organizations at the Mitchell Park Community Center for the re:Maker Fair. The Fair, sponsored by the Palo Alto Library, brought together skill shares and information tables in the spirit of a Maker Fair, but with a twist: we all showed people how to make things out of things that might other wise have gone to waste, hence re:Maker.
Transition Palo Alto’s table was dedicated to the use of food scraps that might otherwise have been tossed. The centerpiece of our simple table was a guessing game, where we had put different food scraps in brown paper bags. We were amused that some people were nervous to reach into the bags! – did they think we put sharp objects in there? The bags actually contained onion skins, potato peals, carrot tops and celery leaves, and few people guessed them all. Having guessed the contents or not, people were then made aware of what produce we had and were asked what to do with all of them together. The answer, of course, was to add water and to make Vegetable Broth.
We offered them some tips, which we now offer to you:
- Do you know which vegetables and scraps to use in broth? Jennifer’s Kitchen offers a great list of vegetables and suggested uses. For example, onion skins add color, but if you want a nice onion-y flavor, do add a piece of the onion flesh as well. And don’t overdo the carrot tops or you’ll make the broth too bitter.
- The Crisper Whisperer adds yet more tips. Potato peels, and potato of course, make a thicker broth.
We also suggested an easy method of production which had light bulbs turning on over heads:
- Keep a container in your freezer for raw scraps and add to them as you chop your veggies.
- Take out what scraps you need for the dish you are making, balanced for taste – but make a bigger batch than you need for that dish.
- Put the unneeded broth in ice cube trays and freeze them. Dump the ice cubes into a labelled container if you wish. This way you will have small amounts of broth for flavoring side dishes, such as rice.
Of course, when you strain the broth, you will still have scraps for your compost pile. Just fewer of them and with much of the taste and nutrition extracted for your broth.
We had a great time with the Library and hope to join them again at community events in the future. And/or have them join us at their cousin events, our Share Faires.