My husband and I watched a short video clip regarding veggie scrapings (potatoes, carrots, celery, etc) these are the peelings that most would toss away or put in your compost. The cook in the video stated to store these extra "leftovers' for a week or so, then at the end of the week throw the veggies in a stock pot, with some water, heat/boil for about 30minutes or so and you have a vegetable stock for soups, stews or a liquid base to various meals.
I just thought that was really clever and just never thought about what to do with the scraps of veggies. This video clip was courtesy of ChowTv.
I've been making veg. broth this way for some time now and it's really good. I like the fact the flavor varies depending on what 'scarp' I used to make it each time.
What I've heard though is that you have to be careful about using root veg. peels, especially potato peels, unless you know they come from organic soil. Evidently toxic fertilizer, pesticide and herbicide that have accumulated in the soil over the years are absorbed and stored in the skin, so you really don't want to be using them for your broth making. I don't know if this is true or not, but I'd rather error on the side of being overly cautious than not in this case. Just thought I'd share this tid bit of info with you.
Great source of scraps includes asparagus' tough ends, cabbage core, wilted lettus leaves (this was a surprise to me!), mushroom stems and obviousely carrot's top end. I always throw in some onions, garlic, and ginger (yes, ginger! this adds a punch) to the concoction.
Another use I've found for veggie scraps is to make a seasoning brine for meats. The brine infuses flavors from the veggies into the meat and helps make leaner cuts of meat less likely to overcook or dry out. The basic brine recipe is 3 Tbs. coarse salt and 1 Tbs. sugar dissolved in 1/2 cup water. Add a handful of sliced up vegetable scraps (e.g. onion ends, carrot tops, fennel fronds, etc) plus a bunch of fresh or dried herbs (allspice, fennel seed, bay leaves, thyme). Let it steep for a minute, then add 1 1/2 cups of cold water. Add the brine to your choice of raw meat (pork chops, whole chicken, turkey), making sure the meat is entirely submerged (you may have to double or triple the recipe). Let it sit in the fridge for 1-2 days. Before cooking, remove the meat from the brine and let it rest at room temperature for 20 min.