Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Eat Your Garbage

I am not kidding. What many consider to be garbage - the portions of food that we throw away - are perfectly edible, good and nutritious parts of the food we pay for!

I'm not talking about leftovers, (although leftovers are sometimes treated like garbage) but I'm talking about things like those green leaves left on the radish bunches, and the center core of a cabbage. No. I am NOT kidding. Those are not only edible, they're good and they're good for you to eat, cooked or raw.

Radish leaves are loaded with minerals and vitamins, just like any other dark green leafy vegetable. They're tangy, and although sometimes a little fuzzy, they add zing to your salads. You can also cook them, but it takes a lot to make a serving, so if you don't want to put them in a salad, add them to spinach or other greens when you cook them. You can dehydrate or freeze them, too, if you want to stockpile them until you have enough to eat as a separate dish. Just don't throw them into the garbage; you bought them. Because they tend to go bad faster than the radishes, it's a good idea to eat or process them otherwise within a day or two of bringing them home.

Cabbage cores? Delicious raw! Slice or dice them into salads or stir frys. Or eat them just like they are, with a little salt if you like. This was always a treat for whichever kid was in the kitchen when Mom used the last of the cabbage. (She was kind enough to share!)

Sure, there's more:
Any time you peel vegetables like carrots or potatoes, or trim vegetables like celery or onions, scrub them first, then freeze the peelings and trimmings until you have a gallon or so. Put it all in a pot of water and cook until everything is done, then strain the solids (then you can put them in the garbage, but the compost pile is better) and use the remaining broth for a soup base. It's excellent also for a hot drink when you have a cold or don't feel well otherwise. Add a little salt to bring out the flavor and serve hot.

It's no secret that you can eat broccoli stems, and you'll even find them in the grocery store in the form of "broccoslaw." It might be a secret, though, that you can add the small, tender leaves found on the stems as well as those on cauliflower. You can eat cauliflower stems as well. Peel stems from both vegetables to remove the tough outer covering. You can eat all of this raw or cooked. A really good soup can be made by cooking peeled, sliced stems and young leaves of both plants, then adding some diced ham and enough cheese added to make the water opaque. No garbage here - it's an elegant soup.

Do you like sunflower or pumpkin seeds? Then you'll enjoy squash seeds, too. You can eat the seeds of any winter squash. Toast them just like you would pumpkin seeds. Wash, soak in salt water overnight and toast in a slow oven until dry and very lightly browned. Or melt butter and mix into the raw, clean seed, sprinkle a little salt and toast them slowly in a skillet on the stove top.

Apple or fruit jelly can be made from the peelings and cores that you throw away! Just use this garbage the same way you would whole fruit. Cut away any bruised or bad areas and cook in water until tender. Strain, and use the juice in any jelly recipe to finish. (Be sure to wash the fruit well first if you intend to use the peels.)

And now for the super frugal tip: Wash empty egg shells thoroughly and drop into a half cup of vinegar. Let it set until the shells are completely dissolved, then use the vinegar however you normally would. Egg shells are mainly calcium, so you get a nutritional boost.

Garbage? No way. It's good nutrition and frugal good sense to eat what others throw away!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Frugal remedies for minor health problems

What happens when you get heartburn? Or a headache? Or a sore muscle? Do you reach for the medicine you bought? Or do you reach for a natural and cheap remedy that you have in your pantry or kitchen cupboard?

Frugal remedies for minor health problems can save you a ton of money over time and keep you healthier over all, too.

For instance, many headaches come from tension. What to do? Remove the tension. A self massage can do wonders at times. Zero in on back and neck muscles and massage any that are painful. Lie down on your back and concentrate on relaxing those areas. (Hint: Tense a set of muscles and hold it for a count of seven, then relax while counting to seven.)

Other headaches are caused by sinus pressure. Try breathing steam for a few minutes and then use camphor or  eucalyptus to continue opening the sinus cavities.

Vinegar does wonders for a headache!

And then there are tummy aches. Indigestion and heart burn are among the most common complaints and if retail sales are any indication, we buy more antacids than any other OTC medicine. Skip them and use these five top indigestion remedies.

Sore muscles can be relieved by a vinegar or epsom salts soak. Or use a hot pad on them. Sleep can relieve aches and pains, so take a nap.

See? They're all frugal and safe. And they work.