General care gardens

Stem to Root Gardening – Learn more about waste-free gardening

When we prepare our vegetables at home, most people reduce production by removing leaves, vegetables and peels. In some cases this is a big waste. Using the whole plant can almost double your harvest. The practice of using every part of a plant is called “stem to root gardening” and allows you to garden without waste.

So which vegetables without waste can be used in their entirety? Read on to find out more.

What is stem to root gardening?

Composters use the plant debris to feed next year’s crop, but if you really want to maximize your yield, think twice before you cut those turnip or beet tops and throw them into the compost pile. Turnips and beets are just a few of the virtually useless vegetables that exist.

The practice of using every part of a plant is not new. Most ancient cultures used not only all the game they hunted but also the vegetables they harvested. At some point, the idea of using the whole plant went out of fashion, but the current trend towards sustainability and environmental management has meant that not only gardening, but also stem-to-stem gardening has become fashionable again.

Waste-free gardening not only saves money by doubling the amount of products available, but also offers a greater variety of flavours and textures that might otherwise be overlooked.

Types of vegetables without waste

There are many vegetables that can be used in their entirety. Some of them, such as vine peas and pumpkin blossoms, have become popular with chefs. Be sure to use only the male flowers of the pumpkin; let the female flowers become the fruit.

Thinning seedlings can be painful because, basically, thinning means throwing away a potential crop. The next time you need to thin your vegetables, cut them up and put them in your salad. You don’t have to spend money to buy these expensive vegetables at the supermarket. When carrots need to be thinned, wait as long as possible and then thin them. Small carrots can be eaten whole or marinated and the tender green can be used as parsley.

The upper part of root vegetables, such as turnip, radish and beet, should not be discarded. Chopped and fried turnip leaves are a delicacy in Italy, Spain, France and Greece. The spicy and slightly bitter leaves are withered and served with pasta or fried with polenta and sausage, mixed with eggs or stuffed into sandwiches. Radish leaves can also be used in this way. Beet leaves have been eaten for centuries and are full of nutrients. They taste similar to chard and can be used in the same way.

A large part of the world is in love with young pumpkins, zucchini and winter squash. It’s time for Westerners to embrace the idea of eating the tender, crunchy leaves with a combination of spinach, asparagus and broccoli flavours. They can be fried, blanched or steamed and added to eggs, curries, soups, etc. Let’s face it, pumpkins tend to invade the garden and are often re-cut. Now you know what to do with the tender ends of the vine.

Like squash blossoms and vine peas, garlic flakes have become popular with chefs, and for good reason. Hard-banded garlic produces garlic in the form of delicious edible cocoons with nuts. Harvest garlic leaves in early summer. The fleshy stalk is crisp like asparagus, with a similar green flavour and a hint of chives. The flowers have a texture and flavour similar to broccoli. They can be grilled, sautéed, fried in butter and added to eggs.

The bean caps are sweet, tasty and crispy, and are excellent raw in salads or cooked green. They are one of the first leaf crops in spring and are delicious incorporated in risottos, on pizzas or wilted in salads. Even yellow onion blossoms, blackcurrant leaves and okra leaves can be eaten.

The skin is probably one of the most wasted parts of vegetables. Many people peel carrots, potatoes and even apples. You can add the skin of all these vegetables with the grass stems, leaves and base of celery, the tips of tomatoes, etc. to make a delicious vegetarian broth. What is the old saying? Don’t waste, don’t want.

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