Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Don't Throw Away the Liquid from Cooking Vegetables!

While I really see the health value in eating raw vegetables and salads as much as possible, sometimes veggies are just better cooked. I'm thinking about eggplant, zucchini, and greens for example.

In fact, some veggies are even more healthy when they are cooked. For example, cabbage, broccoli, brussles sprouts and kale contain thyroid inhibiting compounds called goitrogens. Spinach, chard and beet greens contain oxalic acid, which blocks the absorption of calcium and iron. Cooking neutralizes both of these negative factors.

But what do you do with the leftover cooking liquid? Here is what's left from a pan in which I sauteed onions, rainbow chard and garlic. There's a lot of good stuff in that liquid!

But who wants to drink it??? (There are rare children like Spiderman who eagerly await the liquid from cooking beets as his choice beverage, but I understand he is a rarity. None of my girls want any part of it!)

Don't throw it out! Don't waste the extra nutrients! Instead, you can add the liquid to your store of stock in the freezer or fridge. Keep the stock plus vegetable liquid to steam rice or add to soup, spaghetti sauce, chili or almost any crock pot meal.

I usually have some chicken stock in the fridge or in the freezer. I pour this 1/4 cup of liquid in with it. By doing so, I add extra flavor and nutrients to whatever I use the chicken stock for. The possiblilies are endless!

Note: If you have a pint or quart of stock in the freezer, adding 1/4-1/2 cup of cooled vegetable liquid will not defrost the stock enough to cause a problem. If you are adding more than 1/2 cup, you may want to just freeze it by itself in leftover yogurt containers. Just think ahead to pull it out of the freezer before you make rice or soup. Or you can quick-thaw-it by leaving it submerged in a sink of cool water for a bit.

This works for me -- I hope it works for you too!

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Kara said...

What a great tip! I never think to do this, & I really should. I use chicken stock so frequently & I could just add this to it. Thanks!

Mrs. B said...

Thank you! I would have never thought of this. We almost always have stock in the freezer. You could also freeze it in ice cube trays and pop a few in with the rice or whatever your making.