Posts tagged "vegetables"

What can I reuse or recycle to make an aquaponics system?

As I mentioned in reply to Charlotte yesterday, I recently read about the concept of aquaponics and was quickly smitten – another thing for my endless “cool things to do in the garden” list. It’s a good job it’s a pretty big garden.

The idea is that you have a mutually beneficial veg bed and fish tank – the fish dirty up the water with lots of valuable nutrients (poop nutrients = pootrients) which is pumped up to fertilise the gravel-bottomed veg bed. The gravel works as a filter, keeping the nutrients & other gunk to feed the plants while the excess clean water is returned tank to begin the process again. Smaller tanks are probably only suitable for small ornament fish but you can grow your own freshwater swimmers in larger ones – an alternative to keeping chickens in the garden!

Has anyone already played with aquaponics on a small/domestic scale? Did you make your own system or did you buy a ready-made one/components? If you made your own, what did you use?

I don’t think we’ll have the time to build a system for quite a while (so many other things to do first!) but it makes sense to start collecting items we can reuse when we see them – I suspect something to use as a tank will be the most difficult part find – any ideas?

How can I reuse/use up potato peelings?

potatoesI came across the recipe the other day and thought mmm – potato crisps made from potato peelings rather than the potato themselves – the skin contains loads of fibre and it’s usually the tastiest bit of the ‘tato too, so win all around.

Our potato peelings usually end up in the stock box in the freezer – although when we finally get chickens, they might end up in their treat bucket instead (there seems to be some disagreement about whether you can feed chickens raw potato – some say yes, some say no, although everyone says don’t feed them green bits).

What do you do with your potato peelings? They’re a welcome, quick-to-rot-down addition to a compost bin if nothing else. Are there any practical rather than culinary uses for them, like how banana skins can be used to polish leather? I suspect the starchy residue will get in a way for a lot of things but you never know…

How can I use up leftover baked/jacket potatoes?

jacket-potatoSo, the reason for this post and it being posted considerably later than usual is the same thing – we had a bonfire night party last night — great fun but it ended somewhat late for a school night. Prior to Wednesday, it had just been a couple of friends coming around to burn things then play Guitar Hero, then it suddenly became a whole bunch of people (including one six week old person) coming around for food and flames. I, unwisely, decided I’d be able to make two soups and two cakes in the hour-and-a-half I had between getting in from the office and people starting to arrive… Not recommended.

Anyway, alongside the soup, sausages and parkin, we cooked a load of jacket potatoes – both normal white potatoes and sweet potatoes – but not all of them were eaten: we’ve got a GIANT sweet potato left over and four medium size white potatoes.

When I’ve been in a similar situation in the past, I’ve tried reheating potatoes in the microwave but it had less than desirable results. Anyone got any techniques for a more successful reheating? Is the oven the answer?

What about other ways to use up the potatoes? If we didn’t already have two lots of leftover soup, I’d possibly use one or two in there. A mash-topped pie might work too. Any other suggestions?

Interesting Reducing, Reusing and Recycling links

reusable-swiffer-coverThis week’s quick link round-up:

How can I reuse or recycle leftover vegetables AFTER making stock?

making stockWe’ve had another email to Compost This which I’m pulling over here instead. This is from Joann:

Can I compost the mushy leftover veg after I’ve made stock?

Like I said regarding Weetabix, one of the general rules for a basic compost heap is to avoid putting things in there which will attract vermin. Just about all food stuff will rot down to compost, the key is to avoid the heap or non-sealed bin becoming a nuisance in the meantime.

In terms of those stock veggies, I would say a big giant no if they’ve been cooked with any meat, fish, bones or animal fat: the scent will probably cling to them and might cause a problem. If it’s just a veg stock though, it’ll be less of an issue so I’d probably compost them.

Before flinging them though, can they be put to any other ultra-thrifty/non-wasteful culinary uses?

I’ve heard some people keeping back starchy things to use as a thickener for soups or stews. I’ve also heard about people using them as a bulking agent – alongside plenty of meat/fish and grains – when making homemade pet food.

Any other suggestions?

(Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)