The Most Refreshing Drink You’ll Make in Your Blender All Summer Long

July 10, 2016

If we think about cooking with scraps only as a means of reducing the huge amount of food wasted in our country, it’s easy to get overwhelmed, and think of using scraps as a chore—something we should do, but something that takes effort. In reality, though, scraps are simply food, an ingredient like any other. Just as you wouldn’t want your beets to languish in the fridge, you don’t want your beet greens to either.

Yes, we need to do a better job with food waste. But cooking with scraps doesn’t mean it has to be a big production every single​ time. We don’t always have to use an entire bunch of beet greens or half a loaf of stale bread in one fell swoop. Sometimes it’s okay to make thoughtful use of something small, tooa few tablespoons of pickle brine or, in today’s case, a couple of small fennel stalks, used as a lacy, green garnish for a summery beverage.

Beyondcelery’s Cucumber-Fennel Fizz is highly refreshing, and not the slightest bit cloying, as frozen drinks are sometimes wont to be. I loved the tanginess from the lime juice and apple cider vinegar and went with the option of club soda, so the sour edge wasn’t masked. If you like drinks on the sweeter side, follow her suggestions to top the drink with ginger ale or blend in some honeydew melon. Gin pairs perfectly with the vegetal flavors, but it isn’t necessary if you’re looking for an interesting non-alcoholic beverage.

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However you choose to make it, as hardlikearmour declared, it truly​ is the perfect summer cooler.

Know of a great recipe hiding in the Food52 archives that uses an overlooked kitchen scrap (anything from commonly discarded produce parts to stale bread to bones and more)? Tell me about it in the comments: I want to know how you're turning what would otherwise be trash into a dish to treasure!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • AntoniaJames
  • Risottogirl
  • Lindsay-Jean Hard
    Lindsay-Jean Hard
I like esoteric facts about vegetables. Author of the IACP Award-nominated cookbook, Cooking with Scraps.


AntoniaJames July 14, 2016
Speaking of scraps (to answer your question): though not in a recipe on Food52, Sarah J's question on the Hotline yesterday about the bitter greens in her CSA reminded me of another discussion, quite some time ago, about using stems from greens like tat-soi or mustard greens to make "Chinese preserved vegetable" - that pungent, strong tasting, rather weird looking stuff included in stir-fries in Chinese restaurants serving traditional foods. Here is what I said yesterday, with a link to the original discussion:

Also, for an idea on what to do with any extra stems you may have . . . scroll down the comments in this thread to see the discussion on making "Chinese Preserved Vegetable."
It's essentially lacto-fermented stems and other odd bits. I've used tatsoi-stems, as well as other (not precisely identified) mustard green stems and leaves. It's pungent, spicy without adding chilies, and a great add-in to stir fries, fried rice, etc.! ;o)
Lindsay-Jean H. July 15, 2016
Sounds great, thanks AJ!
Risottogirl July 10, 2016
This sounds delicious but I'll have to arm wrestle the kitty for the fennel fronds. They are her favorite :)