What to do with vegetable leavings - especially leeks, chard, fennel?

All afternoon I have been preparing food in advance for house guests. I used leeks, chard, cauliflower, fennel among other things. I was shocked by how much I threw away; the chard stems - the cauliflower leaves, half the weight of the leeks and the fennel fronds. Composting isn't the answer - I am in a condo. What, if anything, can be done with these goodies?

  • Posted by: SKK
  • April 14, 2011


SKK July 6, 2011
I just referred back to this question and want to thank all of you because I didn't the first time. Was at the Farmer's Market today and got the most beautiful rainbow chard and now know what to do with the whole thing.
Summer O. April 15, 2011
I agree - we save all veggie scrapings, chicken carcasses and shrimp shells put them in the freezer and make stock. But what to do with the odd ones you mentioned besides the leeks? I like the cauliflower center sliced and sauteed with a few spices. The fennel fronds I save and use in the same manner as dill, good for topping a salad or veggie tart or a pot pie.
Emily H. April 15, 2011
Another stock fiend over here. Also, Local Kitchen has an awesome idea for chard stems - pickle em! I think it's ingenious.
CSAchick April 15, 2011
never throw your chard stems away! they stay good for a few weeks in the crisper. i collect mine and then chop them up to add to mirepoix. or i saute them with sausage for pasta. they are really excellent!
pierino April 14, 2011
If you were Thomas Keller you would use the leek greens as the basis for bouquet garnie for stocks. Into the greens go bay leaves, whole sprigs of thyme and parsley or other whole herbs. Tie it up with kitchen string.
boulangere April 14, 2011
I'm in the stock camp.
Panfusine April 14, 2011
second that..the central white stem of the cauliflower, I usually make it into a quick relish. peel the outer tough layer & dice the central 'marrow' into tiny cubes or shred & combine with salt, cayenne pepper powder & a pinch of turmeric with a tablespoon of coarsely powdered mustard seeds. heat 2 tbsp of vegetable or olive oil till near smoking & pour over the mix. Spritz with lime or lemon juice as per your preference. one cauliflower stem usually yields about 1/2 a cup.

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hardlikearmour April 14, 2011
Pop the leeks and fennel into the freezer and use the next time you make stock.
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