And celery tops, and fennel fronds, and onion ends, and all the other parts of vegetables that usually end up in the garbage can. If you have a compost heap, you can always send these less-desirable or attractive veggie bits back to nature. I don’t have a heap—city living usually prevents that—but I took a cue from Lidia Bastianich, my favorite chefs, who rarely throws anything away: I put all these inedible, yet still flavorful, parts of vegetables in a container and froze them for soup greens. Carrot and onion butts, the tough outer cabbage leaves, celery tops—everything that wasn’t brown went into the container.

Good thing, too, because one beautiful week in the fall, I started coming down with a cold. As everyone knows, the only thing close to a cure for the common cold is chicken soup. Fortunately, I had part of a roast chicken left over from the night before, but a bleary-eyed look into my cupboard revealed that I was out of chicken stock. How could I make the soup without that?

Then I remembered the container of frozen veggie bits n’ pieces. I put them in a large pot with a quart of water, a bay leaf, some dried mushrooms, and a few shakes of salt and pepper, and I turned the heat on high. When the water came to a boil, I turned down the heat and let everything simmer, commingle, get to know each other. Hey, weren’t you headed for the garbage at one point? Yeah, but check me out now, putting all these great vitamins and flavor in this soup-to-be.

After about thirty minutes I really needed to get back to bed, so I pulled as much meat as I could off the roast chicken and put the bones in the Crock-Pot. Then I covered that with the simmering stock and greens and turned the heat on low. Back to bed for a nap. Two hours later, the house smelled wonderfully of chicken soup!

The last steps were taking out all the greens and bones with a slotted spoon and pouring the rich, brown-gold stock into a container; that went into the freezer so the fat would rise to the top and be easier to skim off. I picked through the stock ingredients, saving meat and the garlic I’d stuffed inside the roast chicken and discarding bones and such. I skimmed off the fat, added the broth to the meat, potatoes, carrots, and onions I’d saved before, and now it’s all bubbling away in the Crock-Pot. I feel better already!

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