‘Use it up’ Scrap Soup

By The Urban Nanna

When the crisper in your fridge hasn’t been living up to it’s name, and you have a bunch of wibbly veg, soup, stock or stew is how you can limit food waste AND end up with a delicious meal.

Today, we cleaned out the fridge and the bottom drawer of the freezer, and made creamy Thai pumpkin soup, so that’s what the recipe calls for, but read the Notes underneath to see all the other changes you can make to use this recipe for whatever you have on hand.


What was old from the fridge:

– A dejected wombok

– half a wizened apple

– half a sagging onion

– a hairy carrot

– the ghosts of 4 spring onions

– a wrinkled green chilli

– the end of a malleable lemon

– the altogether flexible stem and barest tufts of broccoli florets

What was old from the freezer:

– some jubey minced ginger

– a scrawny stick of lemongrass

– the stumps of 3 coriander plants

– 5 brittle and freezer-burned makrut lime leaves

– 4L of homemade stock (made using fridge scraps another time)

What was new:

– 2 tiny ‘ugly’ pumpkins at $0.49/kg from the grocer

– 2 teeny garlic heads from this years harvest

– a nice fat onion and carrot from the grocer


  1. Softly fry the garlic, onion & ginger in coconut oil
  2. Add everything else, peeled, trimmed and chopped appropriately
  3. A Leave it to simmer with the lid on for a few hours
  4. Remove the lemongrass & lime leaves
  5. Attack it with a stick mixer or chuck it in the blenderA


* If you don’t have a big soup pot, you can make a roasted version by basically slow roasted everything in a big tray on 150C for hours and then blitz it in a blender at the end along with some stock.

* Most root veggies work well in soups like this: carrot, turnip, swede, celeriac, Jerusalem artichoke, even beetroot if you fancy a borscht flavoured soup. Other veg that work well are celery, cabbage, potato, sweet potato, zucchini, capsicum, and tomatoes.

* If you’re using pumpkin, don’t throw anything away! The skin can go into a tub in the freezer for making stock in the future, and the seeds make delicious alternatives to croutons: just fry them in some oil with salt and pepper until crackly and just starting to pop.

* Some type of allium is great for adding a flavour base. Think onions, shallots, spring onion, leek, wild onion grass, garlic.

* Including a bit of fruit – like a saggy baggy apple or super soft pear – adds a sweetness to the soup. Great way to get kids on board.

* Experiment with different herbs and spices to jazz up your scrap soup. Ginger, lime leaves, chilli & lemongrass add a Thai flavour, and you can even mix through some coconut cream/milk at the end to make it super creamy. Ground cumin, turmeric, and coriander add a more middle eastern flavour. Bog-standard curry powder or paste can take you towards Indian or Malaysian flavours. Or go basic with a bay leaf, some thyme and black pepper.

* Choose an oil at the start which complements the flavour you’re going for: olive, coconut, sunflower, canola, butter, sesame – they’ll all work.

* Dried mushrooms, especially porcini, shiitake and oyster, add a beautiful deep umami flavour, as do sun dried tomatoes, so chuck some in at the start if you have them. Same goes for ham hocks: we saved our Christmas ham bone and added that once – it was delicious!

* Ladle cold soup into glass jars (just 3/4 fill them so they don’t kersplode as the liquid expands on freezing) and whack them in the freezer for easy meals in the future.

Permaculture Principle 1: Observe and interact; 3: Obtain a yield; 5: Use and value renewable resources and services; 6: Produce no waste; 8: Integrate rather than segregate; 10: Use and value diversity; 11: Use edges and value the marginal.

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