Saturday, May 28, 2011

Homemade Vegetable Stock

I love making my own vegetable stock! Store-bought stock is expensive, not to mention full of sodium, gluten, etc. Even the organic stocks can have undesirable ingredients, and they are even more expensive. I make stock often and always have some on hand in the freezer. I use it for soups/stews/chili, gravies/sauces, many slow cooking recipes, and even to add a  little more flavor when I'm cooking vegetables, brown rice, quinoa, etc. It's so rich and flavorful (just look at the picture above!) and ridiculously cheap.

Vegetable Stock 

Step 1: Whenever you cut up fresh vegetables, rinse off the parts you would normally toss away, put them in a gallon zip-top bag and keep in your freezer. Examples of what I save are the ends of onions, scallions, bell peppers, egg plant, bok choy, radishes, celery, green beans, parsnips, carrots, zucchini and asparagus, parsley and any other herb stems and mushroom stems. You can even save the peels from apples, pears, sweet potatoes and squash. If there are things I know I won't use up before they go bad and can't/don't want to prep them for freezing and using later, I will chop and add those to the bag as well.

Step 2: When your bag is full, add it to a 4 qt stock/soup pot or Dutch oven, along with three crushed cloves of garlic and a tsp or so of black peppercorns. NO SALT! ;) You can always add a couple chunked fresh carrots, celery stalks, scallions or some sprigs of parsley (or even dried), but I haven't found it necessary, I always get lots of flavor in my stock without it. If you use a pot larger than 4 qts though, you may need it. You could also add 1/4-1/2 tsp of dried herbs you like or even some fresh ones, but I like to keep the flavor rather neutral since I never know what I might be using it for.

Step 3: Add cold water to the pot, up to about an inch from the top. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer on low heat for about 30 minutes, remove from heat.

Step 4: When cool enough to handle, place a colander over a large bowl or pot that will hold all of the stock and pour the stock into the colander. Let drain for a few minutes so that you get as much of that liquid gold out of there as possible. Compost your mushy veggies! :)

Step 5: Pour stock into freezer containers and freeze what you will not use within the week. You can even pour it into freezer bags and lay them flat while they freeze so they take up little room.

COST: Next to Nothing

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