Friday, February 12, 2010

Home Made Vegetable Stock

I always hated throwing away the unused vegetable scraps acquired through cooking, but we don't have the space or the need to compost, so I felt I had no other choice.

Then I read a comment on somebody's blog about broccoli stems and saving them in the freezer until enough was collected to make soup. Duh! It hit me like a bolt of lightning! I could just save all my scraps in the freezer until enough are collected to make something useful!

That was about three months ago. I was up to 3 gallon freezer bags of scraps when I decided to make stock.

According to my Food Lover's Companion: "In the most basic terms, stock is the strained liquid that is the result of cooking vegetables, meat or fish and other seasoning ingredients in water."

I threw the three bags' worth of vegetables into my big ass pot. I had quite a collection since I'd been saving everything! The ends of onions, broccoli and cauliflower stems, carrot peels and tips, celery ends, pepper guts, bean tips, etc. All of it goes into the pot, as is!

Fill the pot with water to the top of the vegetables. At this point I also added a few herbs on their last leg (sage leaves and parsley), some veggies floating around the fridge from December (!!), as well as a big handful of garlic cloves.

Just put a lid on it, bring to a boil, and let it work its magic for 2 or 3 hours. Check on it periodically to see if it needs more liquid added.

After one hour.

After two hours. At this point I added two tablespoons of Kosher salt.

After three hours.

Remove from heat and strain through a fine mesh strainer into a heat-proof container. Make sure to press down on the vegetables to release all of the liquid hiding out inside!! My pile of used vegetables was reduced to about 1/3 of what I started with. It felt really good to see such spent veggies, knowing I had taken advantage of literally everything they had to give!

I used a large measuring pitcher with a spout for convenience and to keep track of how much it made. The final product was an aromatic flavorful stock, but I kept it a little on the bland side. I wanted a neutral flavor profile I could doctor up in future recipes instead of the stock making each dish made with it taste the same.

All in all it made thirty cups of stock (or about 2 gallons)!! I'm really pleased with the outcome. It felt terrific to make so much out of scraps that would ordinarily be tossed out. I also know it is full of a bunch of vitamins and nutrients, and healthy with only two tablespoons of salt since I was able to control what went in.

I let it cool in large bowls and then poured into a few quart sized deli containers and quart sized freezer bags before going in the freezer. These convenient sizes will let me grab just enough to make a dish in the future. By making this home made stock a few times a year I can use up all of my scraps and make healthier meals for just the cost of a few tablespoons of salt!

Don't forget to enter and spread the word about my Red Gold tomatoes giveaway before next Wednesday, February 17th!


Jenn@slim-shoppin said...

Christina, I never would have thought to do that in a million years. What a great way to use up scraps of veggies! I have a big ass pot too!!

I am totally going to start doing this. Thanks for the idea!

The Diva on a Diet said...

This is one of those things that I've been meaning to do for the longest time. Such a great use for the unused bits and what's better than homemade stock?!

Now I just need to get me one of those big ass pots ... but where will I store it?! LOL

Christina said...

I know Jenn! When I read that I just thought ... uhhh DUH! I love when I learn stuff that never occurred to me!

hehe I love how it's just commonly termed "big ass pot." hehehe Makes me giggle!

Diva - I keep mine in the pantry w/ things inside it. Makes it kind of inconvenient to get in/out - but I have nowhere else for it! It does have a strainer insert that I realized later I should have used to get out the larger pieces! Next time!

Lauralei said...

I'm saying duhhh too - i never thought of freezing the scraps - i have parrots so i always feed them some scraps, but this is a great idea for the others - thanks for passing that along :)

Anonymous said...

Wow, what an awesome idea! 30 cups too? Thats great, especially if its easily store in freezer bags.

Ally's Sweet and Savory Eats said...

What a great idea! I've never even heard of doing this before. I will definitely start saving my veggies ends and do this!

Nowheymama said...

I save our veggie scraps to give to a woman who raises chickens. She repays us with free eggs. Score!

Lele said...

I always save both veggie scraps and chicken carcasses for delicious, delicious, stock! I find that the most delicious and flavorful veggie stocks are heavy on the mushroom stems. Mmmm. Yours is gorgeous! Yay us for not wasting any part of our food!

Anonymous said...

That's a great idea Christina - I am trying to remember, but I don't think I've ever made stock from scratch before!

That's amazing you got 2 gallons!

Happy Saturday!

Jessie said...

Nice job with the stock! That's a really good idea -- I'm a little embarrassed about how much veggie scraps I tend to throw away *blush*

test it comm said...

Homemade broth/stock is always the best! It is a great way to use all of those scraps that would have been thrown out. I have been saving some shrimp shells in my freezer for a shrimp stock.

angelsmabl said...

Your mom and I went to MSMC together and I recently "found" her on facebook. She told me about your blog and I LOVE it. You look so much like your mom and I hear your enthusiasm for cooking when I read your postings. It so reminds me of how your mom was so enthusiastic about things she loved. Thanks for the blog

Sasha said...

looks delicious - really interesting recipe/project

Laura said...

30 CUPS wow! How much money did you save with that? I bet 20 bucks at least. Nice job.

Christina said...

Ohh I didn't even think of it from that end, Laura!

I would either buy the vegetarian boullion cubes on sale or the boxed stock at the Dollar Tree so I think $10-15 saved! Woo hoo! Plus, like I said a lot healthier and a LOT less salt!

Unknown said...

That is a cool tip Christina, I have two full composters and that would be a great way to reuse the veg cuttings. We have a great municipal compost program so been using that until the spring, when I can empty and turn my compost bins.

Angie said...

Visiting from just another meatless Monday. I've been meaning to actually do this! I was also told using a crockpot to make the stock works too!