Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Homemade Vegetable Stock

First up on back to blogging is getting back to cooking. I love to cook. With cooler weather I love to make soups. I have found that in some recipes, not limited to soups, I prefer to use vegetable stock rather than chicken stock or water. I became disgruntled with vegetable stock once I went gluten free and corn free. That combo is hard to find in a vegetable stock! Not to mention, have you opened a can or box of vegetable stock or broth lately? Boring!!! No flavor and no appeal.

It got me thinking...... why can't I make my own vegetable stock? It can't be that hard! I started saving my scraps from cutting up vegetables and fruits. That means onion peels and ends, carrot tops, pepper tops and seeds, apple cores, celery pieces, kale stalks, winter squash rinds....... anything that I would usually feed to my chickens or that you might put on your compost pile(minus the coffee grounds, of course!). I find that a few of the green elements are essential. The kale or collard stalks or leaves add a very rich flavor. I keep a gallon ziplock bag in the fridge and add to it over a week or so.

Put all of this into a large pot, fill it almost to the brim with water, throw in a bay leaf or two and cook it for a long time. Your kitchen will smell like Mama just came over with the best vegetable soup that ever touched your tongue. The aroma will make you salivate. Perfect to put on the stove on a chilly fall afternoon.

You want to cook it until it looks like mush. Then let it cool. Slowly dip off the beautiful liquid into containers to freeze. When you get to just vegetables, pour them into a colander over a pan. Let the stock settle out and then dip out the rest. I usually leave a little bit of liquid in the bottom of the bowl, because no matter how hard I wash my veggies there is always some silt or sediment in the bottom that I don't want in my soups!

Here is a look at the mushy cooked vegetables. They can now be thrown on the compost heap or fed to your chickens.

And the stock ready to go into the freezer. I find that from a 1 gallon ziplock of vegetable scraps and a decent size stock pot I usually get about 4 quarts of stock. I seal it in quart freezer bags after cooling and lay them flat in the freezer. That way I can stack them later.  

Yummy!! Look at the color of that stock! I love doing this. I have control over the ingredients. I have the ingredients anyway. I know exactly what is in my stock. I do not add salt. I add that when I cook the main dish later. There are no additives or preservatives. Try it. I think you will never buy vegetable stock again!

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