Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Homemade Veggie Stock for FREE

Starting a pot of veggie stock/broth tonight because we are fresh out! If you are buying your stock/broth from the store, tonight is a great time to decide to make it on your own. Not only is it simple to make, and much healthier for you (no preservatives, no salt, no fillers, no packaging), if you use this recipe method your stock will not cost you a dime. Who doesn't love FREE?! One goal in my cooking over the past couple of years is to learn to use all of the food or as much of the food as possible. We started drying out our orange peels last winter and using them in our cleaning solutions, laundry detergent, bath water, all kinds of ways! It felt so good not to "waste" the peel just by sticking it in the compost.

That inspired me to start using up some scraps of my veggies. Now, any time I peel carrots, press garlic, chop celery, slice onions, I save all of the pieces that I used to compost and store in my freezer in a container. A gallon ziptop bag or large pyrex dish work great. Then when the container is full, I just dump it in my stock pot, add water and herbs and simmer. Then I strain and all those scraps go to the compost, where they were destined all along except NOW I got to make delicious stock out of them! I then freeze the stock for later use.

Try freezing in large quantities to have on hand for a soup dinner when guests are coming (a very frugal yet comforting meal), freeze in ice cube trays and store "ice" cubes of stock in a larger container so that you can use a couple to cook your grains in for extra flavor, or to saute on the stovetop instead of using oil. The scraps I save are mostly from celery (tops and the bottom part, any part that I can't otherwise use in my dishes), onions (even the dried outer skin layers) garlic, mushroom, tomatoes, peppers (seed and all for a nice kick!), carrots, fennel, potatoes, and leafy greens.

Don't stop there though if inspiration strikes you to save and experiment with other veg! Also save veggies that are past their prime or gone soft, but never anything that is spoiled or moldy. Hope you enjoy!

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