This last week I have been trying to use up as much food as possible because I am heading back to BC with just the kids. My poor dear husband doesn't really cook, so I didn't want to leave a bunch of stuff to go bad while we were away. He isn't totally unable to feed himself, and can actually grill some amazing foods, it's just he doesn't really enjoy cooking for himself. He would be content with eating Raisin Bran and Cookies and Cream protein powder while I am away. Don't worry though, I will stock the freezer with some manly dishes that he can take out and feed himself with.
As I was looking at my fridge, trying to figure out how to get rid of some of it, it dawned on me... I have all these veggies why don't I make a stock that I could freeze and use later. I don't know about you but I love making my own stock, whether it is beef, chicken, turkey or vegetable. I love the fact that I am not wasting food, but using it in many ways, and I am also controlling the sodium content in my food. Have you ever looked at a canned or powdered broth? The sodium is absolutely insane, it is shocking how much is in it. When I started reading labels many years ago, I started changing what went into my body and took control of it.
Some of you may think it is hard or unnecessary when you can get it from the store. I am here to let you know that #1 it isn't hard at all, you dumb it all in a pot and walk away for a few hours, and #2 if you want to take control of what goes in your body, then it is necessary to make certain things from scratch. Plus your house will smell amazing! You can experiment with flavour combinations and the colour of the broth will change as well. You are also living the "waste not, want not" ways by using all parts of the animals or vegetables.
A few good resources for how to make a good vegetable stock are:
Jennifer's Kitchen: She has a A-to-Z list on vegetables that are acceptable and not acceptable to put into a stock. I loved this because she explains why things make for a good addition and why some do not.
The Kitchen: Has a really great How to, for making vegetable stock.
With many resources you can play around, some weeks you might have different fresh herbs and vegetables in the fridge then others. One thing you can do as well is have a large Ziploc bag, and through out the week as you are cooking take the scraps from the veggies and add them to the bag and place in the fridge. At the end of the week or even two weeks, you can have enough to make a large pot of stock.
When you have cooked your stock, allow it to cool completely and then you can add it to ice cube trays and freeze, then pop them out and place in a large Ziploc bag. It is an easy way to access homemade fresh stock for recipes.
The stock I just made recently, I added a ton of vegetables and had to make it in my largest stock pot that fits around 14 gallons. I then placed the cooled stock into mason jars and allowed for some room on the top and have frozen them for future use.
This stock I had onions, green onions, carrots, carrot tops (right from my garden), garlic, spinach, parsley and other fresh herbs. I later added in some asparagus and mushrooms. This broth is a bit more earthy and spicy then others I have done, I added more turmeric then usual because I heard it was good for inflammation. You add the spinach during the last 10 minutes of cooking, so that it just wilts. Add salt and pepper to the amount you desire. This way again you have control of the amount of sodium that goes into the stock.
I loved the rich deep green and brown colour this stock had. It was very earthy to me. This stock would be great in soups, and even to drink on it's own. I am thinking of also making a Pho (Vietnamese noodle soup) with this stock in September when I am back home. See freezing it will allow me to use it in future months.
Such a great way to use up scraps, who would have thought that onions peels, carrots top and celery could be used to flavour water! Have fun and experiment in the kitchen. Remember cooking should be fun and full of adventures, that might not always turn out, but you learned!
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