Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Thrifty kitchen: making stock


I have a penchant for doing things myself.

Penchant might be an understatement. Some of you might look at my cheese , my butter, my pizza and jam, and shake your heads. No, Kristina, you'll say, it's not a penchant, it's an obsession. Well, maybe. But for the purposes of me not feeling like a nut, we'll call it a penchant. Bear with me.

I can't explain why I have this penchant, exactly. I'm not particularly distrustful of the government, I have no inklings of impending natural disasters or apocalypses. I'm not a survivalist. Nor am I penny pincher (anyone who's seen my latest credit card bill could tell you that).

All the same, I take great satisfaction in my makings. It's never about saving a buck-- it's about challenging myself, gaining some new perspective on something ordinary, and learning. And having fun.

But, of course, it does save a buck, now, doesn't it? Well. Yes. Maybe even two or three. And given the state of our Union (great reluctant buck-saving nation that we are), I thought it might be apt to start a series: Thrifty Kitchen.

Once a month, there will be a post here with a recipe, and some very easy way to trim a couple bucks. Easy. I promise. No cheese thermometers. No fancy kitchen gadgets. And in the end, there will be something interesting, rewarding, and delicious sitting there on your plate.

Homemade Soup Stock

What you need:

A large-ish pot

Water

A few handfuls of sorry-looking vegetables or kitchen scraps

Some dried herbs or spices, if you wish

Put your vegetables or kitchen scraps in your pot. (Garlic is a must; carrots, celery, onions, and potatoes are good too. Use strongly-flavored vegetables like cabbage, peppers, and broccoli sparingly.) Fill your pot the rest of the way up with water, stopping about an inch before the brim. Add some seasonings-- black pepper, dried thyme, and a bay leaf are a good trio-- and bring to a boil. Let the pot simmer, uncovered, for an hour. Strain your stock through a paper towel and you're done.

I love this for several reasons. One, the bouillion you buy at the store is mostly salt. Who wants to pay $.99 for a can of salt water? Two, stock making is the salvation of withered, sorry-looking vegetables everywhere. It hurts my heart to see food go to waste. Making soup stock gives me a way of using these guys, these vegetables non grata. I also really like the fact that you can make stock with kitchen scraps. I've taken to starting a big pot of water boiling before I even begin making soup, and peeling my carrots and potatoes directly into the pot. By the time I'm ready to make my soup, I have fresh, amazing, free vegetable stock. And into the soup it goes!

Vegetable stock can be frozen, canned (via pressure canning), or stored in the fridge to be used within three days.


27 comments:

Hannah said...

Love this. :) Far too few people make their own stock these days, but it really does make a huge difference in everyday cooking! Thanks for reminding me how important it is to take that extra step and avoiding the temptation of those convenient ready-made broths.

Helen said...

this is a really good idea! i keep meaning to make chicken stock too from the carcass of a chicken but never get round to it... i should because it's cheaper than buying stock cubes!

the 6 o'clock stitch said...

I stumbled over from Sugar Magnolia's post. So nice to meet you.

Warm wishes,
The 6 O'Clock Stitch

Kristina said...

Hannah-- It is hard to resist the temptation of little foil-wrapped cubes, isn't it?

Helen-- Chicken stock is, if anything, more economical than veggie stock. And nothing beats homemade!

6 o'clock-- It's very nice to meet you, too! I hope you find some delight here.

Julia said...

i've made chicken stock, but not my own vegetable stock. another idea i want to try is this one: http://newoldfashionedgal.wordpress.com/2008/03/05/homemade-vegetable-stock-in-a-jar/

Kristina said...

Julia-- Thanks for passing on that link! That looks like an interesting project to try!

ChristyACB said...

I adore home-made stock. Truly, one must take the plunge and taste the difference in a recipe to become a firm believer.

Chicken stock, delish.

You, however, have taken it to a step I hadn't yet considered and now I'm kicking myself for so many wasted veggie stock opportunities. Peeling and such right over the stockpot is brilliant!

And yes, I'm always very sad over the veggies non-grata that are left too.

So, do you have anything new and interesting I can try with a nice bulb of fennel? It is going to go non-grata soon, but I'd rather do something with it.

Kristina said...

Christy-- Thanks so much for your comment. Alas, I've never cooked anything with fennel! Here's something simple and tasty-looking I found, though:
Potato-Fennel Puree

Irene said...

That's what I do too! I also cut out the backbone of a chicken and use it for stock with some sorry looking vegetables :) I hate, hate, hate seeing anything go to waste!

Kristina said...

Irene-- That's great! Any particular combinations of vegetables that work for you?

Stephanie said...

I've seen this on other blogs and I totally want to try this. I, too, love that it can be made with scraps.

Kristina said...

Thanks for stopping by, Stephanie!

Gypsy Forest said...

This is great! (I found you from a comment you left on my bloggy home). I also suffer from I-Can-Make-It-Myself syndrome..... I can't wait to try cheese! Yum! I used to save all my veggie peelings for making stock. (celery, onion skins, potato, carrot etc). But now my chickens eat them! You can stick them in the freezer though and it works out great..... and it's so darn good too!! I also read in Mothering Magazine that a splash of vinegar helps to pull the nutrients from the chicken bones. Now my comment is super long, sorry :) Nice to meet you!

Kristina said...

Gypsy Forest-- Great information! I'll be adding some vinegar to my stock from now on (it can't hurt, right?). Also, I've been keeping my celery leaves and parsley stems in the freezer, and adding them to stock, and it's working really well. Thanks so much.

we are never full said...

amen! i always wish i had a second freezer when i make homemade stock, though b/c often i make so much i can't fit the extra in the freezer.

nytesong said...

Oh, my. Seems we have something in common with the 'makings' thing. I want to be able to make ever single thing from scratch---I'm almost there too!

Dawn said...

Great to meet you... thanks for saying hi on the blog so I could find you! Last time I made stock it was gone before I had a chance to freeze any! Great way to stretch those veggies!

katherine mary said...

“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.” - Rumi

Kristina said...

Thanks, Kate, for that quote. That man was a genius.

Laura. said...

oh, i like your attitude--i love challenging myself and ending up with thrifty. what a great start to the series!

Georgia said...

Hey there, thanks for dropping by on my blog. I have to say that reading your bit about having such satisfaction with making things yourself from scratch totally spoke to me. I too love to take something from the very beginning through to the end just to show that I can, just to experience the satisfaction of knowing that I made it myself; ALL of it myself. There really is nothing quite so satisfying. Having said that, a hem, I don't enjoy being in the kitchen (unless I'm dying wool or making paper)...that cooking stuff is hubby's domain. Although having found your lovely blog, I MAY be tempted to do more that slog out a dinner for 6 every week night and make healthy snacks for school lunches. Good to meet ya!

Mary said...

Hi Kristina! Thanks for the sweet comment you left for me. It's very nice to meet you.

ChristyACB said...

Kristina - Thanks for that recipe! I'm thinking that is going on the menu tonight. I'll let you know how it tastes. :)

Claire said...

I love the thought of saving all of my withered vegetables in my fridge right now - thanks for the idea! :)

thea said...

This looks so yummy!!

thea.
xx

(www.forthevisionaries.tumblr.com)

genny said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Miriam

http://www.craigslistdecoded.info

Kristina said...

Welcome Genny. Thanks for reading. :)

Post a Comment

Thank you, so much, for taking the time to chime in here. Your comments make my day. Let's do our best to keep the snarkiness at bay and be a happy, friendly place in the interwebs.

Related Posts with Thumbnails