Stocking Up

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    Our household has been fighting yucky colds for the past few weeks, but it’s back to business as usual now.  Since I used up all my stock making (our cough syrup dazed) Thanksgiving dinner, I started a fresh batch just before bed last night.  A good stock or broth is essential to quick yummy meals and can even be heated and sipped for a light breakfast.  (On cold winter mornings, I like a mug of steaming stock with a soft boiled egg.). At the supermarket, a quart of this essential liquid goes for$2.50 on sale.  Making your own is much more economical, especially if you use my hack.

    Some of you may have this figured out by now, but I really try to be frugal.  Throwing out vegetable “scrap” really seems like a waste to me, especially since there really isn’t anything wrong with all the odds and ends left after putting a meal together.   So, somewhere along the line, I came up with the idea of tossing all those random pieces into a plastic freezer container and turning the contents into stock when it was full.  Vola!  Essentially free stock!  

    It’s so simple, every cook ought to be doing it!  Onion ends, pepper seeds and centers, wilting herbs, celery ends, potato peels, garlic papers, etc, etc all end up in the container then simmer together to create a delicious stock.  The only sand traps to avoid are cabbage (brussle sprouts) and cabbage, they do a hostile take over in the pot and no other flavors come through.  I even toss lemon and lime peels in.  (Also, if I debone any meat durring meal prep, I toss those scraps in with the veg for a little extra flavor)

    Here’s how I do it:  1 gallon of frozen vegetable scrap is dumped in a 2 gallon stockpot and covered with water and a splash of apple cider vinegar.  Toss a lid on the pot and bring it up to a boil before turning the heat to low/simmer and walking away.  (I usually go to bed.) Let it all simmer for 12-24 hours, replenishing water as needed.  At this point you can cool, strain and jar your stock, but I’m always short on fridge space so I remove the lid and reduce it down a bit first.  I like to simmer mine down to about 2 quarts.

     My rule of thumb is to use all stock within 2 weeks, but honestly it rarely lasts that long.  I use it as a base for sauces, gravies, and soups.  It also makes delicious rice.  Just dont forget to add salt.  

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