How to make “free” stocks

In Tips and Hints on November 22, 2011 at 4:52 pm

Phyne Dyners throw NOTHING away!

Not wasting food is a hallmark of Phyne Dyning.  Food is a precious commodity to those of us choosing to live the Bohemian lifestyle and many of us could live for months on what many “normal” Americans toss into the dustbin.

Why buy commercial vegetable stocks or broths if you own a large deep freeze?

[NOTE:  A “stock” is a clear liquid in which a food (vegetable, meat, or fish) has been cooked and then strained.  A “broth” contains small portions of the cooked food and may have thickening agents added.  Some sources say stocks use bones and broths use boneless meats.  A real chef may get picky…but most folks use the terms interchangeably.]

During the summer months, when vegetables are plentiful, I make stock using the trimmings and odd-ends of vegetables I buy at my local farmer’s market.  The trimmings include beet greens, collards, and mustard greens not “good enough” for use by themselves, celery trimmings, ends of squash, potato trimmings (not the peels…they will discolor the broth), corn cobs (yep!), onion trimmings, green onion tops, tomato peels…you name it!

All of the veggies are thoroughly scrubbed before trimming.  Then the peels and trimmings get tossed into a large stockpot full of water (ratio 1 lb veggies to 1 gallon water) and cooked for about 30-45 minutes.  The resulting broth is cooled and then strained into freezer containers.  The cooked vegetable “goop” goes to the compost pile.

I do not add salt to my stocks.  I have added some herb trimmings, but do not advise it…you never know what you will use the stock for and the added herbs may conflict with other recipe ingredients.  The stock keeps virtually “forever” if frozen.  However, to avoid getting any added “freezer taste”, I try to use up my supply by the following summer.

The same process can be used for chicken (using chicken carcasses), beef (using leftover beef and trimmings), and fish (using fish heads, fins, and “non-gut” trimmings).

With quality broths selling for up to $5/quart, why not go for the “free stuff” you would normally pitch?


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