Ok, so last week it was hot, hot, hot around here and I told you how to make homemade frozen yogurt. Well, the last couple of days things have cooled down to the mid-sixties and I am making soup.
Welcome to Oregon.
I love using vegetable stock in soup – it adds great flavor, but I don’t like to spend my money on it. I’d pay between $3 -$4 per quart at the grocery store. During the wet, rainy months of fall, winter and spring, I like to make a lot of soup and it adds up.
One day last year, I was cutting up an onion. I noticed the scraps on the edge of my cutting board and thought that it would be really nice to use them to make veggie stock, but there was just so little.
Ping! (That’s the sound of a lightbub lighting above my head.)
I took all the scraps and put them in a gallon sized ziplock and put them in the freezer. The next time I cut veggies, I added them to the bag. It started filling up with the ends of green beans, garlic and onion skins, wilted carrots, the tough parts of leeks… all of the things that would normally be thrown away.
When my bag got full, I turned it into veggie stock.
Want to try it? Here’s how:
Dump your bag of frozen scraps in the crockpot.
I have heard that the best stock has close to a 1:1:1 ratio of carrots, celery and onion. Take a look at your scraps to see if you might need to add a bit more of any of those items. If so, give whatever is lacking an rough chop and throw it in.
Add in any herbs you have lying around. I like thyme and parsley, but if you don’t have any, they are not really necessary.
Turn the crockpot to low and cook for at least 10 hours.
Your house should start smelling really tasty. Make sure you have something good planned for dinner.
You want everything to be nicely wilted and kind of colorless.
Turn the crockpot off and let things cool. In the meantime place a large colander in a bowl and line it with a clean linen towel.
Scoop or pour in as much as your colander will hold and let it drain..
Then wrap up the veggies in your towel and squeeze, squeeze, squeeze the liquid out. This is the good stuff, don’t waste it.
Squeezing by hand is also the reason why you want it cool. I was impatient last time and ended up with red and tender hands. Ouch.
When you are done, throw out or compost the wasted veggies. Pour your new stock into jars for the fridge if you’ll be using it in the next week, or for the freezer.
I got a gallon of yummy stock – for freeeeee.
Pat yourself on the back for not wasting food or money.
- Go easy on strong veggies like broccoli and artichoke.
- Some people say that onion and garlic skins give too astringent of a flavor, but I have not found that to be true. Experiment.
- I have heard that roasting veggies in the oven first makes for a particularly rich stock, but I have not tried it yet. If you do, let me know how it goes.
- If you forget about your stock, or it gets late and you need to go to bed, I don’t think it hurts anything to cook longer. My last batch cooked for 18 hours an it was great.
I’m ready for soup weather. Have a favorite soup recipe to share?