Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Veg Stock

Recently empowered by making turkey stock (and desperately needing more space in my freezer), I decided to make some vegetable stock.

I'd been saving up veggie scraps in a big heavy-duty zip-top bag in the freezer for just this purpose: carrot ends, onion ends, chard stems, herb stems, slightly soft squash, potatoes, tomatoes, and wilted greens, among other things. Almost any vegetable scrap is fair game so long as it's not too far gone. The bag was full, so the time was now...

Vegetable Stock
Adapted from Basic Vegetable Stock, page 73, Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites, 1996

Approximately 6 cups of assorted veggies (avoid sulfurous* ones)
1 potato, cut into quarters
2 tsp peppercorns
1 bay leaf
2 tsp thyme
1 clove of garlic, smashed
filtered water to cover
  1. Put everything into a crock-pot set on LOW for 10-12 hours. Let crock cool until comfortable enough to handle. 
  2. Put a large sturdy metal colander inside a large bowl in the sink** and line the colander with a floursack towel. Very carefully pour the contents of the slow-cooker into the lined colander. Let drain for a few minutes. Gather up the corners and sides of the towel and twist to extract more of the liquid from the vegetables. 
  3. Let the stock cool completely. Use within 2-3 days or divide into freezer containers, label, and freeze to use later. Yield: approximately 3.5 pints (7 cups).

My Notes: I divided mine into 1 and 2 cup portions before freezing. Make sure to leave an inch of space at the top of the containers to allow for expansion during the freezing process. (Oops!) From now on, I think I'll freeze them first and then add the lids.

 *These include: broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. According to the original recipe, it's evidently a good idea to also avoid asparagus, eggplant and peppers. I imagine that's because of their strong flavor compounds. They must not play well with others...the little bullies.
**This way I don't have to lift the big heavy (and hot) crock any higher than necessary. There are enough dangers in the kitchen as it is. Thinking ahead and thinking ergonomically will help prevent pulls, strains and other mishaps.
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