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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Stock tip

Well, when buying organic produce.. you really feel it.  I mean there is a definite cost difference and selection.  It has come down quite a bit but there still is a price difference.   I have prioritized this in our life and feel it is crucial to optimal health.  Most of my learning and reading has steered me this way.  

Anyway, my budget is usually less than more these days.  I have to be choosy with my purchases, shopping around and every decision counts.  It has taught me so much.  We probably eat (and waste) less but buy a much higher quality across the board.   I am way more grateful for our food, where it comes from and how it's grown or raised.  And also have become way more mindful of our waste.  If you have had any culinary experience, you will learn about wasting not!  Cue irate chef in my head during my 1st weeks of prep.  Ah, lesson learned.  

So, here's a tip.. when buying organic vegetables, keep the waste.  You know, the end of the tomato, skin and ends of the onion, peels of the carrots, parsley stems, kale stems, mushroom ends and so on... you get it. The stuff you would throw in the compost or waste.  Mark a bag in the freezer:  "Organic Veg Scraps for Stock" Keep this handy in the freezer and add to it as you cook.  When it's full or you have a couple, get your favorite Vegetable broth recipe and go at it.  
Or if you don't have one..  Here's my easy, simple method. 
Simply place scraps in a saucepan.  Cover with cold water by double and bring up to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. And simmer for at least an hour or two.  The flavor deepens as it goes.  I also like to add some herbs, bay leaf, good pinch of peppercorns (about 1T).  You might not need to even add fresh veggies, this might just be enough.  If you do add fresh veggies, chop them really well.. and a good sauté in olive oil before adding cold water greatly benefits the flavor results, be sure to scrap the flavor bits off the bottom of the pan.  Also, adding mushrooms is a very good thing as they have glutamic acid.. which is like a natural MSG.. in other words, flavor booster!  
You will learn as you go what tempers well in the stock and what doesn't or needs additional veg. I.e., carrot or celery. Stock can be frozen and used when needed.  It is so flavorful and so much better than store-bought. And it's organic!  Cost nothing.    Steak bones, fish bones, chicken carcasses, shrimp shells.. these are all yummy things to keep in the freezer, ready waiting to be transformed into heavenly homemade stocks!  Especially, not something you want to waste if you are buying organic! 

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