26 July 2006

WFMW - July 26 (Making Stock)

Hello! It's time, once again, for Works for Me Wednesday, hosted by Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer.

Now, I love to cook, and I have fallen in love with the more expensive, better tasting aseptic boxes of broth. Every once in a while, it's okay, but usually they are too expensive for me to buy as many as I need, especially during soup season, which encompasses all but the hottest part of summer. To remedy that, I switched to a more whole foods, less prepared foods way of doing things, which didn't really add all that much work to my food prep, but more on that later, if you want.

So, I now had bones and chicken/turkey carcasses to dispose of, and always veggie parings leftover. Since I don't have a compost bin yet, I was throwing them away. Until, one day, I read about how to make stock and use up those bits and bones and all. It's really simple, and I wish I had done this a long time ago. Are you ready? Okay.

Keep two 1-gallon or 2-gallon freezer bags in your freezer. Label one poultry and one beef. You could do a third for pork, if you wanted to have some pork stock for ham and beans, but just using water with ham hocks are my mode. In each bag, put some of your veggie scraps. I put in leftover bits of certain herbs (thyme, sage, used bay leaves), carrot ends, celery trimmings, onion ends, sometimes garlic papers, leek tops, squash ends, green bean bits, etc. I also put in any bones from either before or after cooking, putting them in the appropriate baggy. A few days before you need the stock, or when your bag gets too full, make the stock.

Making stock is really simple. You empty the contents of your bag in a big pot (or sometimes I use my BIG crockpot), pour in a bunch of water, add salt and some peppercorns, maybe some whole garlic cloves, adjust herbs, if desired, and add a splash of apple cider vinegar, about 2-4 Tbsp. The acid in the vinegar helps bring out the calcium from the bones, which adds a nutritional punch to your stock without affecting the flavor. Another nutritional boost that I sometimes do is to add a strip of kombu (seaweed) and/or some dried mushrooms, but that is more for the cold season and immune boosting. Bring it all to a boil, then simmer on the lowest heat for at least 2-4 hours, skimming any foam from the top. For my crockpot, I put it on low for 12-24 hours, which gives it such a deep taste.

When you are satisfied with your stock, pour it off into a container (I have 2 sterilite pitchers that I use for this), and let cool. If you stick it in the fridge for a couple of hours, any fat will rise to the top and you can easily skim it off. If my bags get too full, I'll make the stock then stick the pitchers into the freezer like that because they are so sturdy. One thing I do to help the strain-off process, which is the most time-consuming and messy, IMO, is to put a square of fabric inside a colander and pour through that.

Other uses for your yummy new stock include making your rice, couscous, potatoes, etc. with stock instead of water. Delicious!!!

It's easy. It's delicious. It's very nutritious. And, it works for me.


At 7:37 AM, Blogger Dianne said...

Great idea. Nothing beats the taste of food made from scratch!

At 8:14 AM, Blogger Mama Duck said...

Good idea! Happy Wednesday, ours is up as well!

At 9:13 AM, Blogger Barb, sfo said...

Hey--that doesn't sound so hard! I'll give it a try.

At 9:24 AM, Blogger Maggie said...

To spring off from here, I freeze my stock in about 1 cup increments becasue I use that amount a lot. I take several containers (leftover yogurt containers work well for me), fill with the stock and freeze. Then after they are frozen, I pop out the frozen blocks and put them in a ziplock back in the freezer.

But thanks for the suggestion to save veggies. I tend to mkae stock - Chicken- after I have cooked a whole chicken. I have not made any other type.

At 10:42 AM, Blogger Katherine@Raising Five said...

I've never heard of the vinegar idea. I also like the fabric idea - never thought of that. Sounds like you are a great cook!

At 12:26 PM, Blogger The Roaming Southerner said...

This is great. I probably will not remember this when I make soups again (I can only do it in the dead of winter...its too hot in the south) I definately remember to look up your blog for my first winter in Michigan esp. with my husband in law school (he gets sick alot so the health tips will be great).

At 12:47 PM, Blogger Heidi said...

Yes, I do this too except I'll have to try the vinegar...and I never thought to do it in my crock pot.
If it weren't supposed to be over 100 degrees here again I'd really want soup. Thanks for the tip!

At 2:23 PM, Blogger Umm 'Skandar said...

Yes, we do this too! Although I have to admit that we use box stock alot as well, its just so easy.

I have to ask though, why can't you use your cast iron cookware on your new stove?! Just curious 'cause then I don't want that type of stove! Can't live without the cast iron.

At 10:54 PM, Blogger Elizabeth said...

Oh my word - you are my new HERO! I even had to run tell my husband about your tip!!! I always buy the box stock because it's better and every time I ask a friend/relative how to make stock I get the "Oh it's so easy" and the chuckle, but never real directions. This has made my day! :) (And the irony to this is that my WFMW tip is about THROWING AWAY chicken bones and skin - guess I won't be doing that anymore - LOL!)

At 11:59 PM, Blogger voni said...

I'll have to give this a try:) Sunds yummy.
thanks for visiting me:)


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