Thursday, June 23, 2011

Living on a budget - Homemade vegetable stock

Every once in a while I will post about little projects that can be done very easily with very little or no upfront cost.

Growing up, I remember my mom making chicken soup from homemade stock. The taste of it was always great. I never remember her though making a large batch and freezing portions of it.  That is an idea I stumbled upon while reading various "mom-blogs" and similar websites.

Considering, that making stock didn't seem to be something requiring a whole lot of attention, I decided to try making some myself. Besides tastes factors, I also thought about the costs of homemade stock, which is next to nothing. We never really bought any ready made stock in a can, but we do spend quite a bit of money on those little spiced cubes you can add to water to create a stock.

Just for fun I  took a closer look at the ingredients on there, but most of them I can't pronounce. The first thing that becomes clear is, that these cubes contain a lot of salt and artificial ingredients.

So with the goal to reduce our spending as well as do something for our health, I have spent the last couple of weeks adding scraps and unusable pieces of veggies and meat to a quart-sized ziploc bag that I kept in the freezer.
Following this recipe, I collected enough ingredients to prepare my first own batch of stock. After we came back from our father's day breakfast I prepared everything for my newest kitchen experiment.
A large pot full of water to which I then added my veggie and meat leftovers and scraps (mine included some chicken bones with leftover meat, peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, cabbage, garlic and some other ingredients I can't remember).

This was by the way about the time my hubby came around looking at what I was making for lunch. Taking a look at me as though I had gone completely crazy he returned to doing his own stuff.
I added some salt, pepper, and bay leaves to my mix, and then let the soup boil on low for about 2 hours or so.
Here you can already see how my stock had gotten a nice color.
Since I wanted to avoid spending any money, I prepared some tupper-ware in all different sizes to store my stock.
I used a large spoon to remove the larger veggie and meat pieces, and then simply used the pots lid (which comes with a built-in strainer) to remove smaller particles.

These went into the freezer after they cooled down, and I'll use some of it this week for my veggie soup that I have on our dinner menu.
If my experiment turned out well, I'll get some better fitting storage containers from the dollar store or so. We'll see.

What have you been up to experimenting in the kitchen?

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