Saturday, March 6, 2010

"make me something somebody can use"

the food: Soup of the Week! Homemade Vegetable Broth
the song: "Utilities" The Weakerthans

Ok, so I realize this technically isn't a soup. But it is the base of soup, and if you've got a good base, you're more than halfway to having a good soup. I've spent plenty of good money on boxed vegetable stock since this soup a week thing started. Well, those days just might be over.

God bless the Kitchn. I can go there and get just about anything I want (recipes, techniques, ideas) that will be at my appropriate skill level. I decided I wanted to make my own stock a few weeks ago and found this handy suggestion to save your vegetable scraps for stock making. So I got my biggest container and started saving everything that looked saveable- stems from herbs, root ends of onion, pepper tops, wilted mushrooms, tiny cloves of garlic I didn't feel like peeling. I threw everything into the tupperware and stuck it in my fridge. When it came time to make stock, I took it all out and gave it the once over. I took out some onion skins, but most of it stayed in. I added a diced carrot and a few stalks of celery.  When the husband saw what I was doing, he said "Oh, it's like composting." I took offense at first, but I realize now that he's totally right. All those scraps have a lot of nutrients to offer, whether it is for the compost or for us.

I didn't measure the exact amount of vegetable scraps, but I think I had about 5 cups. I simmered the vegetables in 10 cups of water for about an hour. Then I poured the stock through a colander into a large bowl, squeezing the vegetables to get out all the broth. After the stock cooled down, half went into a container to be used within the week, and the other half into a baggie for the freezer. And there you have it.

My homemade stock turned out great...the perfect color with a lot of flavor, nothing too overwhelming. It was healthier than the store bought variety (since I have control of the amount of salt in my stock) and it was so satisfying to make. The house smelled amazing while the stock was cooking, and once I finished I had gotten yet another use out of my vegetables before taking them to the compost. My only warning is that after you make it once, you'll start over-thinking every scrap you throw out. It can cause a space issue to store a big container full of scraps in your fridge all the time. But I'm managing just fine. 

Check out the Kitchn for some good tips on stock making and see if you find it as rewarding as I do.


P.S. This is my last weekly "Soup of the Week!" post. I'm still carrying on my project and will post the results when they are awesome, but I want to start focusing on some non-soup dishes to share here. It's starting to look like all I make is soups and sweets. Plus, I'm ready to start doing some repeats! (That roasted garlic potato soup is calling my name this week...)


  1. Check out Heidi's bouillon here: It's a concentrate you keep in your freezer. I swear by it. It takes up less space and you always have it on hand. Also, calling John "the husband" is hilarious.

  2. Nice! Thanks for the hot tip. I will definitely give it a try. This broth making thing has been kind of a revelation for me. So simple, but such a big difference.
    I'm not sure how the husband feels about his title...but I'm glad you like it. :)