Sure, we’ve all heard of it and seen recipes for it. We know we should make it. But who actually does? Not I, not until a couple of months ago. But then I became part of the converted secret society of soup stock makers. (Making stock is a perfect sidetrack when the writing gets fiddly and boring.)
Follow any ol’ recipe on the internet or in a book. (Such as the Soup and Bread Cookbook by Crescent Dragonwagon.) I make veggie stock only, although I’m not a vegetarian, per se.
You can use fresh vegetables. Or you can take the limp, leftover bits from your veggie drawer. Onion skins. Smashed garlic. Parsley bits. Carrot chunks. Raggedy turnips. Potatoes. I even threw in a few grapes. Also, the partly dehydrated, a bit too old veggies in the freezer are perfect for this.
(Don’t use strong tasting veggies in the brassica family, such as broccoli and brussel sprouts.)
Just make sure you wash these bits. You don’t want a lot of soil in your soup. Also, don’t use moldy bits. I mean, really, ick! Save that for compost.
Add water to the vegetables. Bring to simmer and then cook on low for 45 minutes or so. Dip out the veggie bits. Pour through a strainer or cheesecloth to get out the vegetable pieces. Now, throw those pieces in the compost. Or, if they look really yummy, I pop them back in the soup.
Okay, so perhaps I’m a tad overenthusiastic about soup stock. But really, it’s gorgeous. Delicious. See? Know what happened the first times I made it? I never even got around to making it into soup. I enjoyed the clear broth for several dinners and lunches. I drank it before the meal, to warm and satisfy me and cut down on what I ate during the main meal. Mmmmm.
I’m thinking about asking some of my favorite farmers and grocers to just save me a bag of their less-than-perfect veggies, the ones they can’t put out for display. Then I could pay them a few dollars for a big bag.
Saved: 8 dollars per batch
Saved: the multi-ply box that holds soup stock on the grocery store shelf
Saved: the family, from the msg in my favorite soup stock cube, Knorr’s.
Saved: those veggies that would have gone to waste.
Saved: my conscience, inherited from my thrifty grandma, who hated waste.