making soup stock cheaply…

15 Nov

I used to always have containers of soup stock in my pantry.  Store bought ones can rack up the grocery bill especially the boxed kind that isn’t concentrated.   I always thought making stock would end up being super tedious, expensive and a waste of veggies.  But ahoy mate!  I learned many tips and tricks to extract flavour out of veggies that otherwise would go in the garbage.

Spring time is the ideal time to make stock as garlic and onions have their greens and make for excellent flavour extraction.  Here’s the basic recipe for any kind of stock:

Garlic
Onions
Carrots
Celery
Tomatoes
Meat bones
Herbs
Salt and pepper
Water

Here are some tips and tricks  to make stock super easy and totes affordable:

1.  Roast the meat bones in the oven before simmering them in the stock, it gives the broth a fuller flavour

2.  Go to a farmer’s market and pick up carrot tops, beet tops, garlic tops and onion tops….for free!  A lot of people don’t use the tops of these veggies and they are packed full of flavour even though they are a little too fibrous for actual eating.  Most people ask for the tops to be taken off at the cash so snoop around and see if they’re giving any away for free.

3.  Making a whole chicken?  After eating the majority of the meat from the roasted chicken, you can use the carcass for the stock

4.  Add herbs that you love like bay leaves, rosemary, or thyme to add another layer of flavour

5.  Got some wine kicking around?  Adding wine to stock gives it another dimension.  Try red wine with beef or lamb stock and white with chicken or veggie stock.

6.  Simmer, simmer and simmer some more.  The longer you simmer your stock for, the better it will taste.  The first couple of hours feel free to add water to top it up.  In the last few hours, let about half of the water evaporate for concentrated flavour.  Make it really concentrated so that it takes up less space when storing.  You can always add water back to it later when you use it.

7.  Make a big batch that will last a while.  If you’re going to have to simmer that pot for hours, you might as well make a big batch.  Only the most serious canners have a pressure canner (you can’t hot water bath stock) but you can always freeze it.  Store them in mason jars but make sure they are fully cooled before you pop them in the freezer to avoid glass breakage.  Also don’t fill those jars all the way to the top because the liquid will expand once it’s frozen.

8.  Don’t have mason jars to freeze?  Freeze the stock in ice cube trays and then fill a freezer bag full of them.  Compact and easy to take just a few cubes here and there!

9.  Source out meat bones, often they are quite cheap and only about $1.00 a pound.

10.  Don’t bother to skim the fat off the stock if you’re freezing them in jars.  Once the stock is frozen, the fat floats all the way to the top of the jar and solidifies making it easy to scoop it out if you desire.

11.  Label the stock with the date and type so you don’t forget!

12.  Stocks are not just for soups!  Throw it in to stews, make flavourful sauces, boil potatoes in it, the choices are endless!

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