Monday, November 5, 2012

Homemade Vegetable Stock

Buying organic vegetables can be expensive. I like to justify buying organic as making an investment in my health. The more I focus on making better choices now, the less I’ll have to pay into medical costs as I get older (I hope). Even as an investment, I still want to get the most out of my money and throwing away vegetable scraps just seems like such a waste of produce and money. So I make my own vegetable stock from the scraps.
How to make Homemade Veggie Stock
When I cook, I keep a small bowl next to my station to collect all the vegetable scraps. When I am done with the meal, I put all of the scraps in a plastic Ziploc bag and put them in the freezer. I save everything from onion and garlic peels to the stalks of any greens and the ends of pretty much every vegetable I use. If I have veggies in the frig that are nearing the end of their shelf life and I don’t think I will be able to use them before they spoil, I chop them up and add them to bags.
Once I have about 3 or 4 quart sized bags full in my freezer (which doesn’t take very long), I empty the contents into my crock pot and cover the vegetables with water. I like to add some sea salt and my choice of herbs. I usually add some astragals root, an Adaptogen,  to help boost my immune system and then some cooking herbs like Parsley, Thyme or Rosemary, which all have their own medicinal properties. I usually add several tablespoons of dried or a bundle of fresh herb. I also like to add several cloves of chopped garlic. It helps with the flavor and is such a wonderful addition. Fresh ginger can be used, although my husband isn't a fan so I have to refrain.

Once everything is added to the crock pot I put the lid on and let it cook on low heat for anywhere from 4 to 12 hours. We are basically making a vegetable decoction, in which, the vitamins and minerals from the vegetables become dissolved in the water. Once I feel that it is done, I turn it off the heat and let it cool. You can strain it when it is hot, but I feel that it is easier to handle when it is cool. Once I strain all the liquid, I place it in jars and put some in the freezer and some in the refrigerator. The left over vegetable product can be thrown away or composted.
The stock then can be made into soups, added to recipes that call for veggie stock or drank as a nutrient rich veggie tea. I really like doing this because the color and flavor of my stock is always different depending on what vegetables and herbs have gone into the making. If there are some beet stocks in there, the color is a rich purple. Other times it may be a more translucent beige color or a thick cloudy dark brown. It is never the same and I love the variety and the surprise.
Why Make Your Own?
There are so many reasons to make your own stock and the best reason is ‘Why not?’ Give it a try. I highly doubt you will dislike it. Other reasons include:
  • Nourish the Body and the Mind: This DIY vegetable stock recipe is packed with vitamins and minerals that are easily absorbed by the body. It is wonderful to have on hand for the winter when the chill of illness starts to creep in.
  • Rejuvenating: When I use this stock in soup or just drink it as a tea I can feel the warmth and nutrition spread throughout my body. The feeling is invigorating. I’m addicted to this broth!
  • Better than Store Bought: Making your own stock is so easy and it isn’t loaded with sodium and preservatives like the store bought stocks. Also if you are making it with organic veggie scraps, you know that it isn’t tainted with pesticide or herbicide residue that can be toxic to you and your family.
  • Costs Nothing to Make: Because you have already purchased the vegetables and used them, making veggie stock is free byproduct. Most people would just throw away or compost these parts of the veggies anyway so make the most of your money and make veggie stock.
Overall it is so easy to make your own vegetable stock, and it is practically free to make. It is loaded with vitamins and minerals that can help increase your nutritional intake and help ward off illness. I hope you become as addicted to this easy recipe as I have. During the winter, it is a must have.

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