Thursday, May 17, 2012

"Garbage" Soup: using veggie scraps to make stock

Garbage soup.  Oh, this sounds bad, very, very bad, right?

"Garbage" Soup is just my nickname for a very delicious soup stock made from scraps that many people just throw away.  I keep a container in my freezer for vegetable scraps that might otherwise be composted.  In this container I put things like the centers from bell peppers, the stem ends from mushrooms, the cores and clean skins of onions, the root ends of garlic, carrot peelings from clean, organic carrots, stems from herbs. . .you get the idea.  I only save clean, untainted portions from vegetables.  They're a perfectly okay-to-eat part of the vegetable, just tough, stringy, and/or seedy.  But they still have wonderful flavor. In fact, professional chefs recognize the culinary excellence of homemade stock, and make their own with veggie scraps, meat bones, and shells from crab, shrimp and other seafood.

This is my process.  As I'm preparing vegetables for meals, I put these unused pieces into a plastic container that I keep in the freezer.  When I have 2 or more containers, I make the "garbage" soup.  I dump the contents, still frozen, into a large stock pot. Then refill each container twice with water, add to vegetable scraps, bring to a boil and simmer for about 1 hour.  After it has cooled, I strain and use the liquid in homemade soups.  (Do not season until using in a recipe.) Any stock not used right away I freeze until needed.  It's nice to freeze some of the stock in small containers for sauces and gravy, and some in large containers for soup.

To turn this into real soup, not just stock, cook with lots of vegetables, meat, grains and/or legumes, (plus whatever assortment of leftovers are hanging out in the fridge). Season with salt and pepper.  Frugal, very frugal!

For folks concerned about fat consumption, this stock can be used when making mashed potatoes with delicious results.  Reduce the butter to half the usual amount used, and use stock and milk in half and half proportions. The stock replaces the flavor which might be missed from using less butter.

And FYI, Swanson Organic Vegetable broth sells for about $3.50 in a 32 oz. container.  My cost, a few cents for the water and stove use.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I'm so glad that you stopped by today. Please comment, and let me know what you're thinking.