I am not a writer so bare with me :) If this blog does not make sense or if I am not clear let me know as I am learning and appreciate any and all input. All of this is in my head without ever writing it down. I'm kind of a just do it kind of person. But since so many people have asked questions of how, when what... I'm here :) Personally this is something that I have needed to do and want to share.
Cold and flu season is coming upon us rather quickly this year. What is one of the best foods for that season? You've got it, homemade chicken soup! Here are some great tips to make that chicken stock a very delectable and vitamin packed stock. This goes for any stock whether it be veggie, chicken, beef and so on. Very Eco friendly and let nothing go to waste kind of tip.
Did you ever wonder why some homemade soups taste so much better then others?? Veggie scraps. Yup, you heard me right, veggie scraps :) When preparing any veggies, keep all of the skins when peeling carrots, potatoes, ends from squash, celery ends, lettuce cores, and even onion skins with roots you get the idea. Just make sure that the veggies are scrubbed and cleaned first before you begin the prepping process to use so that you do not have any dirt or grit in the veggie scraps. Sounds kinda strange I know but it make a huge difference in your stocks. The only two veggie skins that I do not use are peppers and beet. I only use beet skins when I'm not looking for a clear broth. I keep them separate from the rest. What I do is anytime I'm preparing fresh veggies, I scrub, clean cut, peel then get a freezer ziplock bag and throw the skins in the bag and put into the freezer. I just keep adding to the bag until full then start another with dates on them.
When it comes time to make a stock, I pull my veggie scrap bag out of the freezer and put the contents into the pot filled with filtered water. Today I'm making a chicken stock with what I have handy. I have 4 bags of veggie scraps, most are asparagus from the spring harvest, one bone in chicken breast and 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts. I try and make the best of what I have in stock ;) I like the FIFO method. First in first out. I do not make special trips to the store because if you can make some of the best dishes with what you have on hand. Getting back to the stock. All 4 bags of veggie skins go into a big stock pot. I then add the chicken, about 8 whole peppercorns, 2 bay leaves, 2 T of concentrated chicken stock bouillon for added depth. Spice to your taste. I put the covered pot on the stove on medium temp. When the pot comes to temperature, of flame or heat source, lower to let simmer for about 2-3 hours. This will get the most flavors from all of what you have in pot. You need to just slowly simmer flavors out. When you have finished this process, strain the contents of your stock pot into a big bowl or another pot. Sift through for the meat if you are using it and put aside. You now have a great stock. You can use right away, or you can save in freezer ready containers. If you save for later, put stock into containers and let cool to room temp. before putting lid on and freezing. And, always leave at least 1 inch from stock to top of container for freeze expansion. I personally make a huge pot of soup and freeze afterwords. Of course I label everything with the date made and what kind of stock made. K, so that is the stock portion. :) Sounds and looks rather lengthy to me, but really very simple. Can't wait to tell you what I make with it! I hope that this can help you become the best soup maker ever! Your family will love it!
Recap, veggies scraps to freezer into stock :) See, it's easy! You can do it too!
BTW! I've taught my sisters this tip. Interestingly enough, one of my sisters was embarrassed of having the scraps in her freezer thinking OMGosh, what are my guests going to think! My response was, "umm, that you know how to make a great stock?" I hope this helps you make the best stock ever!