Several weeks ago Julie at PB Fingers posed a challenge to her readers- come up with some crock pot recipes during the month of January. Considering I have an ongoing love affair with my crock pot, I knew I'd have to share something. I'm cutting it close posting this on January 30, but it still counts!
There's one crock pot trick that I've been keeping to myself for awhile now.
The story begins a few years ago, when a coworker was telling me about how she throws all of her leftovers into a large Ziploc bag in her freezer and then when its full she takes it out, heats up the contents, and has a bizzarely delicious meal. Her story reminds me of my days at summer camp when every camper brought a can of something random and we dumped it into a cauldron type thing over a fire and then ate it. At the time I thought it was the coolest and most wonderful thing ever.
I don't really do that anymore, but I stole the freezer concept.
You know how Rachael Ray keeps a bowl on the counter while she's cooking and throws all of her vegetable scraps in to it? I do that too, except I don't throw out the scraps at the end of the day. Yep- they go into a Ziploc bag in my freezer.
Pepper tops, onion peels, carrot nubs, kale stems, trimmings off of green beans, corn cobs in the summer. EVERYTHING. If you have some herbs that you can't use up before they go bad, throw 'em in.
Soon you will have a lovely garbage bag of veggies in your freezer. Yum!
- Dump frozen vegetable scraps into crock pot.
- Fill crock pot with water.
- Cook on low for ~8 hours.
And now you have your own supply of vegetable stock.
I let it cool then measure it into smaller sized Ziploc bags (usually 1 or 2 cups at a time) and then lay the bags down in my freezer, stacked on top of each other. Doesn't take up much room and they are ready to go when I need one.
Remember that the stock is unsalted- you can salt it before/ during crock-potting or you just wait and salt depending on the dish you create with it.
Enjoy getting every last benefit out of your veggies and never having to pay for veggie broth again! Kills two birds with one stone, I'd say.