I've been trying to make more foods from scratch and put them in the freezer or can them so I can still enjoy the homemade goodness when I don't have the time to make something. Last summer I canned a lot of salsa, marinara sauce, and taco sauce to use throughout the year. I also made soft pretzels, vodka sauce, chicken ragu, manicotti, and a few crock-pot meals to store in the freezer. These are great for nights when I'm running late or have a lot of baking to do.
One thing I've been wanting to make is my own stock. I've made chicken stock before but I've never made vegetable stock. I don't like the taste of the vegetable stock cubes. I'm not sure what it is about them but they are salty and disgusting.
I was cleaning out the refrigerator last weekend and was looking hard at my vegetables. They weren't quite ready to be thrown away but they weren't fresh enough to eat raw. That's when I decided it would be great to use them in a homemade vegetable stock. As long as you have onions, garlic, carrots, and celery, you can use just about any other vegetable you want in this stock. I happen to have peppers and green beans that needed to be used so I threw them in as well.
I found a great recipe where the vegetables are roasted first which really brings out their flavors. Then they are simmered in a pot of water and then strained out to make the stock. I was very happy with both the color of the stock and the taste of it. It was so much better then store bought stock and there are no preservatives in it. There is also very minimal salt in the stock. I ended up using some that night and filling three bags for the freezer.
Homemade Vegetable Stock (adapted from Food Network)
1 T. olive oil
2 large onions, quartered
2 large carrots, quartered (or a half bag of baby carrots)
8 garlic cloves, crushed
2 green pepper, cut into quarters
4 celery stalks, cut in half
1 c. green beans
1 large sprig thyme
1 large sprig rosemary
2 bay leaves
6 whole black peppercorns
1 t. salt
3 quarts water
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. In a large bowl toss the vegetables and garlic with the olive oil. Spread on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes, turning once during baking.
3. Remove the vegetables from the oven and place in a large stockpot along with water, thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, peppercorns, and salt. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer.
4. Cook for 2-3 hours or until the stock has reduced to 8 cups.
5. Strain the stock catching the liquid in a large pot. Discard the vegetables. Pour the stock into containers and freeze for later use.