Brrrrr…tomorrow kicks off the start of winter and the beginning of nasty cold and flu season, less daylight hours and let’s face it, a little bit of us dies inside when that sun ain’t shining so bright!
What gets YOU through the cooler months? Aside from some fresh ‘flannies’ and being curled up in a blanket on the couch, I can’t go past a piping hot, fresh bowl of soup (any kind, I’m not biased!). And what’s the base of the best homemade hearty soups? You guessed it – fresh STOCK! Now it depends on the soup you’re making as to what stock you use as a base, but all (chicken, vegetable, beef, seafood etc.) are easy to make yourself packed full of flavour, a great way to utilise all of your produce and scraps, as well as perfect for storing until you need a hit of comfort food to thaw from the belly out.
Let me show you how easy it is to prepare and you’ll be saying goodbye to those salt-laden supermarket varieties in no time.
Firstly you need to pre-plan a little bit and instead of throwing those vegetable scraps in the bin, throw them in a zip lock bag and into the freezer. Keep adding to your stockpile of scraps until you have a full bag. Think along the lines of potato peels, onion skin, broccoli and cauliflower stems, carrot peel, garlic skin, celery…you get my drift – anything goes!
Here we have our full bag of scraps straight from the freezer and ready to go into a big pot to get simmering away.
Now all you need to do is fill your pot with water until the veggies start to float and bring up to the boil.
Keep the vegetables simmering away for 45 minutes and let your nostrils be accosted by a hearty, fresh vegetable smell. The water will now have turned a nice caramel / brown colour and be full of flavour.
Strain the stock from the scraps using a colander into a large bowl and then using a finer sieve, transfer into your chosen jars or storage method.
The stock will keep fresh in the fridge for 4-5 days and in the freezer in an air-tight container for up to 6 months.
Stock is great for not only soups but lots of other comfort foods for the cooler months – stews, gravy, risotto, pies (Shepherd’s Pie is my favourite!), casseroles, so on and so forth.
Sending you warm vibes as we kick off Winter 2017!