Food Fashion: Save In The Kitchen By Turning Your Scraps Into Stock

by - Monday, February 17, 2014

Thrifty cooks have made an art of turning leftover fragments of vegetables, meats, and seafood into tasty soup stock, and the invention of the freezer means you can reserve your stock materials indefinitely.  Koalapaydayloans.com could provide additional funds to allow you to bulk buy meat etc in order to make batches of stock, without eating into your monthly budget. Homemade stock is preferable to the pre-packaged variety in several ways:  it has superior flavour, it contains less salt, and it's far cheaper, because all of its ingredients would otherwise be tossed in the bin.

Stock ingredients

You can use one freezer bag to hold all your ingredients, or you can separate them if you want a turkey stock as opposed to a shrimp stock, for example.  Here's a list of scraps you should retain in order to prepare your own stock.

Bones and if there's still some flesh on them so much the better.  For this purpose, you should buy meat and fish with the bones left in rather than choosing cuts like boneless pork loin or fish fillets.  In fact, if you choose whole fish, you can fillet them at home, leaving yourself with the head and carcass for stock.

Those fish remnants are what Julia Child used to refer to as fish frames, and she recommended cadging them from the fishmonger after their fillets were removed.  Fish frames form the basis of a perfect stock when boiled with carrot, parsley, and tarragon.

If you buy whole chickens, you can keep any part of the chicken remaining after you harvest the parts you need for a recipe [first to go are usually the breasts and thighs, then wings], or you can pop the entire bird into your stockpot and boil.  Necks, internal organs like hearts and livers, and wing tips are all acceptable, as are the remains of other birds like turkey or duck.

Shells from raw seafood, rather than previously boiled shells.  Prawn and lobster shells make a luscious stock, as do crab shells.  The Continental method of making shell stock involves pulverising the shells, which adds a great deal of flavour but requires you to strain the result through a very fine mesh, as you would do in removing seeds from a raspberry purée.

The sieve needed to strain such a mixture thoroughly is called a chinois, and while smaller ones are cheaper it's recommended that you buy a large one in order to strain more stock at one go.  Stock straining is typically done in several rounds:  remove large chunks like whole vegetables using a colander, strain through a cheesecloth next, and finish using a chinois.

With shells, as with chicken and other birds, you'll see a scummy residue floating at the top of your pot, and you should skim it off every 15-20 minutes while boiling.

Greens.  Save all your vegetable and herb trimmings, because they are universally prized in making stock.  The more fragile herbs like cilantro, parsley, or dill require special handling to survive the freezer, and there are two ways to accomplish it.  First, you can purée herbs and freeze them in ice cube trays, or use the trays to embed herbs in olive oil.

On the photo below: Green trimmings used to add beauty on a slice of pie:

There are cautions for using beetroot, which adds pink pigment to your stock, and including cruciferous vegetables, which tend to dominate a stock's flavour but can be used by themselves to very good effect.  The cruciferous family includes cabbage and kale, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts.

Mushrooms.  Fresh mushrooms are already quite watery, but dehydrated mushrooms boil up into a rich, hearty stock.  If you can find a bulk container of dehydrated mushrooms at a good price [a restaurant supply store will have them, if you can wangle entrance], you can add a deep, meaty note to any other stock or prepare the mushrooms alone.

Scrag ends of cheese.  Use as you would mushrooms by adding their flavour to another stock or letting your cheese stock stand on its own. Ironically, many recipes for the farmhouse classic cabbage and cheese soup involve chicken stock, but your own cheese or cruciferous vegetable stock would produce a delicious harmony.

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