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Waste not, want not & a recipe for homemade stock

When you’re a kid, you don’t really think of all it takes to have a family and run a household. We never wanted for anything growing up, but looking back on it now, its because my parents both worked very hard and made smart financial decisions that allowed us to not ever know a birthday or Christmas that wasn’t filled with celebration and gifts.

As I got older, I scoffed at my mom clipping coupons and buying store-brand foods, vowing one day, I wouldn’t do the same. Well, fast-forward to today, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

I hate for food to go to waste. Hate. We belong to a CSA and get fresh vegetables and fruit in season, so there is a lot of chopping and vegetable scraps that would go to waste if I didn’t have a plan for them. When we lived in south Georgia, we had a compost pile and would put our peelings on that, but since moving to the north Georgia mountains, we have stopped composting because of our neighbors, the bears.

I am not afraid of black bears, mind you, but I respect all wildlife and have seen a bumper sticker around town that says “A fed bear is a dead bear.” Basically, bears are lazy and will forage for scrapes of food, be it your trash can, compost pile or camp site — recall the old Yogi Bear cartoons where Yogi would hide out in the campground and steal pick-a-nick baskets.

Co-existing with wildlife is important to us and respecting nature and not attracting wildlife to our home by feeding them is a huge part of who we are. With that in mind, here is a recipe procedure, of how to use your vegetable (and chicken) scraps.

Best quality chicken & vegetable stock

Get a gallon size freezer zip bag or reusable container and as you cut and peel
Garlic, onions, carrots, celery, okra, green beans, tomatoes, squash, eggplant, etc. — anything but cruciferous vegetables, they make stock skunky, put the scraps and end pieces in the bag.
Also, apple and pear cores and peelings are good additions
Chicken parts, like necks, skins, backs, wings, etc.
I have left out the chicken before when cooking for vegetarians and its equally yummy.

Keep this bag and its contents in the freezer. When its full, add it to your largest stockpot and add a big handful of fresh herbs if you have them. I usually have oregano and rosemary. Fill up the pot completely with cold water and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Turn the heat down to a nice easy simmer and leave uncovered, cook for 3-4 hours and turn the heat off, cool a bit and strain the stock.

If you have 4 legged kitchen helpers like we do, pick through and find some yummy chicken pieces, watching for tiny bones, and make your hounds happy that you are a thrifty cook

Today, mine made 4 quarts of nutrient-rich and flavorful stock. Usually I freeze it, but since I bought a gigantic candy roaster winter squash, I will refrigerate my stock and use it this week to make soup

Making homemade stock is easy, let me know how yours turns out and show me some pictures on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.