Veggie Stock – Fast, Easy and Cheap

October is hug a vegetarian month. Bring me my hugs right now people!

In celebration of this lifestyle, and because I feel it is my personal calling to keep the domestic arts from being crushed under the behemoth weight of the drive-through window, I’m going to share how to save money by making your own vegetable stock.

It bugs me that chicken stock costs so much less than vegetable stock. I personally value the life of a chicken more than the life of a carrot, so I think that vegetable stock should cost less. But then, the capitalists didn’t ask me. . .

To keep from reinforcing the grocery industry for over-charging for vegetable stock, I am now making my own at home. You need a slow cooker, which, in my opinion, is one of humanity’s greatest invention, rivaling sliced bread and indoor plumbing.

To prepare stock, I toss together the following ingredients in my slow cooker and then I allow it to cook on low all night. It is pleasant to wake up to the aroma of soup filling your home, and in the fall and winter I love to welcome people to my home with the smell of home cooking. The next morning, I strain out the vegetables (press on them gently to release the juices) and then I feed the potatoes and carrots to my dogs so nothing is wasted. I use the stock in recipes like French Onion Soup, Quinoa Corn Chowder and other favorites. The recipe is very flexible, so toss in what you have on hand. When I compare the cost of an onion, potato, carrots and a few dried herbs to 4 to 5 dollars for 32 ounces of stock, I feel like I am budgeting my resources well by making my own. Plus this recipe tastes a lot better than the store-bought variety, has less sodium and is MSG-free.

Recipe:
one scrubbed potato quartered
one carrot (or a handful of baby carrots)
celery stick
2 quartered onions (sans top, bottom and skin)
½ t peppercorns
a bay leaf
1T soy sauce
Some recipes call for a little bit of torn up nori – a seaweed sheet – I haven’t tried it but it sounds good
½ t salt
Anything else you have on hand that sounds good
Enough water to almost fill your slow cooker. Mine holds about 8 cups. If yours holds more, use more ingredients.

Happy stock making! I’ll share some stock-using recipes in the coming weeks.

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