Simple Vegetable Stock

When I first read about saving vegetable pieces to make a stock, I thought it was a great idea and decided to try it out. I started by keeping a ziplock bag in my freezer with a few vegetable ends or peels. Then I forgot about it for many, many months. That bag haunted me when I would find it in the freezer after doing some deep digging. I finally did fill up the bag and made my first vegetable stock from scratch. It was so easy and cool! However, it wasn’t easy to remember to start a new pile in the freezer. Flash forward a few years into being a home cook, and I’m much much better about remembering to save any aromatics for a future stock. There is usually a glass jar keeping the odds and ends contained, and it doesn’t take too long to fill up considering I eat most of my food at home. Currently I am using a plate to pile items onto and am not too worried about keeping it covered. I was having issues with my glass jars filling up too fast or not accommodating the odd leek top very well.

There is probably an official formula for this, but I will never follow that. There are some general guidelines about which vegetables are the best to use, and those are the ones I choose to keep for future stocks. Onions, celery, carrots, cilantro and parsley stems, herb stems, and mushroom stems are all my favorites. I often use my onion ends for flavoring a pot of beans, so it can take a while to have enough onions to make stock. I used approximately 4 cups of very loosely packed vegetables for this version.

I use my largest pot (aka stock pot) and just fill it up with water and all my frozen vegetable ends. I leave some room for simmering and bubbles. Then I just turn the heat up all the way until it reaches a boil, then turn it down to simmer for about 40 minutes. during the simmering, I add a fair amount of salt, about 2 Tablespoons.

Here I used sea salt from the bulk bins at WinCo and stored in a vintage Ball jar.

You can see the stock is turning a rich brown color and the vegetables really lose any vibrancy they once had.

I use a slotted spoon to scoop as much as I can into a colander, and compost those veggies. I let it drain for maybe an hour while the stock cools as well.

Here is the stock, looking rich, and smelling delicious.

It perfectly filled 3 quart size jars, which I am careful to not fill all the way up so they can be placed in the freezer for future use. They really did not break in the freezer, I promise.

It’s honestly one of the easiest things to make, barely requiring a stir. I will use this with soup, risotto, and maybe rice. Now if I can find package free rice noodles, I will write up how I make vegan phò chay.

Peace and love,

Kristan

Crochet Soap Saver

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There’s an untold amount of pleasure experienced by using up all the last bits of something old and getting to use something new. In this case, it’s a bar of soap. I love using bar soap in the bath and shower, and I usually like to get a different type of scent each time I go to buy a new bar. I love cutting my own at my local health and herb shop. I get to smell and touch the soap before purchasing, which is also underrated.

These tiny pieces are difficult to wash with and often get lost in a bathtub. I knew that soap savers existed, but didn’t think it was necessary until this last go around. There are hoards of patterns to be found online. The one I used can be found free of charge here.

Mine did not end up looking like the one pictured, but it will do the job. It can also double as your regular shower scrubby.  I haven’t crocheted in a long time as I have been enjoying knitting more. This was done with 100% USA grown cotton, which is what makes sense for a shower tool.

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I can hang it on my ring in the shower to let it dry between uses. I didn’t make it very big because I didn’t want to put a whole piece of soap in there, just scraps.

It honestly took me about an hour to make, and like I said, I am out of practice.

Give it a try if you like, or if you are really interested, leave me a comment and we could arrange something.

Peace and love,

Kristan