A friend of mine says to me quite frequently that I have an impressive freezer. I come by my love of the freezer honestly as I am pretty sure if you stood still long enough, my grandmother would have stuck you in her large freezer in Mexico. She had a regular fridge and freezer, but she also had this amazing freezer in the bodega. It was gigantic. The kind of freezer you see in commercial restaurants.
She was always making things and freezing them. Then she had just the thing to pull out when guests arrived or the whole family descended for the holidays.
Ok and it may be true that I was able to pull together dinner for 4 plus a toddler with various soups that I had in the freezer on a night when I was in a terribly sour mood and cooking was the last thing I wanted to do, but I did it with ease by having a boatload of soup in my freezer.
This brings me back to my version of compost. In our complex, they do not offer a compost bin nor do we have a backyard. I am not the greenest of green, but it pains me to throw perfectly good things away. I like to keep our waste to a minimum.
Sometime this year or maybe even last year, I decided to start saving my veggie scraps. I read somewhere that you could stick them in a bag in the freezer. Then when you had enough scraps, you could make a stock. I loved this idea for a number of reasons.
1 – It is super cheap. You do not have to go out and buy new vegetables to make a stock, you can use the stuff you were gonna toss.
2 – It is nearly effortless. If you have a pressure cooker, it is even more effortless, but a plain old stock pot will work well too.
3 – One pot produces a surprising amount of stock. My most recent batch produced 3 quarts!
4 – Every batch is different as the veggie scraps are never exactly the same although I did get a tip from the chef at work today to add some dried porcinis and a Parmesan rind for extra flavor.
5 – Saving it in the freezer in 2 cup portions means when I want to throw together something for dinner that requires stock, I always have some on hand.
6 – It is so much better to eat things that are as close to nature as you can get. Veggies + water = ingredients that I can understand.
Here’s the loose recipe:
Fill pot of pressure cooker half full with frozen or fresh veggie scraps. Add a handful of dried mushrooms, porcinis work well. Add Parmesan rind. Fill with water to the fill line of the pot. Set the pressure cooker to cook on low for 90 min, then if you have time allow it to depressurize slowly for extra flavor. I use an electric pressure cooker, but I am sure any pressure cooker would work.
Oh and if you are in the market for a pressure cooker, I love the Fagor. It is an all-in-one machine for slow cooking, pressure cooking, and even cooking rice. I really appreciate devices that have multiple uses as they take up less space than having two different devices.
I introduced it to my boss and she liked it so much, she gave it to a friend as a gift. The only thing that I did not love about this machine is the non-stick pan that comes with it. Let’s just say it did not agree with the immersion blender that I tried to use to purée a soup a bit. Ummmm, pretty sure the black bits would not have been good to eat.
I found a stainless steel insert on Amazon to replace it, which works much better for me. Unfortunately, it is currently unavailable. I also invested in an extra one, so that if I want to move quickly from preparing breakfast to dinner, it is super easy.
For freezing the stock and soups, I like to use these little containers that my boss introduced me to from Crate & Barrel. They are not the sturdiest of things, reference the one that exploded when D tried to rearrange some things in the freezer where frozen pumpkin was the casualty; however they are really easy to stack and keep organized in a small freezer. Thankfully, they are also relatively inexpensive.