Monday, December 31, 2012

Taking stock and making stock

Another year is drawing to an end, and the promise of a new one lies in tomorrow's sunrise. There's always something awe-some in the cycling through of days, the sun's full rotation around the earth, the coming of another day, etc etc etc. It's a time when we start to look at our lives—where we've been and where we're going—make plans, make amends, and reflect.

For me, this usually means thinking about regrets I've had, and telling myself it's time to take risks, make new habits, try new things.

This weekend I tried a new thing, for instance. Something simple, nourishing, warming, perfect. Something that will quickly become a Thing I Do All the Time™, and a regular part of everyday life.

I made my own vegetable stock.

In preparation for this moment, a week or two ago I started saving all of my vegetable scraps: Onion skins and root ends, the knobby bit of carrot leftover, squash skin peeled off before baking, herb stems, fennel tops. I collected them all in a Tupperware container, labeled "VEG STOCK SCRAPS" and tucked off into a corner of the freezer, just waiting.

Today, the wait was over. Into a stock pot when a bit of chopped onion, some spices I like, and the veg bits I'd collected. Warmed through and brown, I added eight cups of water, bringing the whole mess to a boil and then a nice gentle simmer. An hour later, the liquid had turned lovely onion-skin brown and was reduced by a cup or more. I strained out the veg mass, jarred up the liquid, labeled it with the date, and put some in the freezer. (The rest was used to make quinoa for tonight's dinner.)

A simple thing. A warming thing. A savory smell filling the house, while snow quietly falls outside. An easy way to say goodbye to one year, and hello to the next.

Happy New Year, friends, and here's wishing you a fine use for all your leftover veggie ends, and a healthy start to 2013.


  1. Happy New Year! I think, after all of the season's revelry, we could all use a little veggie stock in our lives...

  2. Agreed! Happiest New Year to you, too, TKW: Here's hoping 2013 is a little less... interesting for both of us.

  3. i did this too, only it was chicken stock. we keep a gallon size ziplock bag in the freezer to collect the bones and veg scraps (i also use celery fronds that i never eat but hate wasting, as well as mushroom stems). throw all into a crock pot, with a handful of peppercorns, maybe an anise star and cinnamon stick and leftover herbs that i never use (sage being one of them) and leave it overnight. it's a warm & cozy feeling to wake up the next morning and the abode is smelling so lovely.

    happy new year!! hope to see you around more in 2013!


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