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Preparing for the Good Food Box


Greetings!
So I've officially resumed my bi-weekly subscription to our local CSA, here called the "Good Food Box."
I will post tomorrow with photos of my newest haul & some of the past ones I hadn't yet mentioned. :)

But today, however, is the day I prepare for such a large influx of produce. I need to sort out what I already have and somehow "deal with it."  Today's cleanup was very simple. I still had the celeriac from the last box,  some limp celery, and some onions nearing their end.

Now I'll introduce what I typically do with leftover and scrap veggies.
I freeze them.
Yeah, nearly all of them. Now.
I always froze onions, celery, and peppers. Onions & peppers mostly for convenience, celery because for awhile I just couldn't use it all (though that is less of a problem these days with kids who like celery for a snack).  I used to immediately chop and freeze half of my celery. It still works well in any cooked dish (casseroles or soups, for example). Now I have a different approach. When/if I have celery that is a bit limpy, it's time to freeze it.
Here's what I do with the celery.
  1. Chop off the very bottom, pull all the stalks apart and wash them.
  2. Cut the stalks to about 4 inches long and freeze those for stuffing inside a roast chicken. 
  3. Tear off all the leaves and toss or compost (or if you're really feeling thrifty, dry them...)
  4. Put remaining bits and pieces into a giant freezer bag.


Now, this giant freezer bag: I recently started keeping one in my freezer for collecting all manner of veggie scraps. Onion ends (and outer peels - but not the papery part), carrot ends and peels, the aforementioned celery bits, garlic bits, whatever else might normally get tossed.  This gets used for veggie stock/broth (or parts tossed in with some chicken bones for chicken stock).

While clearing out my veggies today I realized my bag was too full to close,  so I thought it might be a good time to make some stock.



There are many bloggers and articles that describe this idea in better detail. I'm still pretty new at making veggie stock (I've done plenty of basic chicken stock).  I'm still not sure what works best, which veggies & bits I find I prefer to leave out... that sort of thing. As mentioned earlier, I leave out the leaves of the celery. Some say that they add a bitter taste, though others don't seem to mind using them. Also, the papery onion skins: some say leave them out, some say leave them in. I read that the reason to leave them out is that they darken your stock. Well, I don't mind a little dark so I left a few in. And plenty of these writers include potato skins. I'm not sure that sounds so delicious to me, so I only kept a few. I also had some bits of red and green peppers, zucchini ends, and celeriac (probably too much of that).

I dumped the entire bag's contents into my crockpot. I already had at least one entire onion and plenty of celery, so the only thing I added were a couple of smashed garlic cloves and water to cover.



I let this simmer all day. Well, from noon 'til 10. Then I scooped the veggies into a colander, pressed them to get as much juice out as possible, and tossed them! What was left was a nice dark stock (which I ran through a mesh sieve).  I will simmer it some more to reduce it before I freeze it. Might also pour it through a coffee filter. That will come tomorrow.

Along with a mountain of fresh produce. At least, I hope it's a mountain.
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