"Trash Soup"/aka simple homemade vegetable stock


Know how sometimes perfectly legitimate words or names just give you the giggles? If you're a Daily Show fan, you'll know it's so with John Stewart, in respect to a certain Republican presidential candidate's surname. Such is the case, too, for two friends who shall presently remain nameless, in case they'd prefer it that way, and the name "Poudre" (as in Canyon). And I'm guessing most people can at least appreciate a momentary giggle-urge effect when it comes to the word titillating. You don't need an official definition to intuit that the ripe, ticklish sounding word is associated with excitement and/or stimulation. In most cases, you'd expect it to crop up in conversation and text fairly exclusively in the context of the sensuous or risqué; at the very least, something edging on illicit. Yet lately I can't seem to keep that word from popping into my brain in relation to what I equally can't fight referring to as "Trash Soup". Of course, this isn't actually Trash Soup, and further, I can't even take credit for coining the term, really. It originated when Artie explained that he didn't often make vegetable stock anymore because it kept freaking Tressa out to find bags of "trash"  (vegetable scraps) in the freezer. [By the way, a quick note on Artie and Tressa, lest I seem a little fixated on them lately: they're moving, California bound, and soon. It's a good move, and while we're very happy for them, we're also exceedingly disappointed because we'll miss them terribly, but I'll leave it at that for now. ]

I suppose putting it out there that I'd term something as basic and easy as making vegetable stock as titillating really does little to help any quest for coolness I might have, and it's probably old hat to you, anyway. But if it happens to be new, or something you'd forgotten but think worth renewing, trust me, it really does feel pretty awesome. It's kind of like a distant, very plain but fun to be around cousin of the water cycle, in that every time it sort of self-perpetuates. I read about adopted the method after reading this brilliant article about reducing packaged foods (both sustainable and healthy), which took me to this super food blog, Poor Girl Eats Well, which shared this awesome post by Poor Girl's friend Andrew on scrappy stock making, and in turn directed me to his fab blog, Eating Rules.  All of these are really good reads you should definitely check out. If you're just itching to get started on making your own homemade Trash Soup and have not a moment to lose, however, here's the basic method:

  1. Save vegetable scraps in a gallon-sized freezer bag whenever you cook. Think flavors that won't impart too distinct a taste (broccoli, for example, best in small quantities). Great choices include carrot and potato peelings, bell peppers and greens.
  2. When the bag's full, boil up a sauce pot about halfway  with water. Add in the scraps, and bring back to boiling. This is a good time to add seasonings--sea salt, pepper, bay leaves, etc...
  3. Reduce heat and simmer your scraps about 2o minutes. remove big scraps with a slotted spoon, then pour through a strainer into another pot.
  4. Cool to room temperature, and measure out into freezer-safe containers for later use.

This process takes very little hands-on time, keeps toxic BPAs at bay, and is far more economical and nutritious than buying packaged stock. Even the low-sodium versions often still pack walloping doses, for instance. And one of the best parts is, once you've made your stock and start to use it, you'll automatically regenerate a fresh supply of veggie scraps as you cook. I'd even bet you'll find it titillating, too.