Today I’m going to teach you about my stock pile. No, I don’t mean the kind of stock pile some have in their basements that contains 87 deodorants, 33 cans of Aqua Net hairspray, 95 tubes of Crest, 14 bottles of Listerine, 112 Boxes of Uncle Ben’s Rice and 29 boxes of Froot-Loops cereal as a result of some recently developed mad coupon collecting skills. Although that kind of stockpile is very impressive, yet incredibly disturbing, that’s not what we’ll be chatting about today.
What Is A Stock Pile?
A stock pile is a lovely collection of each and every little carrot nub, parsley leaf, mushroom stem, carrot peel that you slice, every celery leaf that you toss away because you have no idea why celery even has leaves, and the top of every onion that you don’t use when you’re making your Aunt Hazel’s famous onion dip. When I prep for meals I usually have two bowls on my counter with me. I used to just have one. I called it my garbage bowl. And for the record, I was using a garbage bowl LONG before dear Rachael Ray. Just had to throw that in there. So you know how special I am. Because my mother hasn’t told me in over a week, so I need affirmation. Yeah, I’m joking.
Back to the bowls– So I have two bowls on the counter with me as I mise en place. The first is for anything that will definitely be going into the trash, such as tomato seeds, eyes from my potatoes, stems, plastic wrap from my pastured beef, egg shells, etc. The second bowl are for the scraps of veggies and herbs that I don’t use for the recipe because they’re the end pieces, or the bruised, or just about on their last leg, or too small to use in a recipe.
Most people save these scraps for composting, but I say save them for stock. I can’t believe the money I used to waste tossing perfectly good veggies into a stock, while throwing away perfectly good veggie scraps each and every time I prepped a meal. Yeah, sometimes I’m a little S-L-O-W. Now that I’ve corrected the err of my ways, I stock pile these veggies. Ha! See what I did there? At any given time I always have 4 quart sized bags and 1 gallon sized bag in the freezer.
So, What’s In The Bags?
In the first bag I place all the carrot pieces. I will even put carrot shavings in there. They brown slightly, but are still perfectly good. It’s only oxidation, not putrescent, so it’s safe to use.
In the second bag I will place all the celery hearts, inner limpy, pale green celery stalks, the leaves (oh so tasty for stocks!) and any piece that wasn’t good enough for a certain recipe.
In the third bag I put all onions scraps, cores, tops and NO- I don’t do the tails. I can’t bring myself to put that “hairy” end piece in my stock, so that actually goes into the garbage bowl- but the top of the onion, skin and all can go into the stock pile bag for onions.
In the fourth quart sized bag goes all the mushroom stems and sometimes if I’m feeling all French and Fancy, I’ll peel my mushrooms and save the peelings for stock. Don’t judge. A peeled mushroom is a sexy mushroom.
In the large quart sized bag I save all used chicken bones, and any ribs or back bones that I cut out when roasting a whole chicken. I also save all wings and then supplement my stock with chicken feet. Mmm, chicken feet! They are cluckalicious!
When the Stock Pile bags are full, and when I have at least 2 back bones, 8 chicken feet and 4-8 wings I’ll make a huge pot of stock. So my stock pile of veggies are for making stock. Seriously that simple! I can’t tell you how much time it saves in the kitchen when I’m getting ready to make stock. I don’t have to chop or prep any veggies. They are already in little pieces and can be frozen into the stock pot as is. Each quart bag is approximately 4 cups worth of veggies, but I rarely have more than 2 cups of mushroom stems and 3 cups of celery. I always have more carrots and onions. Sometimes closer to 1-1/2 bags of carrots and onions.
It’s not fancy, but here they are in all their frozen glory. My stock pile of veggies and a few chicken backs and misc. bones. Ready to make stock? Here is my RECIPE.