Taking & making stock

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Maybe it’s my utilitarian bent, but there’s something i find exhilarating about ‘cleaning up the garden’ right around the break of fall.

On a good year, mid-september is about the time i’ve finally had my fill of fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and melons. it’s when the tentative chill of evening and early morning reawakens a taste for warming meals; soups, risottos, braised vegetables…You know, comfort food.

Let’s face it, in september the veggies in the garden (or your local farmer’s market) are certainly no spring chickens anymore.

They may look a tad less precocious than they did in their youth but, They still got good flavor. And that’s exactly what i’m looking for in a good vegetable stock. you?

and yes it’s true that the making of vegetable stocks is a wonderful way to ‘clean up the garden’ or to take advantage of the dwindling farmer’s market prices, and of course to give meaning and purpose to those vegetables about to enter mid-life but,

i would make it regardless of those things because having delicious vegetable stock is essential in my kitchen (and will be in yours too if you give it a try) throughout the winter months. it adds depth and deftness when making all the things i want to eat when it’s cold outside.

(and i don’t know about you, but i certainly don’t feel inspired to make stock with vegetables sold for top dollar and flown in from who knows where).

so take stock of your garden or your farmer’s market this month and make stock!

here are my two essentials, with these i can make just about any dish or soup – east or west. i freeze them in quart containers and ice cubes (which i place in freezer bags once frozen in trays for 24 hours). the quarts i use for soups, risottos and the like, and the cubes i use whenever a burst of flavor is needed in braises, sauces, beans, stir-frys, etc. they will last well in the freezer for a good 6 months.

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