Monday, May 16, 2016

Vegetable Insta-Stock

​I live in Colorado, where farmers markets abound, and cook with a lot of fresh produce, but I've never quite known how to make the most out of my kitchen scraps. All those herb stalks, onion ends, celery leaves, mushroom stems, carrot tops and ginger peels add up to a lot of organic waste in the trash. Now, if I gardened or was allowed to compost (bears abound in Colorado, too), that would solve the issue, but my thumb is black. 

Homemade stock, on the other hand, now that's something I've always aspired to make because it not only makes use of something I'd otherwise toss, the flavor of homemade stock can also make a huge difference to the quality of your cooking. Now, I say I aspired to make stock, because while it's not perhaps difficult, the process can be an undertaking, with many hours spent watching a pot. And, well, I never got around to it, until...

Until there was a shortcut in the form of my new Instapot IP-DUO60 Series pressure cooker, which made stock so easy. I'll never again throw all those precious organic scraps away. Instead, I save all those tops and ends and stems in the freezer in a gallon-sized freezer bag. When the bag is full, I make a new batch of stock, and I always have bright, flavor-packed stock on hand to elevate any dish I make to another level. 

Notes: Avoid or minimize bell pepper scraps, which tend to overwhelm in flavor. For a clearer stock, avoid onion skins. Otherwise, feel free to experiment with which veggies' flavors you enjoy in your stock. While this recipe is for a purely vegetarian stock, feel free to add meat scraps and/or pieces (for example, chicken trimmings or wings) alongside your produce scraps. 

Vegetable Insta-Stock
​By Kate J.

1 - 1 1/2 gallon bags of frozen vegetable scraps (see above)
2 teaspoons sea salt (or to taste)
6 peppercorns
2 bay leaves

Place directly into the Instant Pot, no need to thaw. The Instant Pot's preheat will handle the cold vegetables without a problem. 

Fill the pot with water to maximum, 6 quarts. Add salt, peppercorns and bay leaves. Give the mixture a quick stir. 

Check the seal, securely close the lid, set valve to SEAL, and select the SOUP function. Set the time to 22 minutes and allow the cycle to begin. 

When the cycle is complete, cancel the KEEP WARM. Allow the pot to return to normal pressure on its own — though you can begin to release it after 10 minutes if you're in a hurry. 

Once the stock is completely cool, strain the stock through a mesh colander to remove all the scraps and spices. Then transfer the stock to airtight containers. 

Keeps 7-10 days in the fridge and several months in the freezer. 

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