I took an old vegetable stock pot recipe and made it in the crock. I have used boxed vegetable stock since I started this project. Almost 16 quarts in 2 weeks. The box cost has been $2.19 to $2.49 per quart. I can afford it, but if stock could be made with little fuss for less, it's worth it to me. Yes, I have made wonderful stove top vegetable stock in the past by roasting the vegetables before tossing them into a stock pot. Yes, roasted veggie stocks taste the best. No, I don't want to work that hard. Neither do you. Just put all the same stuff, washed, unpeeled, in large giant chunks, into the crock. Trust me.
The nice thing about stock is aging produce remnants from the fridge are the best. I had an old apple, garlic, limp celery, and parsley in the death bin - it's usable for this. I wanted more items, so I went to the store and bought no-frills un-packaged giant bunches of carrots, celery, potatoes, onions, parsley, apples etc, as cheap as it came per pound or by ounce in large bunches. My total cost, excluding spices was under $9.00.
I used about 1/10th of this to make 8 cups of stock. I can use the rest to make 9 batches over the next 2 weeks. With all costs considered, including spices, it cost me under .50 cents a quart to make. My prep time from start to finish (including washing cutting board and taking debris outside to dump in the county yard waste bin) was 10 minutes. It cooked while I slept. I calculated the time it took to strain the stock and clean up, another 10 minutes. So for 20 minutes labor and $1 there was $5 worth of stock. I used it immediately, in the same crock, to start a double batch of Split Pea Soup for this week's Grey's family bonding night. Basically, my time was worth $12.00 an hour, tax free. Put that in your crock and cook it.
Winner, Loser or Meh
This tasted as good as any boxed stock I have used. It's a winner. I plan on making a batch, every night before bed, when stock is needed for the next day's recipe.
Basic Slow Cooker Vegetable Stock Recipe
Use a 6 quart crock pot for this
- 2 large potatoes, scrubbed, unpeeled, large chunk
- 1 apple, scrubbed, unpeeled, quartered
- 1-2 ribs celery with leaves, scrubbed, large chunks
- 2 carrots, scrubbed, unpeeled, large chunks
- 2-3 onions, peeled, quartered
- 8 peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- 10 cups cold water
Optional and nice additions anytime:
- Parsley with stems, parsnips, mushrooms, leeks (including green parts), garlic cloves crushed, scallions, sweet potatoes, winter or summer squashes.
For Asian flavor:
- Nice additions are 4-5 quarter sized slices ginger and water from soaked dried shitake mushrooms
Avoid adding strongly flavored vegetables like:
- broccoli, cabbage, turnips, eggplant, peppers cauliflower
What to do with these ingredients:
Place all ingredients in crock pot and cover with water. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-5. Strain liquid from vegetables. Press vegetables to get out as much fluid as possible. Use immediately or store refrigerated for 3-4 days or freeze.