Homemade vegetable stock is easy to make and great to have in your arsenal to create nutritious meals in a pinch. A cornerstone of many vegetarian dishes, a good vegetable stock can be the base for soups, stews and sautes. Freeze homemade vegetable stock so you have it on hand in various proportions to use in your everyday cooking. Once you get in the habit of making and freezing this flavorful addition, you will appreciate just how easy it is to keep a steady supply of vegetable stock on hand.
Vegetable Stock Basics
Make vegetable stock easily using leftover scrap pieces of vegetables, including onions, celery, carrots, herbs and a variety of greens. Include the nourishing stock in hearty soups, or use it to add flavor nutrition to rice and other grains. Make a large portion of vegetable stock, then freeze some for later use. While homemade vegetable stock will stay safe to eat indefinitely, freezer storage of stock beyond two to three months can impart some off flavors in the finished dish.
Freeze stock in containers of many sizes. Go for a mix of quart, pint and half- pint jars, containers or bags, and be sure that whatever you are using is freezer-safe. Some wide-mouth canning jars are labeled as freezer safe and are a good choice for storing vegetable stock. For smaller portions, fill an ice cube tray full of vegetable stock, freeze it, remove the cubes and store them together in a freezer-safe bag. Using freezer-safe bags is also a good way to save space; fill them up, seal them and lay them flat in your freezer.
Vegetable stock should be slightly cooled before packing into bags, containers or jars for storage. Allow soup to cool no longer than an hour before using a ladle to pack it into your storage containers. If you are using an upright storage container, be sure to leave an inch of headspace to accommodate for expansion. Seal the containers, jars or bags, and label them with the date and name of the item. Cool completely in the refrigerator before arranging the vegetable stock containers in the freezer.
For the best quality, store stock in the freezer for no longer than three months. Make a batch regularly to replenish your supply and ensure that you always have some on hand. Thaw vegetable stock in the refrigerator overnight. Or run cool water over the bottom of the container, remove the frozen stock and heat it in a saucepan. Once thawed, use vegetable stock within three to four days for best quality and safety.
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- The Ball Blue Book of Canning and Preserving
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Freezing and Food Safety
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Basics for Handling Food Safely
Based in Portland, Ore., Maxine Wallace is a writer with more than 12 years of experience. With a bachelor's degree in journalism and experience working on marketing campaigns for large media agencies, she is well-versed in multiple industries including the Internet, cooking, gardening, health, fitness, travel and holistic living.