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Vegetable stock - Why buy it?

By: Judy Davie - The Food Coach

How many of you have the occasional eureka moment in the kitchen when something so obvious dawns on you and you can't understand why you've never thought of it before?

I had one the other day about vegetable stock. For years, whenever I needed vegetable stock, I bought a good quality pack costing around $7.

The stupid thing is that I've been making chicken stock for years yet for some reason it never occurred to me to make veggie stock. I am baffled to understand why.

The other day my crisper was bulging with produce. I had big bunches of silverbeet to make spinach pie, fennel to bake in the oven with olives, the usual winter stuff like carrots, onions and celery, a very-past-it's-used-by sweetcorn cob which I was certainly not going to serve anyone, and a few mushrooms which were looking pretty sorry for themselves.

When I make spinach pie using silverbeet, I generally throw out the stalks which take up so much space in the worm farm. My eureka moment came when I was feeling irritated about how much space they took up- so too do the outer leaves and top fronds of fennel - and instead of throwing them out, I threw them in the pressure cooker with an onion, carrot, celery, some peppercorns and the past it cob of sweetcorn and mushrooms, added water and cooked it for 45 minutes. With 1 tsp salt for flavour I had 2 litres of stock, significantly less food waste for the worms and I'd saved myself around $28. It's a brilliant way to reduce food waste and create a base for a great tasting soup or casserole.

If you don't have a pressure cooker you can do the same in a slow cooker or on the stovetop in a large stock pot for an hour or so.

There are numerous benefits to making your own aside from the cost savings.

Everyone knows that for good health, health practitioners recommend we reduce the amount of salt in our diet and the recommended upper limit of sodium in the diet is 2,300 mg (which is the equivalent of about 1 tsp salt).

On checking the sodium content of a few packaged veggie stock you can see that with just 1 tsp salt in a pot of veggie stock you significantly reduce your sodium intake.

Vegetable Stock Brand Sodium content per 100 ml
Campbells540 mg
Moredough 270 mg
Massel liquid stock395 mg
Homemade 115 mg

So there you have it - my eureka moment which I wanted to share with you just in case you, like me, have been spending a fortune on something that's ridiculously easy and cheap to make yourself, and which is also much better for you.


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