Buying organic anything can get pricey but for my family I feel that it is an important step in getting the most from our food for our bodies. We have learned to be more diverse in our veggies, eating what is in season and freezing veggies we can't live without for other seasons, at least that is how we keep our cost down. But the best way I have found to really feel like my money is going as far as it can is by saving the peels, ends and stems in the freezer for when I make stock. Making stock will make you feel like your meat money it's going a little further too, especially if you are buying pasture raised chickens and grass fed beef like I hope you are.
Our freezer is always full of stock. I cook with it all the time and there are many reasons why you should make your own. 1. it is so much cheaper then the stuff from the store 2. you control the ingredients 3. the ingredients you put in can make your stock a power house of nutrition for your family 4. the gelatin from your homemade stock helps keep the flue away from your family and 5. it is supper easy.
I use my crock pot to make stock I just throw in my ingredients fill the pot with filtered water and turn it on low and let it cook until the veggies are mush, strain and freeze in 2 cup baggies. That was the very simple explanation of what I do but I actually put some thought into what I put in. What ever you put into your stock not only enhances the taste but the vitamin and mineral content of the stock and in the winter that really counts especially when your house is hit with colds and flues. So when ever I'm cooking and there are ends left from my organic broccoli, celery, carrots etc. I put them in to freezer bags and put them into the freezer for the next time I make stock. My favorite veggie to save is asparagus ends. I buy tons of asparagus in the spring to have for the winter and as I'm preparing them for the freezer I also blanch the ends and put them in a separate bag just for my stock. It gives the stock great flavor plus asparagus is full of vitamins you can read about that here. Garlic, oregano, and rosemary are also essential as far as my stock is concerned all of them have healing properties especially in dealing with cold and flue.
So the next time you are making dinner or preserving veggies remember to save your ends peals and tops for the next time you make stock. You could also use them to make a vegetable stock as well.
Another way I have been stretching my organic veggies is to save the seeds. We were not able to have a garden this year but next year I plan on having a large one. Seeds are cheaper then starts but even though seeds are not expensive I figured why not just save the seeds from the organic produce I have been getting from my farmers market. It's easy to save seeds but you do need to remember a couple of things 1. the produce can't be GMO which means the seed have been genetically altered and may not reproduce. 2. the seeds need to be dry before you store them and 3. they need to be stored in a cool dark place.
So what I did is each time I wanted to save the seeds I put the seeds on a dry cloth on a plate to dry. Then I put them in a labeled Ziploc bag and put the Ziploc into a container that won't let light in and put it into the frig. It has been that easy and come spring I should be all set to grow my garden.
I hope these tips help. If you have any other helpful tips please share.
This post is apart of Simple Lives Thursday.