Getting Better All the Time

A few years ago, Pete and I started saving beef bones, chicken, duck and turkey carcasses and all sorts of vegetable ends for stocks. During the winters, when everyone stays home and farts, simmering stocks humidify the house and freshen up stale smells. During the summer, though, simmering stocks and boiling them a second time to jar in New Jersey tends to make a body feel sweaty and homicidal. We needed stocks for good meals and to make the most of our hard-won resources, so skipping the step and moving directly to the cocktail hour was out of the question. We needed a better system.

Shrimp stock, vegetable stock, still steaming.

Shrimp stock, vegetable stock, still steaming.

During the summers, we freeze our ends, bones and carcasses. Once the weather cools off, we make stocks, use some and pressure can the rest. Our house is more humid and smells better. No one is extra-murdery. We make excellent use of expensive foodstuffs, first in a meal, then in leftovers, then in stocks. If the stock is vegetarian, the used vegetables can go into the composter to later enrich our soils and gardens. Today, we jarred three quarts of shrimp and three more of vegetable stock. Our future meals will be better. The house smells far less farty than in other Decembers. It’s a total win-win. Bonus: soup!

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