Sunday, February 19, 2012

Taking a step towards real food

Im trying my darn hardest to move my household's food consumption towards eating as much homemade real food as possible, rather than weird unpronouncable, generally unedible store bought crap. This includes any and everything that I can make, and the general thought behind this is that I would rather figure all this out now than when we have children. This basically means buying and making food that you know what is in it, and most importantly NOT.

I am finding some challenges to this challenge, especially time, I find it very hard to dedicate as much time as needed to our real food conversion when I work full time and have a business on the side. Also space. In my tiny living space, I have almost no place to store everything that I can, so I have leeched space at my folks and friends' places. But its frustrating having to run elsewhere for a can of tomatoes. But still, I try to make a point out of introducing a steady flow of homemade items that were previously store-bought.

Of course, they all have to have the Hubby's stamp of approval, and that can take awhile of trial and error. BUT ANY PROGRESS IS PROGRESS, NO MATTER HOW SMALL (OR SLOW)! My most recent success is chicken broth. Ive been egging Jeff to let me do this for such a long time, but the concept kind of freaked him out (who would want to drink chicken bone juice??) and when broth is relatively inexpensive, it wasn't such a big deal anyways. But, *shocker* there's some really nasty stuff in there, and the sodium is off the roof.

Campbell's chicken stock has a whopping 1118 mg of sodium in a single cup. Health Canada reccomends a daily intake of 1500 mg. So that's about 75% of your daily intake of sodium gone in a cup of broth.

So making my own stock as a base for soups, stews, rice, and other yummy dishes was something I was keen about. And since we had just bought a few whole chickens, there was nooo reason why I shouldn't. And its so darn simple. Here is my version, but this is such an easy thing to personalize, that as long as you have the aromatic basics, you can play around with this as much as you want.

Chicken Stock

  • 1 chicken carcass (bones, skin, cooking juice, anything that you wouldnt eat, basically. Ive even read about people using chicken feet with success) equal to a medium chicken
  • 1 large carrot, unpeeled, chopped grossly
  • 2 ribs of celery, chopped grossly
  • 2 small onions, quartered
  • 1 clove of garlic, cut into two
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 1 tsp sage
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • A couple of bay leaves
  • pepper to taste
Fill your crockpot with chicken bones, aromatics, and herbs, and fill with tap water (if you have drinkable tapwater, if not, let the water sit out for 24hrs to let the chlorine evaporate) to almost the top. Simmer for 10 hours on low.

That's it. No joke.

I let mine simmer during the night, and when it was ready, I passed the whole thing through my sieve covered in cheesecloth, pressed on the solids to make sure all the juice was out, and canned the lot. My crockpot gave me almost a full 3 liters. You can keep refrigerated for two weeks or freeze. Its also a good idea to freeze some in ice cube format so you have little portions to add to cooking rice and such. Its probably the easiest 'real food' conversion yet, and seriously one of the tastiest. That broth is dark and rich with flavor that the canned sh*t doesn't even come close to.

Side note: I use broth and stock interchangeably, but from what I understand, they are different. Stock with veggies, broth without veggies. But whatevs.

Side note 2: Ive read a few articles that state that instead of using whole fresh veggies, you should just keep a Zipploc bag in the freezer and fill with onion skins, carrot peels, celery ends, etc. I think I will try that, and see how it works out.

photo source:

1 comment:

  1. I love this! I'm so going to try it. You somehow made the carcass part sound not that gross. I'm so putting that on my list of things to try out in my new place.

    Ps. the 4 1/2 is for rent next door to my new place. Extra canning space? Oh yes! :D ;)

    ps. I'm thankful for you. Jtm T1