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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Frezzing Homemade Soups and Stock

A thread on Pinching Your Pennies today inspired me to write this post.

One of the members asked about buying cheap bones at the butcher to use for making stock. I always make stock after cooking a chicken or a turkey and then freeze it to use in a later recipe. I have never thought about the fact that you possibly could buy bones at the butcher. Here was one of the replies from PYP member Sine:

“Yes, I've bought them cheaply but it has been quite awhile. Ask the butcher for soup bones, and don't forget to ask how much they cost first. Some meat counters just have them out for sale. I think the days of getting them for free are long gone.
It might also help to be friendly with a butcher first--say hi, ask questions (How do you cook this? What is the best buy this week? etc. until he/she knows you are a regular at that store. Then maybe you'll get them cheaper. Just a thought. (A couple of weeks ago I asked what cut they use for stew meat, and the butcher told me scraps. That week stew meat was the same price as petite sirloin steaks, so the butcher told me that my stew would be way better using the petite sirloins. He also told me to use the petite sirloins for stir fry, fajitas, chili, etc., so I stocked up.)”

Take the time to get to know the people that work in your grocery store. Ask questions.

I frequently use empty plastic water bottles to freeze my homemade stocks in. They store well because they don’t take up very much space. I know there are a lot of people that do not use plastics in their homes – so just come up with something that works for you.

This is how PYP Member Lillyun stores her homemade stocks:

“I save all of my sour cream and cottage cheese containers to use for this purpose. It saves me from having to buy extra containers and if one breaks when I am thawing, no biggie, I have more. Plus many recipes call for 8-16 oz of stock anyway so they are perfect and no need to measure.”

Soups are one of those perfect things to freeze. Most soups can be cooked right out of the freezer. It’s a great meal on the days that you forget to pull something out of the freezer to thaw in the morning.

After you make the soup, allow to cool and then carefully pour into a freezer bag. Seal and place in the freezer flat to freeze, in order to save space.

When you are doing a large batch of soups or stews and you have some to freeze and use later, it sometimes seems like it takes forever to cool down, which you need to do before you put them in the freezer. Simply take any clean plastic water bottle and fill in about three quarters of the way with water, then pop it into the freezer. When you are ready to cool down your pot of soup, grab the water bottle and use it to stir your soup. The chill of the ice and the bottle will rapidly cool your soup without having to wait around. When you are done simply wash the bottle and use it again.

Another idea that I found is to freeze soups in a paper cup and then once it is frozen remove the paper cup and put the “soup cubes” in a freezer bag… then you have single servings of soups that you can quickly heat up for a quick lunch. You could just keep them in the cup and then put them in the bag – but you probably won’t be able to microwave the cups.



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