Garden, Plant, Cook!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Homemade Dried Vegetable Stock/Bouillon

Dear Folks,

The sun dried apples are done, on to my next sun drying project a Vegetable Stock/Bouillon Powder.

First step find a recipe!

I discovered that there are all sorts of homemade stock/bouillon recipes out there, but a lot of them had things in them I did not like.  Many "vegetable" version called for dried beef or chicken bouillon as an ingredient.

I suppose I could grind up some of my dry cured salami but that was not what I was looking for.

I wanted a vegetable and herb powder to add to soups, stews, pasta / grain water or even salad dressings.

As I was looking at all the recipes I did not want, when my "Duh" moment hit.  What I was looking for was a vegetable stock recipe - but dried.

After looking at a few stock recipes (Martha had some good ideas but added a potato - later I thought).  Other basic stock recipes cautioned against adding garlic as part of the base.  Martha also cautioned against using any of the broccoli family as it may bring an off taste to the base (I did throw a couple of curly kale pieces in my recipe below).

So looking over what I had in the garden I decided on the ingredients below.  Although bay leaf is always added to soups and stews I chose to use some conehead thyme (an herb with a  flavor mix of savory, thyme and oregano) as a replacement.  When I use the mix later I can always add a bay leaf.  I grow bay.  I have a huge tree.  However it is very difficult to get it ground really well that does not result in sharp pieces, e.g., I always opt to use bay whole (except when I cure meats during the curing process I crush up the bay but remove all later on).

Day 1

Vegetable Stock Base - Dried 
Young red onion (roasted on the grill)
Red and green celery young stalks and leaves
Green bell pepper
Greens: sorrel, red leaf lettuce, curly kale
Conehead Thyme

Ratios are approximate - I used about 50% more carrot than the onion and celery (equal amounts of those).  For the herbs and greens about the amount called for in a recipe for soup or stew 5-6 sprigs total.

About greens in this mix - I wanted things which could add their own flavor and possibly a little bulk.

I thought these would take a day or two to dry completely and then use my bullet grinder to reduce to powder and store to use as needed.

We grilled the other day and I threw some of our young red onions on - had left over so I think the smoky flavor of the grill will add to the overall flavor of the mix.

Some of the combination is based on my Herb Soup recipe where all of the flavors of lettuces and herbs creates an incredible mix of layered flavors.(I posted the recipe at the Valley Permaculture Site.) 

Day 2

You can see in the picture how much most the veggies and herbs shrunk (about 5 hours in our 97 degree temp).  The onions and carrots took a little more than the 5 hours. (You want them bone dry.)
Day 3
I actually ground them today (the 31st) - I just did not get to it yesterday.  This is about a 1/4 cup of final powder and the flavor is AWESOME - I love how this turned out.  Because of the celery (particularly the red variety which tends to hold more natural sodium than the green) the mix tastes like it has salt added.

It will be easy to adjust salt and anything else I want to add when using this mix like, bay leaf, garlic or shallots (there is no pepper spice in it for instance).  Just a nice basic veg and herb mix for flavoring anything that a bouillon powder would be used for and it will keep for a long time in my dark pantry.

So my dear readers - don't buy store bought if you are growing vegetables and herbs - make your own "solar powered" soup and stew base.


-- Catherine, The Herb Lady