I sent Steve out to the garden with a flashlight, a trowel, and a bucket one cold night back in November, so that he could dig up the last of our carrots before the impending hard frost. I used some of them right away and the rest I left, unwashed, in a plastic bag in the back of the 'fridge. They finally got put to use last night. I desperately needed to clean out the freezer and had two chicken carcasses taking up space. So they joined the carrots along with some past-prime celery and onion to make some yummy chicken stock. Everything just went together into a big pot, which I then filled with cold water until all was submerged. I put it over low heat (just high enough so you see a bubble come up every now and again--I'm told that if you let if actually come to a boil you'll end up with cloudy stock) and let 'er go for five or so hours. Then I strained out all the solids. The veggies went into the compost and the chicken carcasses I picked clean, coming away with enough shredded chicken to make enchilladas for two. This is what I ended up with:
Twenty-seven cups of chicken stock that just went into my freezer. I divided it into four, two, and one cup portions, since those are the incriments in which I usually need it. Before dividing, you can skim off the fat if that's something that you worry about, but I don't bother. And I could have (and probably should have) heated it longer and reduced it down further so that it would take up less room in my freezer. All in all, it would cost me about $18 to buy this much organic free-range chicken stock in the store. I made it with stuff that would have either been composted or thrown away otherwise. A total win-win.
A note about the carrots. They're a little stumpy, aren't they? They're Danvers and they're supposed to be on the short side, but I think this is a little excessive. I have horrible soil. My garden last summer consisted of about two inches of compost that I put over the clay that was already there. I put down 3 tons of compost last summer and barely made a dent. There's a long ways to go!