Wednesday, December 10, 2008

daily recommended allowance.

I know I pride myself on not eating processed foods, but I find it hard to abstain completely. One weakness is crackers, another is kettle cooked potato chips, sometimes I eat tortillas, but the biggest one? Pre-made stock. Or broth. Or some variation of salty, flavored liquid to put in soup.

I tried making stock for a while, but this is what I noticed about making stock myself:

1. It became this huge event, like Sunday would be Stock Day! Only stock isn't really that fun, it's just boiling vegetables for a few hours.
2. Since I always made vegetarian stock, I never noticed it to be that flavorful.
3. I would spend all this money on veggies and parsley but even when I made double batches, that would still only be enough for maybe two batches of soup, and dammit, I like to make a LOT of soup and it was sad to see my stock making efforts only go so far.

I talked to some friends who admitted they just used the canned stuff because it was so much easier and I said, to hell with homemade stock! I still had concerns, though - mostly regarding waste and sodium content. I solved the former problem by using bouillon cubes instead of cans or cartons. That sodium was still a concern, though. 1 cup of stock (prepared as directed) contains 35% of the daily recommended amount of sodium. Gross. So I tried to alleviate this by putting in more water than directed, figuring everything was okay.

So anyway, the other night I was prepping veggies so I could quickly throw together some lentil soup after getting back from yoga. Since I was making tea already, I figured I'd boil some extra water so I could dissolve the bouillon cubes beforehand. I came back after a while and found this:


I stared at it for a few seconds before realizing that the layer on the bottom was a CENTIMETER OF SALT. EW. I tried to make myself feel better, remembering that I was going to be adding 4 more cups of water to that, but it was a pretty frightening display of all the gross things in our food.

Now, this is the point where I'm supposed to say, "And I will never use pre-prepared soup broth EVER AGAIN!" but the truth is, it's so convenient. Also, when I actually made the soup, I added more salt immediately, so who knows if I'll ever learn. But MAYBE I'll try taking out that stock pot again. Maybe.


tim j said...

do you have a crockpot? While we usually make chicken stock, the crockpot does all the work and you can set it to go overnight/all day while you're at work. However, with the chicken you have to drain the fat, etc etc etc.

As far as pre-packaged stock, we do use some of that for recipes and such, but we specifically hunt down low-sodium or no-salt-added stocks -- however, they are incredibly hard to find in a regular grocery store and we usually stock up when we happen upon a Trader Joe's. I am fairly certain that they have a no-salt veggie stock.

e said...

I don't have a crockpot. They're so large and my kitchen is very small.

And, currently there is no Trader Joe's close enough to me but that should be changing soon. Thanks for the tip!