You know this story don’t you? A hungry traveller entertains a village woman by showing her how to make soup from a stone. She and the interested villagers supply him with a pot, water, and all the makings of a fine soup.
They all feast afterwards, and the traveller makes a present to the woman of the smooth white pebble, with which she is very satisfied. It’s a fine story of community sharing and hospitality.
I have another way of making soup from nothing- or what might otherwise be thrown out. It started first with the Vegetarian Epicure’s potato peel soup. As the child of depression era parents, I love to save everything. I often cooked and ate the potato peel along with the rest because it seemed wasteful not to. When I found this recipe, I began to peel potatoes and save the scraps in the freezer. When I had enough, I would make a soup.
This satisfied my thrifty nature, and it wasn’t long before I began to save carrot peelings, broccoli stems, and whatever other scraps I would otherwise throw out. It all made fine broth. One day I read with interest an article in Vitality Magazine about onions, and using their skins to make a tea that is antibacterial and antiviral. Recipes for broth often called for a whole onion, and I had wondered whether I should peel them. (I always had, now I don’t)
You guessed it, I began to save the peelings of onions along with the other scraps! If there are a lot, it turns the broth a lovely red colour. (Do not make broccoli soup with this, it turns brown.) But the broth will not taste super oniony.
Now, I had learned to make chicken soup from my mother, but I only made it when I roasted a turkey or large chicken which wasn’t often. Then one summer I was visiting mom and she served chicken thighs. As we cleaned up, she put the bones in a bag in the freezer. It had never occurred to me to do this. Now, into my scrap bag goes every bone from any meal!
Cooking up the scraps used to be reserved for days I knew I could tend the pot for a few hours, until my dear friend Rebecca of Karma spirit shared her way- the crock pot. Now I just dump the scraps in, fill with water, add salt and walk away until I smell it. One of those celebrity chefs said never to let a broth cool at room temperature or it will sour, so in the winter it goes outside to the porch as soon as I`ve strained it. In warm weather I pour into smaller containers and put it straight in the freezer.
So Voila! Soup, and I didn’t even need a stone! Now I often buy beef bones too, since I seldom have those, and when it`s cold outside, we warm ourselves with homemade soup. I look forward to sharing those recipes with you soon!
Frances Adamson teaches yoga in Oshawa- 279 Central Park Blvd. N