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Buy This Not That: Vegetable Base vs Chicken Stock

Posted by on Aug 3, 2013 in Food & Recipes | 0 comments

Buy This Not That: Vegetable Base vs Chicken Stock

Soon after I started buying better quality meat, I realized I needed to change my diet even more. My preference is to buy meat from livestock that, at minimum, was raised without antibiotics or hormones. I occasionally spring for organic. I haven’t started buying local meat yet, but at some point that will likely enter into the mix as well.

Regardless of the type of meat I was choosing to buy, by “upgrading” my eating habits, my grocery bills were growing. So I started filling my plate with more vegetables and smaller portions of meat.

In addition to keeping my grocery bills in check, the upside to this revised approach to eating is that I am lightening my environmental footprint since growing vegetables requires less energy and resources than raising livestock. Once I came to that realization, I looked for other ways to substitute vegetables for meat in my cooking.

One easy way to make meals a little heavier on plants and lighter on livestock is to substitute chicken stock with vegetable base. Using vegetable stock hasn’t significantly changed the taste of any of the dishes I make, but it does seem to enhance the flavor of dishes that are more vegetable or grain heavy, like risotto.

The change has reduced my grocery bills too. When I was using chicken broth, I would buy a 32 ounce container of organic, free range chicken broth from Trader Joe’s for $1.99. Instead, I now buy Better Than Bullion’s organic vegetable base at my grocery store and the $5.95 jar makes 300 ounces of stock. (If you’re counting, that’s about a $13 savings.) Plus, because I’m buying base instead of broth, there’s less packaging which is good for the environment and saving space in my small kitchen.

I haven’t tried this myself yet, but another option is to make your own vegetable broth using vegetable scraps or vegetables that are slightly past their prime. Freeze those vegetables until you have enough to make a stock and then boil the scraps in water with some seasoning. If you’re interested in trying it, this blog has clear directions on how to make vegetable stock and some ideas on which vegetables will work well and which won’t.

Kim is an eco enthusiast who tries to make small changes that will add up and make a difference.

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