Several years ago, thanks to my good friend Joshua Pfeil, I picked up a copy of Preserving Food Without Freezing or Canning with the intention of gaining insight on more ways to preserve the bounty that was coming out of my garden or the Farmer's market. The book provided me with a lot of great ideas but it was one particular recipe that really drew my attention. Verdurette, or vegetable stock as suggested in the short recipe, utilized just a few vegetables, herbs, and salt to create an umami-packed bouillon in just a few weeks.
Celery and leeks are usually harvested out of our garden in early October, or whenever the threat of a killing frost is in the forecast. By that time, shorter days mean less solar gain and the use of our refrigerator comes to an end. Once I unplug the fridge, it's our roomy root cellar that takes over as our "walk-in" fridge until April or May. Although it works very efficiently throughout the winter, the temp during early autumn doesn't allow for storage of certain crops for more than a few days without getting overly wilty. So once again, this recipe makes use of an ingredient that won't hold up without proper refrigeration.
Because of the saltiness of the product, it took me a few weeks to really get a hang of how to use it. At first, I thought I might turn out to be one of those novelty preserves that sounds better then it eats. It's salty so it's not a food you can just chomp into. A little goes a long way and a little too much can be too much for one to handle. It's perfect in soups and in the winter, I make a lot of soup, so this condiment becomes something I always turn to when finishing up finish any brothy creations.
Like I mentioned above, because of the high percentage of salt (25%), the final product is shelf stable. Play around with the ingredients, using what you have available. Carrots are optional for me, and my final product (see below), comes out a vibrant green color that just adds a great depth of flavor to wherever its added.
How to Make Verdurette
- 1 pound carrots
- 1 pound leeks
- 1 pound celery
- 1 pound parsley
- 1 pound sea salt
The use of a scale will help you figure out just how much salt to add. As I process each ingredient, I place the edible portion onto the scale and keep track along the way.
- Rinse each vegetable before dicing small and weighing.
- Combine each ingredient then add 25% salt to total weight.
- Stir well to combine then fill pint or quart jars.
- Cover then place in on a shelf out of direct sunlight.
- Allow the ingredients to cure for 2-4 weeks before using.
- At this point, your verdurette is stable at room temperature.