- Author: Sarah Arana
- Editor: Noni Todd
By Sarah Arana UCCE Master Food Preserver
I'm trying to stay away from processed foods, what are some staples that I could start with? -Beth S. Los Osos, Ca.
One of best things to keep on hand that is the base for many dishes is homemade stock. This can be used for soups and stews or in place of water for rice and pastas to bolster the flavor. Homemade stock also makes a great sipping broth when you're feeling under the weather. You can make veggie or bone broth using different ingredients to allow for personal preference or tailored for certain recipes. Try making broth in your multi-use pressure cooker, or use your slow cooker, or you can even make it on your stove top. Allow it to simmer all day creating a wonderful aroma in your home announcing winter is here! Your homemade broth can then be pressure canned or frozen for safe keeping to use later.
Another great staple and a fun skill to develop is making homemade sourdough bread. It can seem daunting at first, but with a little knowledge and some practice, you too can dazzle both friends and family with fresh baked bread right out of the oven, perfect on cold chilly nights with your homemade soup. Sourdough bread is the quintessential classic and is made using a fermented “starter” that requires a bit of attention, but it is worth the effort. You can unlock the mystery of making sourdough and keep it on hand for sandwiches, croutons, bread pudding or just plain toast.
Beyond bread, your starter can be used in a variety of recipes including cakes, crackers, pizza dough, muffins, biscuits, pancakes, waffles…You get the picture? Who would have thought something as simple as flour and water could create such magic! Incredibly versatile, sourdough starter opens your kitchen to a variety of baked goods that you never thought possible! It is important to remember that flour is considered a raw ingredient and should not be consumed uncooked. Utilizing basic food safety principles in your kitchen are critical when working with raw flour products.
Come to our next UCCE Master Food Preserver class and learn how to safely prepare and preserve both staples, bread and broth. The class is Saturday, Feb. 22 from 10am-12pm located at 2156 Sierra Way, San Luis Obispo. Register: http://ucanr.edu/warmwinter