lessons from simmering vegetable stock

Like most people, quarantine brought out a new level of homemaker in me. I’ve pickled onions, made more loaves of banana bread than I care to admit, and considered making ginger ale. Quarantine regulations have started to lift here in the Czech Republic but I still have quite a few kitchen adventures I’d like to take.

Enter vegetable stock…

A few months back I started collecting my veggie scraps into a plastic zip bag to freeze. Onion, carrot, garlic, sweet potato, celery…etc. I’ve gone through quite a few vegetables but of course the skin, the outer layer, the rough part, needs to be shed, peeled or discarded. After about a month the bag was finally full and ready to be put to use. The simple task of emptying the bag of scraps into a big pot, covering with water, and bringing to a boil would produce a bounty of flavorful vegetable stock.

As the aroma filled the kitchen, the connection to this refining season filled my mind.

This season of life hasn’t been easy for anyone. I’ve reflected over the last weeks, reminded that there is nowhere on earth I could go to “escape” the nightmarish year we find ourselves in. But even as this year will leave us broken, bruised, stripped bare, I believe it will bring us as individuals and as humanity to a greater, richer, more full result.

The process of actually “cooking” the vegetable stock was almost too simple. I emptied the full bag of vegetable scraps into a big pot, filled it with water, let it boil and voila…it was done! But the process to get to this point was long!

I started peeling, cutting, chopping, discarding, seperating, and breaking apart these vegetables months ago. Much like we all have been stripped bare these last few months.

The average person would look at these scraps and just say, “Just throw it away! It’s useless!” But instead, I chose to store it away and prepare it for a greater purpose, using all of it. Just like God uses all of us, our brokenness, our torn apart lives.

When the scraps were in the pot, simmering in the water to produce the final result, they steamed and boiled. The pressure increased. They were “hard pressed.”

After boiling and infusing their flavor into the water, I strained the scraps from the final result. You see, the scraps had to be under pressure in order to become a new creation. Then, and only then, could they be poured out for another purpose.

The process of actually “cooking” the vegetable stock was almost too simple. But the end result added flavor, depth and had a new purpose.

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