For the sheer fun of it, please join me for a toast. Let’s pull out the pot liquor (or pot likker), chink-chink our glasses and aspire that all beings might be well nourished.
Even teetotalers can freely and joyfully imbibe this liquor. It’s the sweet and nutrient dense liquid that remains in the pot after you’ve cooked vegetables. Don’t toss that flavorful nectar. Pour it into a tumbler and bottoms up!
While the liquid from steamed or blanched vegetables is watery, not so with the remaining elixir from sautéed vegetables or those simmered or braised in minimal water. It’s a concentrated restorative; especially when the leeks, carrots, broccoli or other just cooked vegetables are vibrantly fresh, organic and flavorful.
As flavor and nutrition are mutual indicators, sweet and rich tasting pot liquor is more nutritious than one that tastes thin. Yes, you will lose heat sensitive enzymes, thiamine and vitamin C as their content decreases in proportion to cooking time and temperature. But this liquor is imbued with every mineral, fat-soluble vitamin, micronutrient and, if you cooked green veggies, vitamin K.
So next time taste before you toss. When pot liquor is ambrosial, stop everything, sit down and savor it as a tonic. Or use it in a sauce or soup stock. I toss out pot liquor with too strong a flavor (like artichoke, asparagus or spinach liquor) and would drink purple cabbage liquor rather than adding it to a light colored soup or sauce.
Here’s just one of my posted recipes, Sweetly Simmered Collards, that yields a tumbler of pot liquor. A toast to your health!