As fall arrives, one thing comes to mind: Soup, and lots of it to keep us warm through the year’s colder months! And, what do you do when you find yourself with a recipe that calls for vegetable stock? Head to the grocery store for the sodium-heavy, stock mix-in-a-container version? Instead of relying on the shelved variety, make your own vegetable stock at home from your veggie scraps. It’s simple, extremely inexpensive and one more step you can take before heading to the compost pile.
The next time you’re chopping vegetables, pause before you toss! Hang onto the scraps to make your own vegetable stock. Here are a few great ideas:
- Carrot tops
- Celery tops
- Bell pepper tops
- Broccoli stems
- Mushroom stems
- Herb stems
- Asparagus ends
- Green bean ends
- Potato peels
- Onion peels
You may want to experiment with the types of scraps that work best for your stock. Don’t use any veggie scraps that have become slimy, moldy or that seem past their prime. First, chop clean scraps and keep them in an airtight container until you’re ready to make the stock. If you’re making stock at the end of the week, keep them in the refrigerator. Otherwise, store them in the freezer.
Based on The Kitchn’s version of veggie scrap stock, about 4 cups of vegetables will make about two quarts of stock.
To make the stock follow these simple directions:
Add enough water to cover the vegetable scraps and simply add a dash of salt. Not required, but for added flavor, the Sweet Beet suggests adding one medium onion, carrot and celery stalk (all chopped), plus one teaspoon of oil (butter would work, too) and a dash of one or two of your favorite dried herbs to the pot.
When your pot is ready, bring the water and veggie scraps to a boil. Once boiling, turn down the heat and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour (or until the scraps are very soft). Cool until the stock is lukewarm, then scoop out the trimmings and pour the broth through a fine mesh strainer.
Don’t be surprised if your stock tastes a bit lackluster. Keep in mind that the stock is a simple liquid required for other dishes you prepare, like risotto, lentils, minestrone soup, paella and more. Most of the flavor will likely come from the main ingredients of those dishes.
Store the stock in glass jars in your refrigerator for quick use, or in appropriate containers in the freezer for using down the road, up to a few months.