Food

Let’s Talk about Stock: How to Make Vegetable Stock from Scraps

About once a week, I make a stew, stoup, soup, chili, whatever. I end up buying nearly four cans of chicken or vegetable stock for each soup.  Sure, those cans aren’t pricey but I love cutting out expenses especially if that involves homemade cookin’.

I know, I know I could just add water instead of using broth. However, making my own vegetable stock/broth improves the soup and is extremely easy to make. Making vegetable stock is also far less time consuming than making a meat-based stock. My homemade vegetable broths have been far superior than store bought. I also love changing up the ingredients for a customized broth.

The bulk of Ryan and I’s groceries are vegetables and fruit. I always sneak in vegetables be it kale and carrot in meatloaf or spinach in our smoothies. The other day we were running low on groceries. We only had meat and potatoes. We didn’t even know what to cook. Nearly all of our meals are centered on vegetables. We aren’t vegetarians; we just love to eat nutritious, tasty foods.

From eating a variety of vegetables, I always have left over scraps like onion skin, a tip of a carrot, or an imperfect spinach leaf. I store these scraps in a freezer zip-loc bag until I have enough scraps to make broth. Once I fill 2-4 quart bags worth, I make vegetable broth.

Stock: strictly vegetables or meat (if you are making a meat broth) and water
Broth: seasoned stock with spices

The idea of vegetable stock originated in France. The three main vegetables are onion, carrot, and celery. It’s not particularly crucial to have all three but recommended. Before adding any scraps to your freezer bag, make sure they are clean, mold free, and cut into pieces.

Recommended List of Vegetables:

Onion, leek, scallions, shallot, garlic (skins too)
Carrot
Celery
Potato (any kind even sweet potato, skins too)
Mushrooms (adds a meaty flavor)
Greens – Spinach, Kale, Chard, Lettuce
Peppers (even Jalapeno-I only added three jalapeno tops, added just right amount of spice to my stock)
Apple core (I will always add apple core for sweetness, delicious!)
Turnip
Zucchini
Eggplant
Green beans

Add in small doses because adds strong flavor:
Tomato (because of acidity)
Cilantro
Fennel
Corn cobs
Asparagus
Parsnips
Squash
Pea pods

Seasonings (optional – leave out if making stock):
Bay leaf
Peppercorn
Parsley
Oregano
Basil
Thyme
Clove
Sage

Do NOT add because adds bitter flavor:
Cabbage
Brussel sprouts
Broccoli
Cauliflower

The best thing about vegetable stock is the customization. You do not need every vegetable and seasoning to make a wonderful tasting broth.

Options:

  • You can brown all your vegetables in olive oil to add a caramelized taste to your stock or broth.
  • Customize a broth for a particular dish. Add jalapeno for a spicy broth to add to chili. Add ginger root for a great base for any Asian dish.

Directions:

1. Add frozen scraps to pot.

2. Cover scraps with water. I always end up adding more water because my frozen scraps expand as they thaw.

3. Bring to boil.

4. Once boiling, turn down to a simmer.

5. Simmer for an hour. The great thing about vegetable stock versus meat stock is that the vegetables only need to simmer for an hour. After that, the peak flavor degrades.

6. Take off heat. Spoon out big chunks.

7. Filter vegetable stock with cheesecloth or coffee filter.

8. Store vegetable stock in freezer in bags or ice cube trays. Save a mason jar of stock in your fridge for quick use.

photo 2 (5)

No filters are on this image to show the beautiful color of the broth! If you want a lighter color, do not add potato or onion skin.

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