Friday, May 25, 2012

Save Your Scraps: Homemade Vegetable Stock



I have a confession.  I've been collecting trash, vegetable trash to be exact.  Normally, I'll cut up an onion and toss the scraps away.  The same goes for vegetables slightly past their prime, like limp celery stalks.  But I hate to waste anything.  Someday I will compost, but until then I decided to repurpose these veggies into homemade vegetable stock.  I usually buy a few cartons of organic vegetable stock at the market each week, but it's certainly more economical and less wasteful to make it myself.  I've been tucking away these limp celery stalks, along with carrot shavings and onion scraps in a bag in my freezer.  At the moment, I'm cooking a good deal of asparagus, so there's plenty of asparagus ends in this batch.  You'll be amazed at how quickly the scraps accumulate.  Just be sure they're clean before adding to your bag.




Once my freezer bag was about three quarters of the way full, I added it's contents to my biggest pot, along with some whole peppercorns, a generous amount of sea salt, bay leaves, and a few cloves of smashed garlic.  As you can see, it's not rocket science.  It's pretty imprecise.  I covered it all with water, brought it up to a boil, and simmered it for about an hour or so, covered.  Just be sure it has cooked long enough to remove any bitterness.  Taste the stock and adjust the seasonings if you need to.  I strained the liquid from the vegetables, which left me with a dark, rich, amber stock I can now use in soups, risotto, stir fry, and anything else I cook during the week.  Earlier this week I made a batch of French onion soup with some of my stock.  Do any of you make your own stock from scraps?  I'd be curious to hear your methods.  I'm glad I discovered this before my CSA starts.  It's a true trash to treasure scenario.


8 comments:

Margarita said...

Stephanie... You are awesome! I hate throwing things and letting things go to waste... Making stock out of scraps is a brilliant idea! the other week, I boiled some broccoli stems, unedible leek parts, smashed garlic, and some ginger to flavor the water I was going to use for my soup and even though it wasn't close to turning into veggie stock, it made for a nice flavored liquid for the soup. Love this idea of making homemade veggie stock!

Eileen said...

I make stock from vegetable bits and pieces all the time! It's one of the best tricks in the book, isn't it? I always feel like I'm getting away with something--food from trash! Hooray!

Sue/the view from great island said...

Thanks for the tips, I really need to try this. Do you think it could be frozen, as well? I always resort to chicken stock because I've never liked the flavor of store bought veggie stock, so I'll be interested to taste this. The great thing is no two batches should be the same, depending on what you're throwing away that week!

Stephanie said...

Margarita, that sounds excellent. What a great way to use up your 'throw away' parts. Definitely a perfect way to start a soup. Eileen-yes, so thrifty! Sue, you could certainly freeze it. In fact, you can even freeze it in ice cube trays and pop them out if you need just a small amount for a recipe. Exactly, no two batches are alike. Have fun! :)

Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake said...

That is the best piece of advice and recipe that I've seen in quite some time. I don't realise how much I waste every time I cook and I'm sure most people don't think about it. This idea will stay in my head forever now. :D No more wasting veggies!

Amy said...

Wow, this is awesome. I always have a little jar of the Better Than Bouillon brand of vegetable stock in my fridge, and I love the flavor it brings to everything. But now I want to copy you and try homemade vegetable stock.

Epicurea said...

really, what a nice idea! i started making stock from bones every couple of weeks and then freeze it, but saving veggies and adding them as well certainly is going to improve the stock a lot (or i give the entirely vegetarian stock a try ;-)).

Anna @ the shady pine said...

Home made stock is just the best! This looks wonderful and I can only imagine the flavour it will impart to the lucky chosen dish.