{Kitchen Basics 101} from veggie scraps to stock

Making vegetable stock is so easy, yet I’m guessing that not all of you have homemade stock on hand. By the time I remember to make some stock, I only have half an onion or a single celery stalk to work with and something about buying a whole basket of fresh veggies just to boil them down into stock is sacrilege to me. To remedy the situation, here is an easy, why-haven’t-I-done-this-before tip for making your own vegetable stock: save veggie scraps, peels & extras in the freezer throughout the week and once the bag fills up, you’ve got your stock ingredients!

That’s the great part about stock– you can use the leftover parts of veggies that would otherwise go to waste. In addition to cutting up a few extra chunks of whatever vegetable I’m working with, I also save onion peels, carrot ends, leek greens and other scraps. I keep a gallon-size freezer bag at the ready and just toss in whatever I have leftover. I try to gauge the balance of veggies in there so I don’t end up with a freezer bag of just onion. Alternatively, you could have a few different bags going so you can spread our your veggie scraps, but freezer space is at a premium in my kitchen so I just keep one bag of stock-ready vegetables.

A few tips for building your stockpile:

  • As you chop and prepare veggies throughout the week, remember to slice up a few extras to throw in yourΒ stockpile.
  • If you know you won’t go through all of a certain vegetable, save a few pieces of it and put them in the freezer right when you buy them. For instance, I rarely use up an entire head of celery so when I always break apart a few stalks as soon as I bring them home and throw them in my freezer bag.
  • You don’t need to peel the veggies! Scrub and wash them like you normally would, but you can save the peeling for another recipe. So easy, right? Speaking of easy…
  • Cut your veggies into large chunks. Small pieces can get mushed up and disintegrate into the stock; plus they are harder to strain out. So you can keep your veggies in really large chunks for stock– think an entire medium-sized carrot or half of a celery stalk.
  • Post a list on your fridge of the veggies to save for the stockpile. I tend to save celery, leeks, onions, carrots, garlic and tomatoes the most. I’ll toss in a few mushrooms or broccoli florets every once and awhile for a darker stock, but I generally avoid using much asparagus, bell peppers, cabbage, Brussels sprouts or cauliflower in my stocks. Starchy vegetables like peas and potatoes can make your stock a bit cloudy, but feel free to throw a few in if you’d like.
  • Fresh herbs can also be frozen in your stockpile, but I tend to go easy on them so that the stock remains neutral enough to use in various recipes.

Vegetable Stock From Your Stockpile
Keep in mind that this is just a general guide. Experiment with what you have in your stockpile!Β 

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion (or its equivalent; think onion skins, and various chunks of onion equalling about 1 cup)
  • 1 tomato (or a few cherry tomatoes)
  • 2-3 carrots
  • 2-3 celery stalks
  • leek greens (or whatever you have leftover)
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced in half or crushed (you can use the skins too)
  • 8 cups of water, or enough to cover veggies in a large stockpot
  • fresh herbs, if desired
  • black pepper & sea salt

Directions

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat. Add in the vegetables and cook for about 15 minutes or until they are all tender. (You could also roast the veggies first, which yields a great-tasting broth but adds in a little bit more work and more dishes.)

Add enough water to fully cover the vegetables and any fresh herbs you’d like to use. Grind a few twists of black peppercorn into the stock and a pinch or two of sea salt if desired. Reduce the heat to a low simmer, cover and let cook for at least one hour.

Remove the stock from heat and let cool a bit. Strain out the veggies with a mesh strainer, pressing those wilted, boiled veggies to extract every last bit of liquid. Discard the veggies and transfer the stock into a storage container. If I’ll be using it within the next few days, I pour it into a large glass jar or several smaller ones. If I’m freezing it for later, I let it cool completely before pouring it into smaller freezer bags. Then I lay them down horizontally on a baking sheet and put them in the freezer. Once frozen, you can stack the flat bags of stock on top of each other to save room in the freezer.

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34 Comments Add yours

  1. Christine, this is a fantastic idea!! Finally I know what to do with all that veggie “waste”. Thanks a lot for sharing.

    1. Christine says:

      Thanks! & thanks for sharing the post with your readers πŸ™‚

      1. Oh that is my pleasure : )

  2. Reblogged this on While He Was Out and commented:
    I must share this with you my Dear Readers because I find this idea amazing. How come noone ever mentioned it to me?! πŸ˜€ Go ahead people, and freeze all that leftover stuff.

  3. This is a great idea!
    You are a genius πŸ˜‰

    1. Christine says:

      Haha, thank you!

  4. What a great idea! I make my own chicken and turkey stock, but not much vege stock because of availability. I never thought of freezing them until I have enough. Brilliant!

    1. Christine says:

      Freeze, freeze, freeze away…

  5. drenredfox says:

    Now I have something to balance out what scraps go into the worm composting bin!!! I think this is a Fabulous idea! Thank you!

    1. Christine says:

      This is my mini-solution for not being able to compost in my apartment πŸ™‚

  6. What a great idea! To think that I was throwing away all those good vegetables. I just never thought to make my own stock & freeze it.

    1. Christine says:

      Right? So simple!

  7. Maria says:

    What a fantastic post! I’m excited to get started on this one! I can only compost so much and this is a great alternative….

  8. Deanna says:

    This is great! I save all my apple scraps for making jelly and/or apple cider vinegar. Same way you do with the veggies. I actually need to make stock pronto, so thanks for the reminder πŸ™‚ Great post!!

    1. Christine says:

      I do the same with apple scraps πŸ™‚

  9. April says:

    tossing stock goodies into the crock pot for an all-day simmer is my favorite way to make stock!

    1. Christine says:

      Definitely another good way to go.

  10. Deb Guilfoyle says:

    Love this idea. I often make stock but didn’t think to stockpile trimmings…brilliant! My trade secret is to add an apple (or several apple cores) to the pot to add another dimension of flavor. No worries–it’s not too sweet. Thanks for the tip!

    1. Christine says:

      Ooh, adding an apple to veggie stock? I’ll have to try that soon!

  11. denlyn3 says:

    Great idea that we can all do so easily. Home made stock to fantastic and this is a cost saving way of making it.

    1. Christine says:

      Thanks πŸ™‚ If I didn’t use this method, I’m not sure I’d ever make my own stock.

  12. I have this in my freezer anyway saving for the compost bin! I’ll just have to start putting my banana peels in a separate bag. πŸ™‚

    1. Christine says:

      Yes, I don’t think the bananas will go well in the stock πŸ™‚

  13. I love that you are like me. I have a bag of random bits of veg in the freezer just so that when I get enough I can make stock. It makes me feel better that I do it all myself, from scratch! πŸ™‚

  14. The Slow Foods Mama says:

    A woman of my heart! Glad to know I’m not the only one hoarding stock supplies in my freezer. πŸ™‚

    1. Christine says:

      Big time freezer hoarder… there are cupcakes, orange peels, half bananas & a whole bunch of random odds & ends in mine!

  15. I do the same thing πŸ™‚ Working in a restaurant for ten years you learn all the tricks. I was just thinking about writing a post on this as well! I love using what I already have and not going out and buying more. Great post!

  16. eatinglocalinthelou says:

    I am sure you all have way more than 200 followers but I wanted you to know how much I appreciate your blog. By reading your blog, I live vicariously in your world and am inspired by your connection to your community. This is why I have nominated you for a Liebster Blog Award πŸ™‚

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