Remember this post, when I was longing for some little piggies to consume all of my lovely vegetable scraps?
A friend of mine wisely suggested that instead of investing in pigs, I follow the advice of Poor Girl Eats Well and make my own vegetable stock. Such a great idea, and best of all it costs you basically nothing. Why would you want to make your own stock, you may ask? Well, if you’re interested in making soup this fall/winter, most soup recipes call for some kind of stock, and why go spend money on it when you can make your own for free?! Vegetable stock is also great when used in place of water for preparing rice or other whole grains. But for me, I think the biggest reason that I love this idea is that I love being resourceful. With this recipe I am getting the most out of my veggies — using every part of them — before they go in the compost. How much more resourceful can you get?
To start with, you’ll need a gallon-sized zip-top freezer bag. From now on, whenever you are chopping up veggies for a recipe, don’t throw your scraps away. Instead, you’re going to toss them in your bag and freeze them, saving up for the day when you can make your very own veggie stock.
I keep this list on the side of my fridge, so whenever I’m chopping up veggies, I can refer to it and see what I should and shouldn’t toss in my scrap bag.
Oh hey, Seattle Pacific.
This is not an exhaustive list, but these are the best veggies to use. You can also use asparagus, parsnips, squash, fennel, corn cobs, pea pods, and cilantro, but I didn’t use any of these because there is a word of caution with these veggies — they will flavor your stock in a specific way that you may not want. Or maybe you do. Whatever floats your boat.
You don’t only have to use scraps leftover from chopping — feel free to toss anything in the bag that may be in your fridge on the cusp of going bad. Or maybe you know you won’t use it before it actually does go bad. Just don’t use anything that is actually rotten, or anything you wouldn’t want to eat. Gross.
You should also avoid turnips, cabbage, and brussels sprouts because they will become bitter.
Once you have filled up your freezer bag (it took me about a month) you are ready to make your stock. The only other things you need are water, a 6 qt. pot, a fine-meshed strainer, bay leaves, salt, and some freezer-safe containers to store the stock.
Here’s my bag o’ scraps, after a long, hard month of hibernating in the freezer. I think they’re ready to serve some purpose again.
Fill a large pot with 3 quarts of water and bring to a boil. Once it’s boiling, carefully add in the frozen veggies. You don’t want to get your arm splashed with boiling water. Which is exactly what I did, of course.
Bring back to a boil. Add in 1 or 2 bay leaves and 1-2 tsp. salt.
Turn your heat down to low, and simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Once your time’s up, use a slotted spoon to fish out the large pieces, and set them aside in a bowl to cool. You can compost those later.
Now you can get your strainer and another pot, and carefully pour your stock through the strainer into the pot. I put the pot and strainer in the sink to avoid spills.
Allow to cool completely, for 1-2 hours. Taste your broth and add more salt if needed.
Your broth will be stored in the freezer, so it’s a good idea to measure it before storing. That way you will know how many containers you need for recipes.
I had three 32oz plastic freezer containers, and I ended up with 9 and 3/4 cups of stock, so I put 3 cups each in two of them, and 3 3/4 cups in one.
Back in the freezer they go for some more hibernating, until you are ready to use!