Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Recipe: Vegetable Stock (from Scraps)

I love this time of year when my soup and stock making routine returns. Soup and Stock have a fantastic symbiotic relationship: the veggie scraps from making soup become flavorful stock, and the stock boosts the flavor of the next batch of soup!

I am a big soup fan, usually make it at least once a week in the cooler months, so the veggie scraps add up quick. I store the veggie scraps in a metal bowl in my fridge as I collect scraps for a few days (up to a week). If it will be more than a few days until you have enough scraps to make stock, you can keep a large ziplock bag in your fridge and add to it until it is full.

Be sure to wash and scrub veggies before peeling to prevent adding unwanted dirt into your stock. Also, don't save any rotten or funky scraps into your stock - those can go directly into the compost.

All sorts of veggie scraps are good additions to the stock.
Have fun experimenting and tasting the results of different veggie scrap combinations!
  • root vegetable peels (carrot, potato, rutabaga, sweet potato, turnip)
  • Stems and ribs of Greens (kale, collards, bok choy, chard)
  • peels and nubs of onions/garlic/shallots
  • green leaves of scallions, leeks, celery
  • Broccoli stems and leaves
  • Mushroom stems
  • Squash peel and seeds
  • Herb Stems: parsley, dill, cilantro, rosemary, thyme (okay if a bit wilted)
  • whatever veggie leftovers you have!

  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped with skin
  • 2-4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped with skin
  • a big bowl or bag of vegetable scraps, pre-chopped to extract the most flavor if possible
  • 1-2 bay leavesabout 10 black peppercorn

Special equipment
  • Big pot (at least 4-quarts, the bigger the better) colander (fine mesh colander if you have one)
  • large bowl
  • ladle
  • wide mouth jars or ice cube trays

1. Saute the onion and garlic a few minutes on medium until fragrant, stirring and add a bit of water if they stick.
2. Add the rest of the veggie scraps to the pot, stir to saute the scraps a bit with the onion.
3. Fill water just until vegetables are barely submerged.
4. Add the bay leaves and peppercorns
Bring to a boil.
5. turn heat down and simmer about 20-30 minutes.
6. Place colander over large bowl
7. remove some vegetable with tongs and place into colander to avoid splashing hot liquid. Carefully pour the rest through the colander.
8. To extract even more liquid press the vegetable pulp gently into the colander using a wooden spoon. (I don't think it's worth the hassle to deal with squeezing cheese cloth)
9. Store in glass jars or freeze in ice cube trays and store cubes in ziplock bags in freezer. I usually keep a couple jars of stock in the fridge and freeze the rest.

If you keep it simple and do not add oil, salt, wine, tamari, you can compost the boiled veggie scraps, which is oh-so-satisfying! It's a bummer sending organic local veggie scraps to the landfill. And it's easy enough to add oil and salt when you make the soup!

Next time you make soup, use your home made veggie stock as a base for delightful flavor.

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