Besides creating healthy yummy recipes, there are two things I love to do that go along with creating healthy yummy recipes: finding ways to save money and reducing waste.
This basic vegetable stock manages all three.
How? Glad you asked.
The genius of this vegetable stock is it’s simplicity…just save your scraps of onion, garlic, carrot, celery and wilted bits of fresh herbs, freeze them, then turn them into a flavorful stock. No hard and fast recipe needed, but here are a few helpful tips:
- A higher ratio of onions and garlic will produce a more savory stock; carrots and celery one with a sweeter overtone.
- It’s possible to include members from the brassica family (e.g. kale stems, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, etc.) but I personally don’t recommend it since they carry strong, and sometimes, bitter, flavors.
- To keep your sodium levels in check, I prefer leaving out the salt in the stock. However, I would add freshly ground pepper or a up to a teaspoon of whole peppercorns. A few pinches of turmeric also works.
- When you’re first getting in the habit of doing this, leave a designated veggie scrap container on your counter or even write yourself a reminder…there have been countless times when I meant to save my scraps only to toss them in the garbage out of forgetfulness.
- I store my scraps in a designated bag (I reuse cereal box liners for this!) in our freezer and pull them out when I have enough for a large pot.
- I usually freeze my stock in mason jars, but if you like sauteing with veggie stock (a much better option than oil…although I just use plain water), use an ice cube tray to produce convenient small portions.
There you have it…in one large stock pot, you have a flavorful base for soups and stews, get a bigger bang for your buck by using food parts normally pitched directly in the garbage, save money on buying pre-made stock and spare the landfill more container garbage. It kind of feels like being a superhero. But with an apron instead of a cape.
Last thing…in case you’re wondering if I do this all the time? No. Right now I try for once a month because sometimes life is just too busy or I don’t have enough scraps saved to make the stock needed in a recipe. For me, it’s about doing the best that I can…and keeping an emergency container of store bought sodium-free stock in my pantry for all those other times,
A simple stock to flavor your recipes and get extra mileage out of your vegetable scraps.
- onion scraps
- garlic scraps
- celery scraps
- carrot scraps
- wilted herbs
- peppercorns or freshly ground pepper
- 2-3 pinches turmeric (optional)
Collect enough vegetable scraps to fill at least one half of a large stock pot. Fill the pot with water up to about 2-3 inches below the pot rim. Add pepper corns and turmeric, if using. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 35-45 minutes or until all the vegetables are very tender.
Place a vegetable colander over a second large pot or stock pot and carefully pour the cooked vegetable stock into the colander, making sure the stock is collecting in the pot below (and not running down the sides - it happens!).
Either use immediately in a recipe or let cool completely before transferring into mason jars, ice cube trays or other storage containers.
Freeze and use within 2-3 months.