Ever buy veggies and realized you were tossing half of your money’s worth while prepping them? A CSA box is a very good example. The stems and outer leaves keep your veggies the freshest, but are they really good for nothing but compost after eating the actual veggies?
Don’t toss those scraps, make veggie stock!
A quart of veggie stock will cost you around $2, or you can make your own for almost free. Which would you prefer?
To make your own stock, you should probably have a base of onions, carrots, and celery. After that, anything goes. KIDDING!
Please do not just toss any-thing and every-thing into your stock or you may end up with something nobody will eat. Do not use moldy, slimy, or rotten veggies, no one wants “rot stock”.
Other things you may want to avoid are broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts and onion skins. These are strong flavored and have a tenancy to make your broth bitter if you over-boil.
Beets will make your stock dark, and starchy foods like potatoes and corn will make it cloudy. Neither one is a problem, it just depends on personal preference.
One thing to keep in mind. I use primarily organic produce to avoid the chemicals. If you don’t buy organic and just peel instead, you may not want to use those peels in your stock.
Optional Foods to Include when you Make Veggie Stock:
- Base of carrots, onion, and celery
- Peels from potatoes, carrots, squash etc.
- Peels from fruits like apples, pears, apricots etc.
- Stems from fresh herbs
- Tough outer leaves and stems from kale
- Mushroom stems
- Beet and carrot tops
- Herbs such as parsley, basil, cilantro
- Corn, peas, beans, tomatoes
- Leftover broth/water from cooking/steaming fresh veggies for eating
- Pulp from juicing
- Egg shells. (More on that in a bit)
Most cooks who make their own broths have their own method. Here’s what works for me.
We go through lots of fruits and veggies on a weekly basis, as a result we have lots of scraps after just one week. If I’m getting low on veggie stock, and/or have a recipe coming up that calls for it I will start my stock-“pile”.
I grab a bowl and keep it in the fridge. As I use my produce, I place the washed, clean scraps in my bowl. Anytime I cook or steam veggies, I will pour the remaining liquid into my scrap bowl instead of tossing a nutrient rich juice down the drain.
Once the bowl is filled or 5-7 days later I remove the bowl from my fridge. Make sure no spoilage has occurred and then dump the contents into a sauce pan. Add 1/2 a small onion, 1 carrot, 2 stalks celery, enough liquid to just cover the veggies and a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar.
Turn stove top to medium, bring to a simmer and then reduce to low heat.
Continue simmering for 2-3 hours. Towards the end you can remove the lid and allow the liquid to simmer down and create a more concentrated broth. If you boil it halfway down, just know that you will need to add equal parts stock and water when using your stock later.
Scoop out the scraps and strain the stock into containers. If you used pulp, or don’t want any sediment, strain your stock into a large pan and let sit for an hour. Then use a ladle to scoop from the top into containers.
If you use eggshells: I buy my eggs from a farm that raises non-gmo, free range chickens. I would not use any other eggshells but these in my broth. After using the eggs, I rinsed the shells well before tossing them into my scrap bowl.
Egg shells contain many nutrients and are very high in calcium. The vinegar helps draw these out and add them to your broth. As well, egg shells are also known to reduce the bitter taste of some foods. I use 2-3 egg shells per batch on average.
Making your own veggie stock from scraps in a nutshell:
- Don’t use rotten foods.
- Always add onion, carrot and celery
- A decent variety of produce works best
- Vinegar helps balance ph and combats any bitterness
- Beets and onions darken the stock
- Starchy foods make it cloudy
- Carrots, corn and fruit sweeten stock
- Foods like broccoli can make stock bitter
- A slow simmer is best
- Store in the fridge up to a week or in the freezer up to 6 months
The cooked veggie scraps can now be composted as the nutrients are now all in your delicious veggie stock!