Thursday, October 22, 2009

Vegetable Stock

You can call me cheap, that's ok. Yes, I made my own vegetable stock from veggie scraps that I have been saving in the freezer for a few months.
In the past I have tried making chicken stock, and I will do so again next time I buy a whole chicken. But during that process, I also read about making your own veggie stock - its even easier!

I got some tips from Stock Making 101 - the veggies you add will alter the taste a little, but it sounds like everything except broccoli and cauliflower are a go. Tomatoes can give a very strong tomato flavor, so I skipped those as well. Don't limit yourself to whole veggies - start saving scraps while you cook, and you will have a bag in no time! Over the past few months I had a large Ziploc in my freezer where I tossed (clean) veggie scraps: Onions/onion skins, garlic (the skins left after pressing), celery, bell peppers, zucchini, summer squash, butternut squash rind, mushrooms, green onions, a couple carrots. I even tossed in a few stalks of asparagus and a few green beans that I had on hand. This is also a great use for veggies that are about to go bad but you can't use in time. (You can also toss in herbs, and even some fruits - apples and pears are said to be tasty.)

Vegetable Stock
yield depends on how many veggies you have

Veggie scraps / chopped up veggies
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp whole peppercorns
Salt - optional (I prefer to leave my stock bland and season the dish I am using it in)

1. Put all veggies in a large stock pot. Fill with water until veggies are covered. The rule of thumb is half solid ingredients to half water.

2. Add bay leaves and peppercorns, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for a couple hours (~2-3). The longer you let the stock simmer, the more concentrated your flavors will be.

3. Strain the stock - I strain mine twice. First use a colander to separate the large scraps, then I line my colander with a paper towel and strain again to remove any smaller pieces left behind.
4. Cool and store - this is good in the fridge about 1 week, or in the freezer about 6 months. I store mine in ~2 cup portions. This batch yielded 14 cups of stock for me! (Only 12 are pictured since I used 2 cups in a recipe that day.)
This is very easy, and I highly recommend making your own soup stocks at home! I thought this stock turned out pretty good - the flavor tasted a little bland to me, but I'm pretty sure that's
because there was NO salt added. I used some to make a broccoli cheddar soup that evening, and it tasted great! Other than making soups, stocks can be a great way to add a depth of flavor to rice (use stock instead of water, or half stock half water); or can also be used to poach chicken or fish.


  1. This is a great post, store bought stocks taste like salty water to me. I'm going to try this with some pea pods next summer.

  2. Thanks for a great tip - I am going to start saving my veggie scraps now! Can't wait to try this!!

  3. Ooooh this is such a great idea to do with all of those leftover scraps!! Motivates me :)