One culprit of creating food waste is the trimmed bits and pieces of vegetables that don’t end up in the main courses or side dishes of a given meal. Rather than tossing them in the garbage, you can do one of two things: save them for a stock or collect them for composting. Either option is more sustainable than sending them to a landfill, but when you can use food scraps to help you get started on a second meal, you’re saving your future self some time and energy, too. Isn’t that a great way to start a new year?
Another advantage of turning scraps into stock is that it’ll save you money and a trip to the store. After all, when you’re able to use fresh veggies to get started on stock instead of something that was dehydrated or sitting in a can on the shelf, the results speak for themselves!
(Special thanks to Veggiecator Eduator, Jackie Caputo, for the
inspiration for this blog/writing the above intro!)
Making vegetable stock is so incredibly simple, that you’ll wonder why you’ve never done it before. Not only is it easy but making your own veggie stock will save you money, reduce sodium intake, and decrease waste!
Not only will it benefits your wallet, body, and earth, but vegetable stock is first and foremost a flavor booster – so using it will have the delicious impact on your food!
You can use vegetable stock to risotto, pasta, sauce, sautés, and more!
Save vegetable scraps from food prep and store in a zip lock bag or jar in the freezer. When you have roughly 4-6 cups of scraps, or enough to fill half a medium pot, you're ready to get started.
- Key Scraps to Keep: Celery, Onions, Carrots, Garlic, Mushrooms
- Added Herbs for Flavor: Parsley, Cilantro, Thyme, Ginger, Cloves, Rosemary, Basil, Bay Leaves, etc
- Use your favorite flavors!
- Thinking Outside the Box: Sweet Potato, Leeks, Fennel, Asparagus, Eggplant, Potatoes, Corn Cobs, Squash.
- Avoid: Cruciferous Vegetables like Cabbage, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, and Bok Choy (they tend to make the stock sour) and anything that is rotten
There are three different methods for making your own vegetable stock.
- Simple Stock: Throw uncooked vegetable scraps directly into the pot.
- Flavor Boost: Preheat oven to 450 F. Toss the vegetable scraps in olive oil (1 tbsp) and garlic and place in a roasting pan/cookie sheet. Roast the scraps for up to 30 minutes, or until caramelized but not charred/crispy. Add roasted vegetables to the stock pot.
- Sweet Tooth: Place scraps with natural sugars such as carrots, onions, or fruit into a sauce pan. Cook on medium to high heat for 8-15 minutes, stirring frequently. Once the scraps have turned golden, add 1-2 teaspoons (depending on the amount of scraps) of brown sugar and stir/cook in until the sugar is melted. Add the newly caramelized vegetables to the stock pot.
Once the Veggies are in the Pot:
Fill the pot with enough water to cover the vegetables.
With the vegetable scraps in the pot, bring the water to a boil and quickly reduce the heat to a simmer.
Let the pot simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, but not longer than that. The longer you cook the vegetables in the water, the more bitter the outcome of the stock.
Strain the stock from the vegetable scraps and compost!
Once the stock cools, you can pour it into jars or ice cube trays, for easy freezing! If you plan to use the stock within the week, you can just stick it in the fridge!