A few weeks ago, Andy was looking for something in the freezer and happened upon my giant bag of vegetable scraps and trimmings. He pulled it out and looked at me like I had gone a little crazy, and that he was worried I might be sneaking him scraps like a dog. (Which we don’t do – Andy makes sure our little chi-weenie is treated like a prince.) I told him that I was making vegetable stock with it, and then he sort of lost all interest and threw it back in the freezer.
It’s really, really simple to take scraps and skins and peels and whatever else you have and make stock out of it! Just get a gallon-size freezer ziploc bag, and keep adding vegetable trimmings, peels, and ends to it until it’s full. Once it’s loaded up to the brim and you can’t get any more to fit in there, it’s time to make stock! The whole process really couldn’t be any easier, and it saves you the guilt of throwing away produce instead of finding something to do with it!
Here are some of the veggies that usually end up in mine, but you can pretty much use anything you want. I would refrain from using anything spicy, or any flavors that you wouldn’t want in a multi-purpose stock. I always add about 2 Tbsp of salt, and 1 heaping Tbsp of peppercorns to round everything out, but it’s totally optional.
- Onion and garlic skins
- Fennel roots and stalks
- Herb stems
- Bay leaves
- Carrot and zucchini peels
- Bell pepper ends
- Celery stalks and roots
Each batch is always a little bit different because I just throw in whatever I have on hand, or different amounts of the veggies, but it is always delicious.
Now that you’ve been saving all of these scraps for a while… all you have to do is throw them into an 8qt stockpot and fill it up with cold water. Put it on medium-high and let it get to boiling, and then turn it down to hold a simmer. I usually end up simmering mine for at least a few hours, but it’s really up to personal preference and the kind of time you have. Just make sure to check on it every once in a while, and give it a nice stir. You might need to add water to it if some is evaporating out, but usually it’s not too much.
Once you’ve cooked it for as long as you want, simply scoop out of all the big veggies and put them into the compost bin. After you’ve gotten the chunks out, fit a sieve over a large bowl or tupperware, to catch any little peels or stems that you may have missed.
That’s it! I really meant it when I said it couldn’t be easier! You can keep it in an airtight container in the fridge for a week, or freeze it for up to three months. I suggest freezing it into large ice cube trays and then bagging them up so you can always have just the right amount for a recipe.