Making Your Own Vegetable Stock
I’m frugal. This is probably because I grew up in a house where nothing was wasted. So when I realized how much I was paying for vegetable stock from the grocery store, I decided that making my own couldn’t be that difficult. And it surely was going to cost less money than buying it all.
And so I started saving all my vegetable scraps in a plastic bag in the freezer. Carrot peelings, celery trimmings and leaves, onion skins and pieces, garlic bits, pieces of peppers, anything that was clean (no roots with dirt on them.) I only saved scraps from organically grown vegetables. It took a couple weeks to fill the 1 gallon freezer bag and when it was full, I made stock. I poured all the veggie scraps into my stock pot, and added just enough water to cover them. I took a look to see how it was balanced, and decided to add a couple carrots and a half onion that was kicking around in the vegetable drawer. I threw in some Himalayan sea salt (probably about 1 ½ tsp.) And that’s all I added.
I let it come to a gentle simmer for a couple hours, and then I removed the vegetable scraps by pouring it all through a strainer. I thought I would have to strain it through cheese cloth, but the broth was remarkably clear when it was all done. I ended up with about 4 quarts of stock and used one for soup immediately. I froze the rest in one quart freezer bags. It has an outstanding flavor and adds richness to whatever I’m cooking. My risotto was infused with vegetable flavors, the winter soup was rich, and an heirloom bean soup just tastes fantastic. The red onion skins gave it a lovely hue too.
As soon as I tasted the first batch of my own vegetable stock, I started filling that bag with scraps again. It costs nothing except a little freezer space, and the results are delicious. The only thing I will do differently this time will be to freeze part of batch in smaller portions. I often use only a cup or two, and I froze it in full quarts. It’s also very helpful to label your freezer bags with the ingredient and the date. I would imagine the frozen stock will keep in the freezer for several months. But I plan on using it well before that time is up!