Until a couple years ago, I was completely convinced that making vegetable stock was a skill beyond me. There had to be a reason it was so readily available in cans and cubes, after all. One day, in a rush at the grocery store on a quest to make vegetarian chicken and dumplings, I found myself confused and frustrated when I couldn’t locate ANY vegetable stock. There was plenty of chicken and beef broth, but zero options for vegetarian broth. What I was pleasantly surprised to find is that vegetable stock is so, so simple to make and tastes worlds better than pre-made broth. It can even give you a great sense of accomplishment for using every part of the vegetable instead of just throwing the extras into the compost. As long as you don’t have any moldy or otherwise questionable scraps, they can all go into a big pot to make stock.
If you’re making a big meal, you likely have enough scraps for stock between the onion tops and skin, herb stalks or extras, carrot skin, corn cobs, etc. If you don’t accumulate scraps too quickly, you can always keep a bag or bowl in the freezer that you slowly add scraps to. Once your container is full, all you have to do is boil the scraps in water then strain. Seriously–that’s all. The stock can be stored in the fridge or frozen for later, and you’ll never need to buy stock again. Pretty much anything can be made into stock scraps, but I mainly stick to the tops of vegetables or skins that get removed before cooking, and any wilted veggies that didn’t get eaten in their prime. I am sometimes guilty of getting produce in my CSA box that I’m not too fond of (deeply sorry to pretty much every bunch of parsley I receive) and throwing it immediately into the stock pot.
This recipe is really simple. All you need are vegetable scraps, water and a pot. As long as you use equal parts scraps to water, you will get a flavorful result. It helps to add fresh herbs if you have some, but it’s certainly not necessary. I have read elsewhere that there are a few vegetables to stray from when making stock, so I will list them here since it’s probably good warning: broccoli, brussels sprouts, beets, cabbage, rutabaga, cauliflower, turnip, and artichoke.
Vegetable Stock Yields 2 cups of stock
- 4 cups vegetables, herbs or vegetable scraps
- 4 cups water
- Ensure that all vegetables, herbs or scraps are clean of dirt.
- Put equal parts vegetable scraps and water into a pot on medium-high heat. Cook together for 1-2 hours.
- Strain the stock and pour into containers. Be sure to leave head room if freezing the stock.
- Use the stock immediately, refrigerate, or freeze.