I was walking through the store today and noticed all the holiday displays were already up, and it is not Thanksgiving yet! No matter what holiday you celebrate; Christmas, Hanukkah, Ramadan or Yule, there is one thing that all of us need in the kitchen – vegetable stock.
You can go to the store and spend $3-4 dollars for a 16 ounce carton of broth that is altered with too much salt, sugar and preservatives, or you can do what I do, and make it at home using kitchen scraps that you would normally toss or compost.
Broth or stock
Have you ever wondered, “What’s the difference between broth and stock?” Broth is seasoned, while stock is not. You can use this recipe to make both. To make broth, just add salt and pepper to taste to the stock when finished.
To get started, get yourself a gallon size plastic freezer bag. Every time you chop, peel, cut or slice add the unused vegetable parts to your bag. Things like onion skin, mushroom stems, carrot peels, bell pepper ribs, beet tops, celery leaves and more – put it all in your vegetable freezer bag. Keep the bag in the freezer. When the bag is full you are ready to make vegetable stock.
I like to use what is known as passive method of cooking to make the stock. Not only is this a very energy efficient way to cook but it is the easiest way to make the stock.
- Take the full bag of kitchen scraps from the freezer and empty them into a large stock pot.
- Cover with fresh cold water. If your bag is full this is usually about 6 to 8 cups of water.
- Cover and bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, turn off the heat, keep covered and let stand for at least one hour before using – I let mine set overnight.
- Pour through a colander, transfer liquid to storage containers and refrigerate or freeze.
- Discard the cooked scraps, or better yet, use for compost.
The yield will vary on this but it should make about 6 to 8 cups of stock. Refrigerated, it will keep for about 7 days, so I freeze it and defrost as needed. In the freezer, vegetable stock will keep for about 4 months.
Beware, you will find that the flavor cannot compare with anything store-bought. You will be hooked!
Kitchen scrap vegetable stock is a great way to get the most out of your grocery dollars, reduce food waste and help you celebrate the holidays with flavor.