When I first read about saving vegetable pieces to make a stock, I thought it was a great idea and decided to try it out. I started by keeping a ziplock bag in my freezer with a few vegetable ends or peels. Then I forgot about it for many, many months. That bag haunted me when I would find it in the freezer after doing some deep digging. I finally did fill up the bag and made my first vegetable stock from scratch. It was so easy and cool! However, it wasn’t easy to remember to start a new pile in the freezer. Flash forward a few years into being a home cook, and I’m much much better about remembering to save any aromatics for a future stock. There is usually a glass jar keeping the odds and ends contained, and it doesn’t take too long to fill up considering I eat most of my food at home. Currently I am using a plate to pile items onto and am not too worried about keeping it covered. I was having issues with my glass jars filling up too fast or not accommodating the odd leek top very well.
There is probably an official formula for this, but I will never follow that. There are some general guidelines about which vegetables are the best to use, and those are the ones I choose to keep for future stocks. Onions, celery, carrots, cilantro and parsley stems, herb stems, and mushroom stems are all my favorites. I often use my onion ends for flavoring a pot of beans, so it can take a while to have enough onions to make stock. I used approximately 4 cups of very loosely packed vegetables for this version.
I use my largest pot (aka stock pot) and just fill it up with water and all my frozen vegetable ends. I leave some room for simmering and bubbles. Then I just turn the heat up all the way until it reaches a boil, then turn it down to simmer for about 40 minutes. during the simmering, I add a fair amount of salt, about 2 Tablespoons.
Here I used sea salt from the bulk bins at WinCo and stored in a vintage Ball jar.
You can see the stock is turning a rich brown color and the vegetables really lose any vibrancy they once had.
I use a slotted spoon to scoop as much as I can into a colander, and compost those veggies. I let it drain for maybe an hour while the stock cools as well.
Here is the stock, looking rich, and smelling delicious.
It perfectly filled 3 quart size jars, which I am careful to not fill all the way up so they can be placed in the freezer for future use. They really did not break in the freezer, I promise.
It’s honestly one of the easiest things to make, barely requiring a stir. I will use this with soup, risotto, and maybe rice. Now if I can find package free rice noodles, I will write up how I make vegan phò chay.
Peace and love,