This vegetable stock takes a total of 5 minutes to prep and store, is ten times better than store-bought and is completely FREE! Which is really great for a girl who loves a bargain.
I learned this trick from my old roommate from when I lived in New Orleans. It’s made from the scraps of vegetables from meals past, kept in your freezer until you are ready to use them.
Chances are, when you cook with fresh produce, you are left with scraps that end up in the trash (or if you are a better citizen of the earth than I am, your compost pile. I’m waiting to not live in an apartment for that one).
Many of those scraps can be saved in your freezer to make stock. Almost any mild-tasting vegetable will work, but the most basic and traditional to use are onions, celery, and carrots. This is the combination of scraps I usually use for my stock:
- Onion ends (if you leave the peel on, the stock may turn a darker color than usual, but it’s still edible)
- Garlic ends and bulbs that have started to sprout
- Herb sprigs and stems (parsley, rosemary, thyme, oregano, etc.)
- Bell pepper ends and seeds
- Jalapeno ends (not the seeds- they would be too spicy for plain stock)
Although I have not tried it, I’ve read that you can use corn cobs, asparagus, potatoes, fennel, parsnips, squash, mushrooms, and other vegetables with a mild flavor.
If you are going to make an asian-inspired dish, you can use ginger and lemongrass as well.
Cruciferous vegetables will be too overpowering (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and brussels sprouts) as will bitter root vegetables like turnips and rutabaga.
Save scraps in a gallon sized ziplock bag in the freezer. When the bag is just about full, you are ready to make the stock. If you haven’t washed the vegetables before freezing, give them a rinse before using.
I make my stock in the crock pot so I can be free to leave the house while it’s cooking. Add the veggies to a crock pot or large stock pot and cover with water (8-10 cups).
Usually at this point, I’ll go through my fridge to make sure I don’t have any forgotten celery or carrots, or a half-used onion I can throw in there that I know I won’t get around to using.
I also add a couple of bay leaves, about a teaspoon of salt, and about a teaspoon of whole black peppercorns. This technically makes it broth, not stock (broth is seasoned, stock is not). If you want to just make stock, leave the seasonings out.
Set the crockpot on high for 5-6 hours or low for 7-8 hours, or on the stovetop, bring to a boil and simmer for 3-4 hours.
This will make your kitchen smell amazing.
I store my stock in mason jars so it’s easy to arrange in the fridge or freezer. You can make 2-3 vegetable stock based soups from one batch!
Using a small mesh strainer placed over the mason jar (or container), ladle spoonfuls of the stock from the pot. Don’t fill up all the way if you are going to freeze, since it will expand.
Yum. Off I go to make tortilla soup with my homemade vegetable broth!
Scrap Vegetable Stock/Broth
- frozen vegetable scraps like onions, celery, and carrots
- 8-10 cups water
- 1 tsp peppercorns optional
- 1 tsp kosher salt optional
- 2 bay leaves optional
- Add clean vegetable scraps to crock pot and cover with water. Add seasonings if desired. Cook on high for 5-6 hours or low for 7-8 hours.
- Strain with a mesh sieve and store in containers or mason jars in refrigerator or freezer. If freezing, do not fill up all the way since it will expand.