Feb 8, 2014


Stock 1

Growing up, my mother always had rich homemade chicken stock on hand. We would collect all the bones from our autumn roast chickens dinners, and come the start of winter she would make a massive pot of stock that would last until spring. This “waste not want not” attitude served our family well, and I’ve applied those lessons to my own life as I’ve gotten older.

One of the simplest (and cheapest!) things you can make in the kitchen is vegetable stock. It’s a wonderful thing to have on hand for homemade soups and hearty grain recipes, and in my opinion it’s a winter kitchen staple.

The key to good vegetable stock is planning. Beyond the basic seasonings (which most cooks probably have on hand already), this stock uses only what you already have. You will need to collect your vegetable scraps* until you have at least a gallon bag of frozen vegetable bits. Include everything. Skins, leaves, stalks, and roots key to making a hearty stock.

Simple Homemade Vegetable Stock

Frozen vegetable scraps
1-2 bay leaves
Whole peppercorns

When you have enough vegetables, put them into a large pot. Fill the pot with water, using only enough to cover the vegetables. Add a bay leaf or two, and a few whole peppercorns. If you didn't include many garlic scraps I would also recommend placing a whole garlic clove in the stock. Bring the water to a boil, and then cover with a lid and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour.

When the stock is done cooking allow it to cool for about an hour. Strain out the vegetable pieces and herbs—I use a cheap fine mesh strainer from Ikea that works beautifully. Package the stock in useable quantities in freezer safe containers (I use a mix of quart size freezer bags and Tupperware). Use within 3-5 months.

*What to include: Garlic scraps and skins, onion scraps and skins, scallions, mushrooms, carrots, celery, parsnips, green beans, summer squash, and lettuce. I sometimes include bell peppers, too.

What to throw away or compost: Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, broccoli, artichokes, and cauliflower. Essentially anything in the Brassica family, since it will impart too strong a flavor.