Making veggie stock is a great way to get the most use out of your vegetable scraps. Every time I make soup, I make vegetable stock to use for the next soup. If i'm not making soup, and have veggie scraps, I put them in a bowl and freeze them until I have enough to make a batch of stock.
The Ingredients: The following items are great for soup stock.
Onions, carrots, celery stalks (leaves can be bitter), garlic, zucchini, mushrooms, bell peppers, chard, kale, eggplants, squash, leeks, tomatoes, turnips, fresh herbs, pea pods, rutabaga, and spinach (add at the end of cooking). You can also add produce from the brassica family (cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower); however, they tend to impart a strong flavor. Potatoes can be thrown in too, but I don't as they are very starchy and cloud the broth.
I put fresh herbs like parsley trimmings into my stock. I don't add dried herbs or salt--I want to be able to use the stock for a variety of recipes, so I add seasoning later.
Hot Tip: If you want to add more flavor to your stock you can roast the veggies a bit beforehand.
The Steps: 1. Roughly chop your produce and wash it. 2. Place veggies in a pot and fill with cold water until you barely cover the vegetables but can still easily stir. Less water produces a more concentrated broth. 3. Turn your stove to medium heat and and bring to a low boil. 4. Once your stock is boiling, turn down to a simmer for 1-3 hours (the more simmer time, the greater the flavor). 4. Let the stock cool for about an hour in the pot. 5. Place a strainer or cheesecloth over a mason jar and strain your stock into the vessel. That's it!
Storing The Stock.
If you plan on using your veggie stock right away, then fill up your jars and refrigerate them. If you're like me, and want to freeze some in a glass jar for later use, it's very important that the stock is 100% cool before freezing. Imperative! Leave a 2 inch margin between the stock and the lid of the jar to prevent the glass from breaking.
Hot Tip: If you buy vegetable stock at the store, it's most likely packaged in an Aseptic container. Aseptic containers don't recycle in most places. Check your areas recycling guide to find out! Being diligent and informed about recycling is not only kind on the planet-- it also helps the people who work at recycling facilities.