One of my New Year’s resolutions is to try to reduce food waste from my kitchen. I also want to eat healthier in 2016. And I think I just found a way to do both!
What could be healthier (or tastier) than homemade vegetable stock as a soup starter; and it’s a great way to use vegetable scraps as well. I call that a win/win!
Homemade Vegetable Stock From Kitchen Scraps
From The Garden of Eating
Onions, carrots, and celery form the backbone of veggie stock, but don’t stop there! Lots of other veggies add sweetness and flavor: leeks, scallions, garlic, fennel, chard, lettuce, potatoes, parsnips, green beans, pea pods, bell peppers, eggplant, mushrooms, asparagus, corn cobs (think sweet!), squash skins, beet greens, and herbs like dill, thyme, parsley, cilantro and basil. You can use anything that is beginning to lose its luster but steer clear of anything that has gone bad.
Veggies to Skip
These vegetables tend to overpower the stock flavor-wise (and some of them turn a bit bitter) so you may want to dump them directly on the compost heap instead (or slice/chop to add to stir-fry or cook separately and then chop or puree to add to a soup recipe later): cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, turnips, rutabagas, artichokes. Obviously, skip anything rotten or moldy.
Storing the Scraps
You will want to collect roughly 4-6 cups of vegetables to make a batch of stock. You can either save your scraps throughout the week in a large Ziploc or some other airtight container in the fridge, or if you’re collecting scraps for longer than a week, just keep them in the freezer.
Making the Stock
- Place roughly 4-6 cups of scraps in a 5 quart stock pot. Add 1-2 bay leaves and a few black peppercorns
- Cover it all with cold water then bring it to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and simmer uncovered for about an hour. Any more than an hour and the flavor will begin to deteriorate.
- Strain vegetables using a fine mesh strainer or a colander and giving them a press to make sure you get all the broth. Let cool then pour into clean containers or freezer bags. Finish cooling completely in the fridge and then store in the fridge (up to five days) or freeze.
With this tasty stock as a starter, you can go on to make these delicious and healthy vegetarian soups!