Make Homemade Vegetable Stock From Kitchen Scraps

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Although I love making soup, it's always bothered me that making stock feels so wasteful. As the child of one of the world's thriftiest people (love you, mom!), the idea of tossing a whole bunch of gorgeous carrots, celery, onions, and herbs into the pot, only to remove them all a little while later, replacing them with new veggies that would feature in the actual soup, has always rubbed me the wrong way.

And buying cartons of stock is expensive and those cartons may or may not actually be recyclable (nevermind whether my garbage company actually recycles the stuff it claims to recycle...) so that was not really doing it for me either. But then, a couple months ago, I saw a post on Facebook about making vegetable stock FROM KITCHEN SCRAPS!!!! My prayers had been answered.

Grist for the stock mill by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2012

So I started saving some of the veggie scraps (more below on which ones are best to use and which ones you should avoid) that would otherwise have gone straight into the compost bucket. I stored them in one of this one-gallon Ziploc bags in my freezer. Since I like to cook and I like vegetables, they started piling up pretty quickly.

Ziploc of frozen veggie scraps by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2012

Then I followed the incredibly simple instructions (basically, cover them with water, bring to a boil and simmer for one hour, then strain) to make my own homemade vegetable stock.

Simmering the vegetable by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2012

And guess what? It's good! It was easy. It was free. And absolutely no vegetables were wasted in its making. Once I was done with those scraps, they got tossed on the compost heap, too.

Veggie stock from kitchen scraps by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2012

Now we've got several containers of the stuff in our freezer, waiting for the next time we want to make some delicious soup. We also did an ice cube tray or two as it's great to have some smaller units of stock on hand if you just need to de-glaze a pan or add a little bit of liquid to something but don't want to go whole hog and defrost an entire yogurt container (those are our freezing containers of choice for bigger, liquid-y stuff) of the stuff.

Veggie stock from kitchen scraps by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2012

The only thing I plan to change is omitting onion skins as I think I might prefer a clearer-looking stock - onion skins add nice flavor but also darken the color considerably. This is totally up to you, though.

Veggie stock from kitchen scraps by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2012

So get scrappy and then get simmering! Once you're fully stocked, I've got a short list of delicious soups you might want to try your stock on at the bottom of this post.

Homemade Vegetable Stock From Kitchen Scraps
Makes roughly 3 quarts

Veggies To Save
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, onions (see my note below), fennel, chard, lettuce, potatoes, parsnips, green beans, pea pods, zucchini and other squash, bell peppers, eggplant, mushrooms, asparagus, corn cobs (think sweet!), winter 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 actually gone bad, of course.

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: cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, turnips, rutabagas, artichokes. And skip anything rotten or moldy.

Veggies You May Want to Skip
You can use beet root scraps and onion skins but just be aware that they will make your stock either a deep red or a deep brown so you may want to skip them. I plan to skip 'em in the future.

Storing the Scraps
You will want to collect roughly 4-6 cups of vegetables to make 2 quarts 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 (this is what I do.)

Making the Stock

1. Place roughly 4-6 cups of scraps in a 5 quart stock pot. Add 1-2 bay leaves and a few black peppercorns

2. 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.

3. Strain vegetables using a fine mesh strainer or a colander and giving them a press to make sure you get all the broth. Quick tip: I made mine in my steamer pot from Ikea which made the straining incredibly easy since all the veggies were in the steamer insert and I just lifted it out of the pot once it was done. Let cool then pour into glass jars, clean yogurt containers or freezer bags. Let cool completely in the fridge and then freeze or store for up to five days in the fridge.

You might also like:
Want even more recipes, photos, giveaways, and food-related inspiration? "Like" the Garden of Eating on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter or Pinterest.

27 comments:

Kitchen Ninja said...

Perfect! I, too, hate "wasting" veggie scraps, so I plan to tackle this one very soon. Thanks, Eve.

The Food Hunter said...

I do this

REAL VEGETABLE STOCK said...

Thanks on your tips.. Very good idea..

The Mersea Diet said...

Thanks for sharing your recipe..i will try to make it this night..

christian said...

I love to eat vegetables

Anonymous said...

Watch out for the BPA leaching through those plastic single-use containers when frozen! You may be doing more harm to your body than you know.

Eve Fox said...

A good point. The yogurt containers are far less likely to contain BPA from what I've read. However, I think there's less concern of leeching in a frozen environment (molecules are moving so slowly) than in a heated up one. And I'd always recommend letting the stock cool completely before putting it in something plastic to freeze.

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for this post. My mom was thrifty and it rubbed off on me, too! I'm a big composter--and your idea of throwing some things in a ziplock bag and then composting is perfect.

Abigail said...

Thank you. this is on my 2013 to do (regularly) list. As is being more consistant in composting, and they seem to go hand in hand to a degree.

Anonymous said...

Such a great post. I started saving scraps 1 month ago and it's amazing how much I was throwing away before.

I do have a question though. What about kale scraps? Are those good to save for stock or does kale give it too strong of a taste?

Thanks!

Eve Fox said...

I think kale might be a little strong but have not actually tried it so maybe just give it a try and see if you like it?

Jennifer said...

Do potato skins work as well?

Eve Fox said...

Hi Jennifer, yes, you could use potato skins - I included potato in the list of veggies to save for this purpose.

Lori said...

Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. I've got all my scraps saved up and about to make my first batch. I am curious though if you can add tomato scraps?

When I make chicken stock I put the stock into ice trays, freeze then put into a ziplock baggie in my freezer. It's convenient because I can pull out however much I need and never waste any of my stock.

Lori said...

Sorry, I missed that you already mentioned using an ice tray.

Wallpaper backgrounds said...

Thanks on your tips, very Good post :D

Darren Rushton said...

Thank you so much for this! This suits my diet and budget so well!

Darren Rushton said...

Thank you so much for this. I am looking forward to trying this out. It suits both my diet and my budget. Thanks!

Kelsey said...

Made this tonight with scraps of eggplant, carrot, parsnip, sage, greens, chinese long beans, and onion skin. The dark color from the onion skins was perfect for French onion soup -I added a little nutritional yeast and a dash of red wine for the best French onion soup I've ever had! Thanks for sharing your tips of which veggies to use!

allijb said...

Thank you for sharing such a simple recipe! I have been looking for a recipe to use up the veggie scraps that I started storing in our freezer!

Anonymous said...

I too love making my own broth and was amazed at how much I was throwing out once I started saving scraps. I confess that I even hate removing and discarding the scraps when the broth is done cooking. I have started leaving some of the veggies in the broth and using my immersible blender to puree them. Warning - you will not have a clear broth if you do this but it is tastey. I like knowing the veggies are still in there. Always remove things like celery, that do not puree well.

Anonymous said...

My wife & I were declared gluten-free a couple of years ago, thru ALCAT, so changed our eating habits. We both enjoy cooking, so we were introduced to different veggies that we had never used, and broth seemed a logical way to utilize scraps. This was new to us so set off using both the scraps & added different herbs that were just lying idle. The finished product tasted OK, so it has become a regular part of my daily habit to store our scraps. Because our diet varies from week to week I have never used the same mix twice, &I am now up to number 23. i record all that is used in scraps & herbs. This is probably anal, but it keeps track of what we are using. If a recipe calls for liquid the broth is subbed, or chicken bouillon is added to it. Friends also use it for soups or meals also. I have recently began drinking a small glass of broth daily as it tastes OK & must be healthy.
Ingredients can be up to 20 veggies, i.e. onion, shallots, Zucchini, Asparagus, Bok Choy, Acorn Squash, Napa Cabbage, Scallions, Mushrooms, Peppers, Radish, Cucumber, Romaine Lettuce, Tomato, Chard, Okra. This varies per season.
Tony.

Jackie said...

not sure what I did wrong... but mine just tastes like onion water. I had onion, sweet potato, green beans, parsley, sage, green beans, and lettuce...

also, I have read other recipes that state to cook it in a crock pot "long is better" idea.. then others say the longer you cook it will get bitter...

im so confused!

tony c said...

I have just tried making a stock from onion and shallot skins, yes lovely golden colour but the taste was so horrendous It was dumped, it was more bitter than old tea kept in a bitter place for a bitter time in bittersville. I even tried adding sugar, no, balsamic vinegar, no again and a beef bullion cube but it was still totally inedible, so my advice is keep the onion skins to a minimum!!

terri s said...

This was great! I put veggies like onion and Potatoe skins and bay leaf and peppercorns in a cheesecloth bag while simmering. After straining the broth I removed and discarded the bag and pureed and sieved the remaining soft veggies for a smooth cream of veggie soup - bonus meal!

terri s said...

This was great! I put veggies like onion and Potatoe skins and bay leaf and peppercorns in a cheesecloth bag while simmering. After straining the broth I removed and discarded the bag and pureed and sieved the remaining soft veggies for a smooth cream of veggie soup - bonus meal!

john calabria said...

awesome, I've been simmering mine for too long..... I will stop at an hour...

Please read up on plastics, and try your best to distance yourself from them. even the so-called 'safe' ones are deemed by the scientists and lawyers who are paid by the plastics companies. checkout this months' Mother jones. Peace. -j

www.yogawithjohn.com

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Make Homemade Vegetable Stock From Kitchen Scraps

Although I love making soup, it's always bothered me that making stock feels so wasteful. As the child of one of the world's thriftiest people (love you, mom!), the idea of tossing a whole bunch of gorgeous carrots, celery, onions, and herbs into the pot, only to remove them all a little while later, replacing them with new veggies that would feature in the actual soup, has always rubbed me the wrong way.

And buying cartons of stock is expensive and those cartons may or may not actually be recyclable (nevermind whether my garbage company actually recycles the stuff it claims to recycle...) so that was not really doing it for me either. But then, a couple months ago, I saw a post on Facebook about making vegetable stock FROM KITCHEN SCRAPS!!!! My prayers had been answered.

Grist for the stock mill by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2012

So I started saving some of the veggie scraps (more below on which ones are best to use and which ones you should avoid) that would otherwise have gone straight into the compost bucket. I stored them in one of this one-gallon Ziploc bags in my freezer. Since I like to cook and I like vegetables, they started piling up pretty quickly.

Ziploc of frozen veggie scraps by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2012

Then I followed the incredibly simple instructions (basically, cover them with water, bring to a boil and simmer for one hour, then strain) to make my own homemade vegetable stock.

Simmering the vegetable by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2012

And guess what? It's good! It was easy. It was free. And absolutely no vegetables were wasted in its making. Once I was done with those scraps, they got tossed on the compost heap, too.

Veggie stock from kitchen scraps by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2012

Now we've got several containers of the stuff in our freezer, waiting for the next time we want to make some delicious soup. We also did an ice cube tray or two as it's great to have some smaller units of stock on hand if you just need to de-glaze a pan or add a little bit of liquid to something but don't want to go whole hog and defrost an entire yogurt container (those are our freezing containers of choice for bigger, liquid-y stuff) of the stuff.

Veggie stock from kitchen scraps by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2012

The only thing I plan to change is omitting onion skins as I think I might prefer a clearer-looking stock - onion skins add nice flavor but also darken the color considerably. This is totally up to you, though.

Veggie stock from kitchen scraps by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2012

So get scrappy and then get simmering! Once you're fully stocked, I've got a short list of delicious soups you might want to try your stock on at the bottom of this post.

Homemade Vegetable Stock From Kitchen Scraps
Makes roughly 3 quarts

Veggies To Save
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, onions (see my note below), fennel, chard, lettuce, potatoes, parsnips, green beans, pea pods, zucchini and other squash, bell peppers, eggplant, mushrooms, asparagus, corn cobs (think sweet!), winter 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 actually gone bad, of course.

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: cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, turnips, rutabagas, artichokes. And skip anything rotten or moldy.

Veggies You May Want to Skip
You can use beet root scraps and onion skins but just be aware that they will make your stock either a deep red or a deep brown so you may want to skip them. I plan to skip 'em in the future.

Storing the Scraps
You will want to collect roughly 4-6 cups of vegetables to make 2 quarts 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 (this is what I do.)

Making the Stock

1. Place roughly 4-6 cups of scraps in a 5 quart stock pot. Add 1-2 bay leaves and a few black peppercorns

2. 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.

3. Strain vegetables using a fine mesh strainer or a colander and giving them a press to make sure you get all the broth. Quick tip: I made mine in my steamer pot from Ikea which made the straining incredibly easy since all the veggies were in the steamer insert and I just lifted it out of the pot once it was done. Let cool then pour into glass jars, clean yogurt containers or freezer bags. Let cool completely in the fridge and then freeze or store for up to five days in the fridge.

You might also like:
Want even more recipes, photos, giveaways, and food-related inspiration? "Like" the Garden of Eating on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter or Pinterest.

27 comments:

Kitchen Ninja said...

Perfect! I, too, hate "wasting" veggie scraps, so I plan to tackle this one very soon. Thanks, Eve.

The Food Hunter said...

I do this

REAL VEGETABLE STOCK said...

Thanks on your tips.. Very good idea..

The Mersea Diet said...

Thanks for sharing your recipe..i will try to make it this night..

christian said...

I love to eat vegetables

Anonymous said...

Watch out for the BPA leaching through those plastic single-use containers when frozen! You may be doing more harm to your body than you know.

Eve Fox said...

A good point. The yogurt containers are far less likely to contain BPA from what I've read. However, I think there's less concern of leeching in a frozen environment (molecules are moving so slowly) than in a heated up one. And I'd always recommend letting the stock cool completely before putting it in something plastic to freeze.

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for this post. My mom was thrifty and it rubbed off on me, too! I'm a big composter--and your idea of throwing some things in a ziplock bag and then composting is perfect.

Abigail said...

Thank you. this is on my 2013 to do (regularly) list. As is being more consistant in composting, and they seem to go hand in hand to a degree.

Anonymous said...

Such a great post. I started saving scraps 1 month ago and it's amazing how much I was throwing away before.

I do have a question though. What about kale scraps? Are those good to save for stock or does kale give it too strong of a taste?

Thanks!

Eve Fox said...

I think kale might be a little strong but have not actually tried it so maybe just give it a try and see if you like it?

Jennifer said...

Do potato skins work as well?

Eve Fox said...

Hi Jennifer, yes, you could use potato skins - I included potato in the list of veggies to save for this purpose.

Lori said...

Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. I've got all my scraps saved up and about to make my first batch. I am curious though if you can add tomato scraps?

When I make chicken stock I put the stock into ice trays, freeze then put into a ziplock baggie in my freezer. It's convenient because I can pull out however much I need and never waste any of my stock.

Lori said...

Sorry, I missed that you already mentioned using an ice tray.

Wallpaper backgrounds said...

Thanks on your tips, very Good post :D

Darren Rushton said...

Thank you so much for this! This suits my diet and budget so well!

Darren Rushton said...

Thank you so much for this. I am looking forward to trying this out. It suits both my diet and my budget. Thanks!

Kelsey said...

Made this tonight with scraps of eggplant, carrot, parsnip, sage, greens, chinese long beans, and onion skin. The dark color from the onion skins was perfect for French onion soup -I added a little nutritional yeast and a dash of red wine for the best French onion soup I've ever had! Thanks for sharing your tips of which veggies to use!

allijb said...

Thank you for sharing such a simple recipe! I have been looking for a recipe to use up the veggie scraps that I started storing in our freezer!

Anonymous said...

I too love making my own broth and was amazed at how much I was throwing out once I started saving scraps. I confess that I even hate removing and discarding the scraps when the broth is done cooking. I have started leaving some of the veggies in the broth and using my immersible blender to puree them. Warning - you will not have a clear broth if you do this but it is tastey. I like knowing the veggies are still in there. Always remove things like celery, that do not puree well.

Anonymous said...

My wife & I were declared gluten-free a couple of years ago, thru ALCAT, so changed our eating habits. We both enjoy cooking, so we were introduced to different veggies that we had never used, and broth seemed a logical way to utilize scraps. This was new to us so set off using both the scraps & added different herbs that were just lying idle. The finished product tasted OK, so it has become a regular part of my daily habit to store our scraps. Because our diet varies from week to week I have never used the same mix twice, &I am now up to number 23. i record all that is used in scraps & herbs. This is probably anal, but it keeps track of what we are using. If a recipe calls for liquid the broth is subbed, or chicken bouillon is added to it. Friends also use it for soups or meals also. I have recently began drinking a small glass of broth daily as it tastes OK & must be healthy.
Ingredients can be up to 20 veggies, i.e. onion, shallots, Zucchini, Asparagus, Bok Choy, Acorn Squash, Napa Cabbage, Scallions, Mushrooms, Peppers, Radish, Cucumber, Romaine Lettuce, Tomato, Chard, Okra. This varies per season.
Tony.

Jackie said...

not sure what I did wrong... but mine just tastes like onion water. I had onion, sweet potato, green beans, parsley, sage, green beans, and lettuce...

also, I have read other recipes that state to cook it in a crock pot "long is better" idea.. then others say the longer you cook it will get bitter...

im so confused!

tony c said...

I have just tried making a stock from onion and shallot skins, yes lovely golden colour but the taste was so horrendous It was dumped, it was more bitter than old tea kept in a bitter place for a bitter time in bittersville. I even tried adding sugar, no, balsamic vinegar, no again and a beef bullion cube but it was still totally inedible, so my advice is keep the onion skins to a minimum!!

terri s said...

This was great! I put veggies like onion and Potatoe skins and bay leaf and peppercorns in a cheesecloth bag while simmering. After straining the broth I removed and discarded the bag and pureed and sieved the remaining soft veggies for a smooth cream of veggie soup - bonus meal!

terri s said...

This was great! I put veggies like onion and Potatoe skins and bay leaf and peppercorns in a cheesecloth bag while simmering. After straining the broth I removed and discarded the bag and pureed and sieved the remaining soft veggies for a smooth cream of veggie soup - bonus meal!

john calabria said...

awesome, I've been simmering mine for too long..... I will stop at an hour...

Please read up on plastics, and try your best to distance yourself from them. even the so-called 'safe' ones are deemed by the scientists and lawyers who are paid by the plastics companies. checkout this months' Mother jones. Peace. -j

www.yogawithjohn.com