Vegetable stock is one of those ingredients that is easy to buy off the shelf yet so much more delicious – and economical – when cooked from scratch. And you don't have to purchase pounds of fresh veggies to make it.
Using vegetable peelings, stalks, and leaves can be a great way to save money and avoid wasting food. Here are some tips for saving vegetable scraps, which can be used in our basic Vegetable Stock recipe.
• Vegetables to use: Onions, carrots, and celery are the key ingredients in vegetable stock, but many other vegetables can add depth and flavor. Wash and save roots, stalks, leaves, ends, and peelings from vegetables such as leeks, scallions, garlic, fennel, chard, lettuce, potatoes, parsnips, green beans, squash, bell peppers, eggplant, mushrooms, and asparagus. Corn cobs, winter squash skins, beet greens, and herbs like parsley and cilantro are also good additions.
• Vegetables to avoid: Scraps from the following vegetables are better off going into the compost bin, as their flavors can be too overpowering: cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, turnips, rutabagas, artichokes. Beet roots and onion skins should also be avoided, unless you don't mind your stock turning red or brown.
• Spoiled vegetables: Although stock is a great way to use veggies that are wilted or slightly past their prime, be sure not to use produce that is rotten or moldy.
• Storing scraps: You will want to collect about 4 cups of vegetables to make 2 quarts of stock. Save scraps throughout the week, wash and chop them into similar sizes, and keep them in an airtight bag or container in the refrigerator. If you are collecting scraps for longer than a week, store them in the freezer.
Do you have any other tips to share?
Recipe: D.I.Y. Vegetable Stock
How To: Make Chicken Stock
Good Tip: Stock in the Slow Cooker
Weeknight Meal Tip: Frozen Homemade Stock Portions
(Image: Flickr member chrisfreeland2002 licensed under Creative Commons)