If you’re a regular reader of Quinoa & Cookies, you’ve probably noticed that I use vegetable stock all the time in my recipes. From providing the base for soups and stews to using as the cooking liquid for quinoa and rice, vegetable stock is a staple in my kitchen. For the longest time, this meant I was going to the store and buying those boxed stocks. They aren’t too expensive and they are super convenient; it seemed like a no-brainer. Then, somewhat recently, it dawned on me: I could make this stuff! And my life hasn’t been the same since.
Honestly, this is one of the easiest, smartest swaps you can make in your kitchen. First, it’s a huge money saver. As inexpensive as the boxed stocks can be, this is even cheaper. Plus, it is crazy healthy. Unlike the prepackaged stuff, homemade stock doesn’t have any additives or preservatives at all; for me, this includes salt, which gives you so much more control over your sodium intake. To top it all off, it is a nice “green” option. You don’t waste all the odds and ends of your veggies, and you don’t end up with a stockpile of boxes in your recycling.
Want to start? Just save all of your vegetable scraps! I know this might sound weird, but it’s easy, I promise. When I’m cleaning vegetables for any of my recipes, I take the peels, or the cores, or the ends, or whatever else, and put them in a large Ziploc bag that I keep in the door of my freezer instead of tossing them into the trash. When the bag gets full, I know it’s time to make stock. Just put the scraps in a stockpot, cover it with water, and boil it. That’s it. A gallon sized bag of scraps tends to yield around five quarts of stock, which usually ends up being enough for me until I have enough scraps to make a new batch. You seriously cannot go wrong making this!!
Homemade Vegetable Stock
- 1 gallon sized bag of vegetable scraps (I use onion skins, garlic skins, carrot peels/ends, celery ends/leaves/cores, lettuce cores, mushroom stems, potato peels, pepper cores, squash ends, tomato innards, etc)
- 2-3 Bay Leaves
- 1 tsp whole peppercorns
- Place vegetable scraps in a large stock pot with the bay leaves and peppercorns, and add enough water to just cover.
- Bring to a boil over high heat.
- Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for an hour.
- Strain stock, and store in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for months.
Note: Avoid using broccoli/cabbage in the stock as the bitterness of the vegetables will be intensified in the cooking process. Also, the different vegetables that you use will impact the color of the stock (i.e., if you use beets it will turn red; onion skins will make it more orange).
This post is part of A Vegan Holiday, a collaboration among vegan and veg-friendly bloggers. Follow along on social media with #AVeganHoliday. Want to learn more or become a contributor? Find out more here or here.