Foodie Friday: Homemade Vegetable Stock

Vegetable scraps

photo by krugerin50

A friend reminded me of something that I do but hadn’t considered a recipe.

I make my own vegetable stock. 

It’s so easy, it’s almost criminal. Here’s my high tech system:

  1. Write on a medium to large container with lid or ziplock bag “VegStock”.
  2. Place the medium to large container or ziplock in freezer.
  3. When you cut vegetables such as celery, garlic, carrots, onions, anything except potatoes or tomatoes, really, throw the scraps into the bag/container.
  4. When the container/bag is full, take it out and dump the contents into a 6 quart or larger crockpot.
  5. Fill the crockpot with water.
  6. Turn the crockpot on low, and leave for 8-12 hours.
  7. Turn it off, take the crock out of the heating element in order to let it cool, and let sit for an hour.
  8. Ladle the stock into containers through a mesh strainer to catch any chunks, label and date, and freeze for future use.

So easy, a toddler AND a preschooler can help.

Two other little tricks:

1. After straining the vegetables and herbs out, I’ll often throw them back into the crockpot, fill with water again, and then cook on low overnight (because the initial straining and freezing process is always happening in the evening). In the morning, I have what I call “VegStock2.” Not quite as flavorful or nutritious as the original VegStock, but great for using instead of water to make rice, quinoa, or any savory grain.

2. To make a stock with strong flavor of a particular vegetable, I sometimes have multiple stock bags going in my freezer. I use garlic and onions in my refried beans, but those vegetables are removed well before eating. Since we use lots of garlic and onions, I mark a bag “Refried Bean Stock” and add all garlic and onion scraps. When I’m ready to make refried beans, the day before I make the Refried Bean Stock exactly as outlined above. Then, after soaking the dried beans, I’ll add as much of the Refried Bean Stock as I have and usually don’t need to add any additional water, onions, or garlic.

Oh, think about adding hot peppers to make a spicy broth. Doesn’t that sound like it would be an awesome remedy for a winter cold?

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