If you have ever dreamed of making something out of nothing, then sodium-free homemade vegetable stock is your next project!
Save all your vegetable scraps in a Ziplock bag in the freezer. When you have a gallon bag filled, make stock! We’ve been doing it for 9 months now, and we’ll never go back to store-bought, because of the customizable flavor and the cost: free! We’re making a spicy soup today, so we’re using a blend from two different bags.
Yes, we have two bags: one for spicy stock, with hot pepper ends, stems, ribs and seeds, and scallion scraps. The other bag is onion, carrot, celery, garlic, and sweet peppers, among other things.
NOTE: If you don’t want your stock spicy, leave out the hot pepper pieces, and it will be as mellow as John Coltrain’s “My Favorite Things.” Check it out here, and listen while you keep reading! J.C. is great music to cook by.
In a large stock pot, measure out 1 Tbsp of canola oil. If you have an enameled cast iron pot, use it, so there’s limited chance of the veggies burning, in case you get distracted. Once you burn garlic, there’s no going back. It has to be tossed. (Don’t ask. Painful memory! LOL!) Then toss in a bag of veggie scraps. Today, ours were mainly celery, carrot, scallions, onion peels and skins, garlic ends and skins, and the jalapeño. Don’t worry about defrosting the scraps first. Just toss ’em in and let heat do it’s thing. We added rosemary, thyme and flat parsley to the pot from the garden. You don’t have to, but if they’re on hand, go for it!
Is there a difference between stock and broth?
If you’ve ever wondered, there is a difference between stock and broth, but it’s murky. Broth is unseasoned. Stock is more complex and flavorful, because it is seasoned with herbs and spices. Traditionally, the term “broth” was used to refer to meat-based liquids, like beef or chicken broth, and stock was a plant-based liquid. However, vegetable broth and vegetable stock are both available for purchase in grocery stores. (Confused yet? Me too!) We’re sticking with our original definition. Stock is seasoned, broth is not.
(We digress …)
Sauté the vegetables, stirring every few minutes, over medium-high heat. After about 15 minutes, they should be sufficiently wilted, and the flavors will have caramelized a bit. Pour in 16 cups warm water, and bring the stock to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce the flame and simmer, covered, for 1 hour. Making stock is the kind of project you can do on a lazy Sunday afternoon, or while cooking dinner on a weeknight. It takes very little thought, and you’ll reap the benefits afterwards. Bonus: the house smells great!!
Strain the stock through a fine mesh sieve. We love our chinois, because it makes the process effortless with it’s sturdy stand and large-volume capacity. It’s one of those tools that, once you use it, you’ll wonder what you ever did without it.
That’s it! Now you have 10 cups of stock! We portioned out six cups for freezing, and the remaining 4 cups will be incorporated into our soup later this week. We LOVE these cube trays from Amazon for freezing our stock for future use. They even have the amount in the cube printed onto the back of the cube! (See photos below.) They also have a great silicone lid that prevents the liquid from sloshing about when moving them from counter to freezer. I don’t know what I did without these trays!
We’ll be using our stock for a corn soup later this week, so watch for it here on the blog. Previous K2.0 recipes that call for veggie stock are: Renegade Soup, Carrot Soup, and a vegetarian version of our Cauliflower Curry Soup.
- 1 cup onion skins and scraps
- ½ cup carrot scraps
- ½ cup celery ends and scraps
- ¼ cup jalapeño stems, seeds and membranes
- 1 cup tomato cores
- ½ cup sweet pepper membranes and seeds
- 1 Tbsp garlic skins and ends
- 1 Tbsp canola oil
- Place all scraps in a large stock pot with 1 Tbsp. canola oil.
- Sauté for 15 minutes, stirring often.
- Add 16 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for one hour.
- Strain the broth through a fine mesh sieve.