Making your own stock is not only incredibly nutritious and yummy, it is also a great way to make use of vegetable scraps--and it's wonderfully simple to boot!
As you can see from the picture above, making stock is not a glamorous or carefully measured process, it's a 'throw your odds & ends in and see how it turns out'--that's what I love about it!
I like to save all the ends and peels and skins and stems I use in my day-to-day cooking by freezing them until I'm ready to make a batch of stock. It's actually quite convenient to keep a large bin in the freezer, take it out as you're chopping and just throw the scraps right in!
Scraps I freeze for stock:
- onion and garlic skins
- stems of herbs
- stalks from kale and other cooking greens
- ends of carrots, celery, beans, etc
- mushroom stems
- potato peels
note: I generally compost tomatoes, peppers and squash rather than using them in stock, though there is certainly nothing bad or wrong about including them in your stock! The wonderful thing about making stock is that no matter what you throw in, it's going to be full of incredible nutrients!
What I add to stock when I have it on hand:
- fresh onions, skin on, quartered
- lots of garlic!! (with the skin)
- copious amounts of culinary herbs + spices, dried or fresh:
- black pepper(corns)
- bay leaf
- seaweed like kombu, kelp, wakame, dulse, etc.
- medicinal mushrooms like shiitake, chaga, reishi, turkey tail, etc.
- a splash of cider vinegar or wine
- herbs (burdock, dandelion, echinacea, astragalus, etc!)
Once your freezer-bin is full (or if you are just in the mood to make stock, freezer bin or not!), dump all your chosen scraps and ingredients into a large soup pot. Cover with water, add salt if desired, and bring to a boil. Give it a good stir, and push all the floating skins to the bottom. Cover and simmer until you're ready to strain it. Depending on how much time I have, I let mine simmer anywhere from 1-8 hours! When it's 'finished', strain with a fine mesh strainer (use cheese cloth if you want a clearer broth). Use immediately, or let cool before refrigerating or freezing. Use up the stock in the fridge within about a week. Mine lasts for many months in the freezer!
Uses for your homemade vegetable stock:
- in homemade soups, of course!
- to cook your grains in (use as you would water)
- to sip on when you're sick, feel like you're getting sick, or if you just want a boost of nutrients!
- add a spoonful of miso paste to a cup/bowl of warm broth for a rich, yummy healing potion
- to braise greens with
How do you use your homemade stock? As always, please don't hesitate to get in touch with any questions! Happy cooking!