Homemade Vegetable Stock

Making your own stock is not only incredibly nutritious and yummy, it is also a great way to make use of vegetable scraps. It doesn’t have to be a 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 -

Photo by leonori/iStock / Getty Images
  • 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)

  • culinary herbs + spices like rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano, basil, parsley, dill, black peppercorns, bay leaf, etc

  • kombu, kelp, wakame, dulse, or other sea vegetables

  • medicinal mushrooms like shiitake, chaga, reishi, turkey tail, etc.

  • carrots

  • celery

  • a splash of cider vinegar or wine

  • herbs (burdock, dandelion, echinacea, astragalus, etc!)

directions-

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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 you’re ready, strain with a fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth if you want a clearer broth.

  4. 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!

  • as liquid for cooking grains or legumes (replace water amount with stock)

  • 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!

Pumpkin Butter {made from fresh pumpkin}

Breakfast has really been something to look forward to ever since I made this delicious and not-too-sweet pumpkin butter! It is a beautiful way to bring in and celebrate fall, and is absolutely divine spread thickly on a slice of warm, buttered sourdough. Though a slightly labor-intensive recipe, spending the afternoon in the kitchen was sort of an initiation into Autumn... not to mention the deliciously healing aromatherapy that happened.

I hope you enjoy the process as much as the product! Happy cooking...

ingredients:

  • 1 sugar pumpkin

  • 1.5 C apple cider

  • 1.5 t ground cinnamon

  • 1 t freshly ground ginger (or dried)

  • pinch of ground nutmeg, clove + allspice (to taste)

  • opt. maple syrup, honey, raw sugar, or other sweetener to taste

  • opt. 1 - 3 T ghee

yield: about 4 pint size mason jars (depending on how much you cook down)

directions -

  1. Somehow, you need to remove the skin from the pumpkin. I sliced the stem off, cut it in half, scooped out the innards, cubed it, then removed the skin from each cube. You could also roast the pumpkin in the oven until it's soft enough to scoop out the flesh (about 30 minutes). If you choose to do that, I'd coat it very lightly in a fat of your choice (coconut oil, olive oil, ghee, butter, etc.) and set the oven to 450. If you're roasting rather than cubing, skip to step 3!

  2. Put the peeled cubes into a pot and cover about halfway with cider. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a steady simmer, stirring occasionally until the pumpkin is quite soft.

  3. Puree the pumpkin to the consistency of your choice (rustic, chunky pumpkin butter could be fantastic too!) either by using an immersion/hand blender directly in the pot, or pouring into a regular blender or food processor. Once blended, transfer back into pot.

  4. Add in spices (and ghee if you want) and simmer on low until the puree boils down, darkens in color, and reaches a consistency that is appealing to you. I left mine on low for about 40 minutes. You might want to slightly cover the pot because the butter should be "boiling" in thick bubbles that will spatter and make a mess! I propped the lid open with a wooden spoon to release some moisture, which speeds up the thickening process. I like to add in my sweetener at the end to taste, especially if I'm using raw honey.

  5. Transfer to jars and let cool before covering. Store in the refrigerator, or freeze for the cold Winter months to come! The "expiration date" will depend on how much sugar you add. Definitely store in the fridge or freezer! Note: if the final product is more of a liquid consistency, it could separate in the refrigerator. This is fine, you'll just have to stir before consuming.

ideas -

  • spread on toast in the morning

  • add to oatmeal, smoothies, yogurt parfaits and desserts

  • add to coffee?? 

Please share ideas + uses below. Enjoy!

Homemade Apple {Cider} Vinegar

ingredients:

  • whole organic* apples (or apple cores), in large cubes OR uv/un-pasteurized apple cider 
  • filtered water (if using cider, don't add water)

Place cubed apples (cores, stems, seeds & all) in a large glass jar. Cover with filtered water & gently cap (don't seal too tightly, perhaps use a dishcloth & rubber band; see below). Let sit in a cool, dark place until the "mother" forms--an opaque-white, gel-like disc floating on the surface of the liquid. When you think the vinegar is ready, smell & taste check it. If it smells good** & tastes like vinegar, strain into a dark glass jar. Save the mother (covered completely in the vinegar you just made) for future vinegar making, or start your next batch right away. 

notes: I used about 2 apples and a 1/2 gallon mason jar. I lightly screwed on a plastic cap, and put it on the top shelf of my cool, dark pantry for about a year. I imagine I could have strained it sooner as the vinegar "mother" formed about 5 months in. 

*Using organic apples is important as pesticide residue could potentially interfere with proper fermentation. 

**Many people--especially in our modern Western culture of expiration dates, refrigerators and antibacterial everything--are hesitant to try making fermented/cultured foods at home. The advice I follow in my kitchen is that our noses & tastebuds know the difference between productively fermented and rotten/moldy. If you open up your jar of kraut or vinegar and are repulsed by what you smell, that's a good indicator that it's not meant to be consumed. 

Miso-Tamari Sauce

ingredients -

  • 1 part miso paste

  • 1 part miso tamari (or soy sauce)

  • 1 part rice vinegar

  • 2 parts toasted sesame oil

  • optional 4 parts olive oil (for a more liquid consistency)

  • opt. dash of freshly grated ginger or ginger powder, 1 clove minced garlic, sesame seeds, dulse seaweed flakes, green onion or chives

directions-

  1. Combine all ingredients and mix well.

  2. Use this as a glaze for fish or tempeh, a sauce for a vegetable stir-fry, or in a rice bowl (recipe ideas here).

ideas -