a friend and i were talking, and she mentioned how terrible she feels about throwing out food that has gone bad in the fridge. we have local green-bin composting and i have a composter in the yard as well, but we ended up talking about different ways to use up veggies and scraps. i mentioned how i use mine to make stock, and she wanted to know how i do it. it’s fairly straightforward, but here it is for her and anyone wanting to make their own.
i keep a bag in the freezer and i add veggie scraps to it. things like carrot ends, celery tops, parsley stems. most parts of a veggie are edible, but some are not (rhubarb leaves, for example, have a toxin) so do your own research about what you keep and toss.
once the bag in the freezer is full and i’m ready to make the stock, i get out my trusty stock pot and set the temperature to medium-high heat.
this next step is optional, but i like to sauté an onion in the pot first. i just chop one onion and add it to a drizzle of olive oil. the caramelized onions add a bit of sweetness and flavour to the stock.
then i dump the veggies into the pot and give them a quick stir. i add water to fill the pot, about 8 to 10 cups or so, and let this come to a boil with the lid off.
once boiling, i lower the heat and let it simmer for a couple of hours with the lid set askew on the top. this lets some evaporation happen and concentrates the flavour of the stock.
meanwhile, i get a large bowl and set a colander inside it.
for a clearer stock, you can line the colander with layers of cheesecloth, but i usually skip this step because i add more veggies, beans or grains when i use the stock in recipes. the odd bit of veggie floating in my stock doesn’t bother me. some recipes call for clarified stock. here is a simple set of steps to do that.
i pour the contents of the pot into the colander. i lift the bowl, squeeze out any extra liquid from the veggies by pressing with the back of my spoon. and that’s pretty much it.
i lift the colander and the stock remains in the bowl, where i let it cool.
then i transfer it to an airtight jar. you could transfer it to multiple smaller jars depending on how you plan on using the stock. photobombing squirrels are optional…
this keeps for about 3 days in the fridge and 3 months in the freezer, but it rarely lasts that long. i use it in soups and stews mostly, but also in curries, for rehydrating stir fries, and other recipes as needed. i also use it to cook quinoa, and with summer around the corner, i’ll be making more of my quinoa garden salad.