Waste Not, Want Not: Homemade Stock

If you've never made your own stock before, you're missing out on something really delicious that's also really easy. After reading Food52's post on how to make vegetable stock without a recipe, I was inspired to give it a try and now it's something I do regularly. I make my own stock from leftover vegetables about once a month, and I either freeze the stock for soup or I use it for cooking during the next few weeks. It's so flavorful, and I feel great knowing that I've found a use for food that would normally be discarded. Plus, I love that it's homemade and I'm that much closer to becoming Martha Stewart. (!!!!)

If you cook a few times per week, you probably have tons of ingredients you can use in your stock. I keep a gallon-size ziploc bag in my freezer and every time I trim carrots, celery, onions and the like, I throw the ends in my freezer. When the bag is full, I know it's time to make some stock. Sometimes I have some chicken bones on hand that I put in the pot with my veggies, which I personally think adds another depth of flavor and makes it taste even more delicious. 

All you need to do is put all your frozen veggies in a large pot with salted water and let it simmer for the next 4+ hours. Take a nap, catch up on your DVR, clean your apartment. You'll know when it's ready because the vegetables will look like mush, but the broth will be bursting with flavor. At this point, you can strain and discard the mushy veggies, and then you'll be left with a pot full of homemade stock that you can use as you please. Trust me, it's worth the time!

Thanksgiving 2014 Stock: turkey breast bones, garlic, onions, celery, carrots, parsley, scallions, thyme, green pepper

Thanksgiving 2014 Stock: turkey breast bones, garlic, onions, celery, carrots, parsley, scallions, thyme, green pepper

Nov 2014 Stock: tomatoes, carrots, onions, celery, parsley, string beans, scallions, chicken bones, thyme, broccoli, asparagus.

Nov 2014 Stock: tomatoes, carrots, onions, celery, parsley, string beans, scallions, chicken bones, thyme, broccoli, asparagus.

June 2014 Stock: Kale, tomatoes, onion, parsley, thyme, chicken bones.

June 2014 Stock: Kale, tomatoes, onion, parsley, thyme, chicken bones.

Some tips:

  • Make sure to use a healthy amount of salt. I always forget that I need an extra tablespoon or two of salt to make the broth extra tasty, or else it ends up being something more like vegetable water. 
  • In addition to my frozen vegetable trimmings, I also make sure to include a handful of garlic cloves, whatever fresh herbs I have on hand, an extra onion, and any vegetables I have in my fridge that I don't think I'll be able to cook before they go bad. 
  • According to Food52, you can use almost any combination of vegetables in your stock, but they recommend staying away from potatoes (they will turn your broth cloudy), beets (they will turn your broth pink), and rosemary (it adds a slightly bitter flavor). Everything else is fair game.

Hope this has inspired you to think twice about the food you're throwing away. Waste not, want not!