A versatile flavour base for so many recipes, it’s a shame that such a simple process is often bypassed in preference for store-bought bouillon cubes or canned broth packed with sodium and preservatives. Most of us are so used to buying stock as we need it, but it really is just a matter of throwing everything in a pot and simmering away for a couple of hours. It can be made in large batches and frozen for later use.
Food waste has become a huge issue in countries like the UK and USA, but storing your vegetable scraps is an easy way to reduce the waste from your own kitchen. Every time I chop vegetables for a recipe, I wash the unused odds and ends (carrot butts, onion skins, celery leaves, herb stems, etc.) and chuck them in a freezer bag until I have enough to make some stock. You can use practically anything, but beware of overpowering flavours like cabbage, artichokes, turnips, broccoli, and cauliflower. Also note that beets or red onion skins will give your stock a pink hue. Certain herbs like rosemary might give a slightly bitter taste. Experiment freely! It makes for a rather fun and creative process. Do let me know if you have any tips of your own.
Vegetable Scrap Stock
- onion skins
- carrot peels / butts
- celery ends / leaves
- leek tops
- parsley stems
- 3 cloves garlic
- 5 whole black peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- water to cover
When enough washed scraps have accumulated in your freezer, place in a large pot on the stove and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil before reducing the heat and letting it simmer uncovered for about 1 hour. Avoid overcooking, which will diminish the flavour.
Strain out the scraps, repeating with a cheesecloth-lined sieve for an even clearer stock. It will store in the refrigerator for about a week and freeze nicely in ice trays for use over a number of months.
Non-veg broths/stocks have a special distinction: clear and flavourful broth is made from the meat, whereas rich and full-bodied stock is made with bones and therefore packed with natural gelatine. When it comes to vegetables, ‘broth’ is technically more like a seasoned stock, something you could imagine slurping all on its own whereas raw stock is meant as as foundation for other recipes like soup or risotto. Add some salt or soy sauce to taste if you’re planning to use this recipe in a more direct manner.