The art of preparing easy vegetable stock using food scraps that is usually wasted such as peels and stalks is the guarantee of an economical and nutritious cuisine. More than a recipe, this is a guide on how to make natural vegetable stock with the ingredients you already have at home.
Do you know that tip of carrot that is left over? That useless stalk of herb? And the withered onion almost germinating that you would throw away? Keep it all! These ‘scraps’ of food still make a good broth.
Making vegetable stock is very easy, just chop some vegetables, put in the pan, cover with water, add herbs and spices, and let it cook! The fact is that the classic vegetable stock recipe is made with whole and new vegetables, which is not always feasible in the day-to-day kitchen that seeks to be economical and practical.
The solution is to include in the dynamic of your kitchen the preparation of vegetable stock that uses peels, stalks and leftovers that would most probably be discarded. For that, it is necessary to understand some concepts which we describe below.
How to Make Vegetable Stock at Home: Tips to Improvise
Freeze your kitchen scraps
Instead of throwing the stems and peels away, keep the remains in a bag inside the freezer. The medium size ziplock is ideal. When the bag is full, make the stock.
Understand what makes a good broth
Onions, carrots, celery, leeks and garlic are the base of the broth. Always keep everything you can from them, including the peels.
Other Vegetables to be added
Tomatoes, zucchini pieces, pumpkin peels, washed potato skins, beet peel, chives stems, eggplant tip, pepper tip, corn cob, pieces of green beans, fennel stalk, etc.
Attention! Stocks made with beets and onion skins will be dark, avoid using if you need a light coloured stock.
Vegetables that you should avoid adding
The vegetables of the Brassicaceae family give a bitter flavour to the broth. Therefore, it is best to avoid cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, kale, turnip, chard, Brussels sprouts, etc. Spinach and artichokes should also be avoided.
In the case of vegetables with a lot of starch such as potatoes and pumpkins, it is better to use only the peel in broths, otherwise, the flesh can absorb a lot of the broth’s flavour. On the other hand, potatoes and pumpkins are great for creamy soups.
Herbs and Spices
Woody branch herbs such as rosemary and thyme can go whole. For fragile leafy herbs, such as parsley, it is best to use only the stalk. Spices also give a special flavour, try adding cloves, star anise, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, ginger, etc.
The tip is not to add many varieties of herbs and spices in the same broth, so as not to mix the flavours you use, a good ratio is 2 herbs and 2-3 different spices.
Mushroom stalks add a special touch
Mushrooms make a great broth, add mushroom stems to the vegetable peels kept in the freezer.
Other unconventional ingredients that add complexity and flavour to the stock broth
- Seaweed like nori and kombu
- Cheese rind and scraps
- Miso, fermented soybean paste
- Carcasses and bones – to make chicken or beef broth
- Water that you cooked grains, such as beans, chickpeas, etc.
- Dry alcoholic beverages, such as cognac, vermouth, dry white wine, etc.
Do not add salt to your stock
Usually, the stock is the basis for other recipes, so it is better to leave it neutral and add salt only at the final preparation.
Concentrate before storing
The stock takes 30-45 minutes to get ready. If you are not going to use it immediately, remove the vegetables to avoid bittering and boil for a long time until the stock concentrates, only then store. This step is not mandatory, but it helps to optimize freezer space.
Have ready stock always at your hand
Freeze the stock in ice cubes or muffin shape, when firm transfer to a plastic bag.
How to use homemade vegetable broth?
You can practically replace the water in any recipe with vegetable stock. Use in risottos, soups, to cook meat, rice, baby food, etc.
Vegetable Stock with Kitchen Scraps
- 1 onion – chopped
- 1 ziplock bag frozen vegetable scraps
- herbs and spices of your choice
- 3 liters water – or sufficiente to fill the stock pan
- Add the ingredients to the stock pan
- Cover with water and keep over medium heat until boiling.
- As soon as it boils, turn the heat to a minimum and cook for approx. 45 min
- Wait to cool and strain.
- The broth is ready to be used in recipes or stored.
- The broth can be frozen in smaller pots or ice cubes. It lasts 3-6 months in the freezer or 3 days in the refrigerator in an airtight jar.
- Drained vegetables can be composted.
Try cooking regular rice with this stock.