Found Stock (Waste Not, Want Not)

20 Mar

Hate throwing things out? Me too!

(I am trying to work through a tendency to clutter in all areas of my life, but right now I am referring to the kitchen exclusively).

We are just starting to compost over here – actually, my dad is doing it with lawn clippings and autumn leaves so I can’t claim any credit — and haven’t sorted out how to approach the whole food waste thing. In the meantime, with a freezer bag you can make good use of vegetable trimmings by making a very nice, low sodium stock for soups. No two ever taste the same (and I admit to taking out some of the celery and adding extra carrots or onions for sweetness), but since this is not a professional kitchen – who cares? I like to think of home-cooking more as live theater than a DVD of a movie – full of surprise flavors, new interpretations, flubbed lines and quick recoveries, and the occasional revelatory performance by an understudy. The fact that I don’t have to make it exactly the same every time takes a lot of the pressure right off!

So, here’s an easy and cheap way to reduce your waste stream and have a terrific stock on hand for spontaneous outburst of homemade soup!

Found Vegetable Stock (makes about a quart)

8 to 10 cups of vegetable trimmings (about a gallon* freezer bag full – just keep adding to a freezer bag or other container in your freezer till you have enough!): carrot tops, onion peels, garlic peels, pea pods, celery bits, stems ends of squash, tomato cores. DO NOT include cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower.

½ – 1 whole head garlic, broken in half, unpeeled

1 onion, quartered and unpeeled

Enough water to cover

1-1.5 tsp salt per quart of water

Bring all ingredients to a boil in a generous pot. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer gently for about an hour. Cool to lukewarm, then strain (I used a colander lined with paper towel) into a fridge or freezer-friendly container and store in fridge or freezer.

*This post has been corrected! The original suggested a quart freezer bag and has been corrected to a GALLON freezer bag. Thanks to my sharp-eyed, keen-witted reader Kendra for catching the error!


11 Responses to “Found Stock (Waste Not, Want Not)”

  1. Nassaurus March 27, 2012 at 10:50 pm #

    hehehe i like the theatre vs DVD comparison 🙂 great post!

  2. kathryningrid March 24, 2012 at 11:04 am #

    You know what a big fan of homemade stock I am! This is a beauty. 🙂

  3. Yinzerella March 21, 2012 at 5:37 am #

    I have a stock bag in my freezer and was wondering if I could make a veggie-only broth with it–I’ve made a few chicken stocks but they’re always so fatty regardless of how well I skim.
    Thanks for this recipe!

  4. Mad Dog March 20, 2012 at 5:42 pm #

    That looks very good and clear! I try to use up any old vegetables on Sundays, when I normally cook a roast – I cook up the veggies as stock to go in the gravy 😉

    • Natalia at Hot, Cheap & Easy March 21, 2012 at 7:15 am #

      Ooooh, that’s clever. Do you use potato peels and other starchy veggies in your stock?

      • Mad Dog March 21, 2012 at 7:26 am #

        No I tried that but the potato makes the liquid cloudy and slightly sticky from the starch – so I just compost them. It makes me wish I kept a pig!
        But I do hang on to leak tops and even slightly soggy onions do very well in stock. I always seem to have leftover carrots, but they all get used in some kind of stock. Carrot tops are fantastic too 😉


  1. A penny saved….five tiny household savings tips « Hot, Cheap & Easy - October 23, 2012

    […] 3. Use your vegetable scraps to make your own found stock. […]

  2. Green Tomato and Tomatillo Bisque (Life-Goes-On-Lessons from the Garden) « Hot, Cheap & Easy - September 4, 2012

    […] to 3 cups of vegetable stock ( Click for Chef Deborah’s garden stock or my Found Vegetable Stock. You will want it to be pale, so leave out onion […]

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