One day, while chopping ingredients for a vegetable rice pilaf, my growing pile of vegetable scraps caused me to pause. Should I just throw these scraps into the garbage? Or, could they be repurposed?
It’s easy to get stuck in that single-use mindset of mindlessly tossing things into the garbage without considering ways to repurpose them. Contemplating my options, I considered starting a composting pile. Then, I realized there was a simple step in the middle that was easy, healthy, and tasty to do - make vegetable stock!
I put my spent vegetables into a pot of water with herbs and some other now sorry-looking vegetables my overzealous eyes had fancied while shopping the week before. Onions, mushrooms, salt, peppercorns, allspice berries, rosemary, leeks, sage, thyme, parsley, and garlic are also wonderful additions.
There is really no right or wrong way to make stock. But, using vegetables already found in your kitchen is a great way to minimize food waste, save food costs, and make a tasty, healthy broth. In comparison, store-bought stocks cost much more, are loaded with preservatives, have too much salt, and usually don’t live up to the picture on the label!
After stock has cooled, pour into ice cube trays, containers, or plastic bags. Freeze for later use or refrigerate if you plan on using it that week. This stock investment will yield you a fortune of flavor and healthfulness! Last but not least, those spent veggies are now ready for your compost heap - yielding even greater dividends on your investment into a happy and healthy lifestyle!
Additional tips: Before boiling the stock, you can develop more complex flavor by sweating the vegetables in a frying pan with a bit of salt and olive oil, or by roasting or grilling them. Don’t limit yourself to veggies. Try making stock with your spent beef bones, fish, shellfish or chicken carcasses. Broths are a great base for soup, bisque, stew, stuffing, brine, marinades, risotto, rice, pilaf, sauces, quinoa, braising, puree, dressing, pasta, gravies and pet food too.
Enjoy your stock investment!