Having a jar of homemade stock available is at the top of my list of “essentials” when it comes to healthy cooking. I use stock for everything from sautéing greens and making rice to adding moisture to my veggie burger mix. It’s also a great way to use up bits and pieces of veggies that probably wouldn’t have a life of their own if not mixed together for stock. These are the stragglers that are one step ahead of the compost pile. Rather than using them to make dirt, use them to make stock.
what you need (this is a launching pad, use whatever you have on hand)
Place random veggie parts and pieces in a large, deep stock pot. Full the pot half-full with chopped veggies. Add some garlic, fresh or dried herbs (parsley, thyme, rosemary, cilantro, bay leaves), salt, 2 to 4 whole peppercorns and some dried mushrooms. The mushrooms are optional, but they do add a nice earthy flavor and substance to the stock. You can also add chopped jalapeno or red pepper flakes if you want stock with a kick. Cover with cold, filtered water, bring to a boil, turn heat down, put a lid on it and simmer for about 1 to 2 hours. Cool and strain. I often pick through the strained veggies and purée a few favorites to add a touch of thickness to the stock.
Veggie stock will keep in the fridge for about 4 or 5 days and in the freezer for 2 to 3 months. I freeze it in small batches, so I can pull out a container and use it for a couple of days to sauté vegetables or heat up already cooked rice or quinoa. I’m a fan of olive oil or coconut oil for sautéing, but using broth is low fat and low calorie. Plus it adds a nice, rich flavor to whatever you’re cooking.
* I keep a glass jar in the fridge for non-compostable (the elite stuff) veggie remnants during CSA season. I go through veggies so quickly that saving the better cast-aside pieces for making stock works well. Slightly past their prime is fine, bordering on old age is not good.
Peace, love and veggie remnants!