How To Make Vegetable Stock
From Kitchen Scraps
We used to use a lot of canned chicken and vegetable stock when we lived in the US. But here in Costa Rica those are very difficult to find and very expensive if you do find them. They only make bouillon here so all of the liquid broth and stock is imported from the US. Because of that, we started making our own more often. Since we are also making an effort to eat less animal products, we only use vegetable stock now.
Vegetable stock is great. It adds a ton of flavor and nutrients to anything you add it to. But I hate using a bunch of good vegetables to just boil them down. It just seems like a waste to me and ends up making the stock rather expensive to produce. But then I heard about how to make vegetable stock using scraps that you might otherwise throw away. Now that was intriguing. That makes it basically free. So I had to try it.
Now, we’ve been making our own vegetable stock from scraps for a couple months and I just had to share. It’s super easy, cuts down on kitchen waste, and saves money! Plus, you end up getting a ton of nutrients and flavor out of what otherwise would have been waste.
The process is simple. Get a gallon size resealable plastic bag and put it in your freezer. Whenever you are prepping vegetables, save any usable scraps like the ends of bell peppers or onions, tomato cores, tiny garlic cloves not worth peeling, etc., and throw them in the bag. You can also add vegetables or herbs that are nearing the end of their shelf life that you won’t use in time. Instead of letting them go bad and throwing them away or composting, just toss them in your freezer bag. Just don’t add anything that has actually started rotting or molding, or at least trim off the part that has gone bad.
After a week or two, depending on how much fresh vegetables you use, you should have a full bag of various herbs and vegetables. Just open it up and dump it all in the bottom of a large soup pot and fill it up with water. I also like to add some whole peppercorns and maybe a bay leaf or two. Then, boil it down for about 3 hours. After you’ve boiled it down, strain out the solids and press them to squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Now you have delicious and nutritious homemade vegetable stock. This will make quite a bit so you can freeze some and save it for later if you want.
That’s it! Once you’ve emptied out your freezer bag you can just rinse it out and return it to your freezer for your next batch. If you keep this up you can have a nearly unlimited supply of homemade vegetable stock for almost zero cost and effort. Use it to make rice, beans, soups, or sauces and it will add a ton of flavor.