I like to think that we don’t produce much waste in our home. I like to think that we actually do more good for the environment around us than harm. I’d really like to believe this is the case in most homes.
Whether this is the truth time will only tell.
In the meantime there are several ridiculously easy ways to eliminate waste, ahem reduce-reuse-recycle. Goodwill; I freaking love it. Hand-me-downs; bring it on. Almost our entire home has been furnished this way. I don’t buy new clothes; haven’t in nearly 2 years (okay, save the very occasional Target 70% off item). I use two websites religiously for clothing and shoes for the boys and I; Thredup and Poshmark (find my listings on the app using @susanlin). Regarding both sites, please ask me any user questions you might have! I’ve used Poshmark for 4 years and Thredup for 2 years, so I can definitely assist you – and get you discounts if you ask me before you shop!
I could speak about the wonders of getting a good deal intermixed with helping the environment for several hours, however I digress, you came here for the stock!
Making homemade stock is so easy, so comically ridiculously easy that it is one of those things I wish I had known about years ago! The fact that I reuse vegetable scraps that would have otherwise ended up in the garbage is an added environmental bonus on top of the huge economic savings! You are certainly able to use this same recipe with fresh veggies if you don’t want to wait for scraps, but we managed to fill two bags in just 3 weeks.
We simply keep gallon ziploc bags in the freezer and add scraps of vegetables each time we cut some up. It’s also a nice way to use veggies that are about to go bad, as you can throw them in your bags before that happens. The types of things we had this go around were: carrot peels; ends of celery, onions, tomatoes, peppers, and garlic; and mushrooms and zucchini that were about to turn.
You will want to avoid potatoes as this will absorb more flavor than add to it. You will also want to avoid broccoli and beets, as they will give it a bitter flavor. Don’t use anything that has actually spoiled.
Decide on your flavorings. You’ll definitely want some bay leaf, but beyond that it is up to you. I like a very versatile stock, so I kept my seasonings basic. I added a little extra garlic, whole peppercorns, bay leaf, and some fresh basil.
You’ll want to thaw your veggies and then thoroughly rinse them, especially as they are scraps. I did this a little bit at a time to ensure they were clean. The last thing you want is dirt in your fresh stock!
Dump your scraps and seasonings in your pot. As I was using two bags worth of scraps I went with a very large soup pot. If you are making less, use a smaller pot. You’ll want the scraps to fill about 2/3 of the pot.
Fill the pot with cold water and let it come to just a simmer. DO NOT BOIL! You want to extract the flavors without rapidly cooking the vegetables. Once the pot reaches a simmer, turn the heat down and simmer for 1 hour. Anything above an hour and the vegetables will start to cook down and effect the flavor of your stock.
After one hour you have created delicious vegetable stock! The method I used for draining was to put a very small weaved colander on a bowl and ladle out the veggies and juice.
Then you’ll need to store it. I chose wide-mouth pint and a half jars because I appreciate the measurements along the side of the jars and the freezing level indicator.
Fill your jars and tighten your lids just to fingertip tight. I was able to get 7 jars of stock out of just 2 bags of scraps! Considering we usually pay between $2.50-$3 per carton of stock and we go through a lot, that is a huge savings – from something that otherwise would have been tossed away!
It is ready to use right away or refrigerate if you’ll use it in the next few days. Otherwise the stock can be frozen for several years – just make sure you use freezer friendly jars!