Do you find yourself cooped up in the house during the long winter months on cold Sunday afternoons? Bring a bit of warmth and comfort to your home by simmering a batch of homemade stock on the stove using bits and pieces of vegetable trimmings collected from the week before.
You can utilize this liquid to flavor the upcoming week’s meals, as the base for quick and easy homemade soups or sip on mugs of this hot brew that are guilt-free to enjoy.
The best part is it’s free to do since you’re using bits that you’d normally throw out.
Interested? Here’s how to do it…
- Throughout the week collect all vegetable trimmings (such as ends from carrots, celery leaves, parsley, leeks, scallions, turnips, mushroom stems, potato peels, onion skins, etc.), toss them in a bag and freeze.
- Once you have collected 4 cups, throw the lot in a large pot, cover with 16 cups of water, add a couple garlic cloves and any fresh herbs you like, a pinch of salt to bring out the flavor (season more thoroughly later) then bring to a boil and simmer for an hour uncovered. Cool then strain.
- Refrigerate to utilize over the next week (will keep nicely for up to 5 days), or freeze measured amounts (1/2 cup, 1 cup, etc.) in freezer bags with all the air removed and bags flat so you can stack them. You can also pour into ice cube trays and freeze, then pop out the cubes and freeze in a bag.
- Use this as a secret ingredient that will enhance favorite dishes or make easy homemade soups by adding beans, rice or pasta, cubes of leftover ham, shredded turkey or chicken.
- When cooking rice or couscous, instead of water add this flavored brew. This will add a whole new layer of flavor to your dish.
- Are mashed potatoes boring? Not anymore! Halve the amount of cream you normally add and substitute with this stock.
- Use as the liquid (or part of the liquid) for braising meat.
- Soaking dried beans? Try using this as the liquid.
- Only save peels and bits that have been thoroughly washed first since you won’t be able to do so after they’re frozen.
- If a stronger tasting brew is preferred, reduce the amount of water used for simmering. You could also simmer longer so it is reduced more and the flavor is more concentrated.
- If you have a vegetable or two in the fridge that needs to be used up quickly, throw them in too! Dice and saute for a few minutes in a bit of olive oil in the pot before adding the other items.
- Use vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage sparingly since they’ll overpower the flavor.
- This is a very healthy snack for dieters, drink as you would coffee or tea and it will warm you right up and satisfy the cravings for munchies.
- Tip: For a thicker stock, save the potato water from a previous meal (keep it refrigerated) and substitute that for the water used above (can replace part or whole).
Source: Based on an article from Vegetarian Times (1993)