|Until I learned how easy it is to make veggie stock, I used to buy it ready made and toss the container into landfill. Then a friend of mine gave me a tip that made it even easier and less likely to end up with rotting veggies in my fridge.
When prepping veggies for meals take all of the ends, peels and skins and put them in a gallon size, zip lock freezer bag marked “Veggie Stock” and put it in the freezer. The freezer keeps your veggie bits from rotting and you will have a stash of stock material at the ready. I never used to include things like garlic and onion skins until an herbalist friend reminded me that’s where most of the nutrients are. So be sure to include nutrient rich peels and skins.
When I see veggies in the crisper on the verge of going bad or I know I don’t have a plan for them in the near future, I’ll chop them up and put them in the veggie stock bag. Better they get used for stock than rot in my crisper.
When the bag is at least half full, empty the contents into a medium or large pot of water. Depending on what you have in the bag feel free to add fresh or dried herbs or veggies you may have around like rosemary, sage, oregano, onions, carrots, potatoes, or mushrooms. I like keeping a stash of dried shiitake mushrooms around as they are great for the immune system and add an earthy flavor. Want to add an extra immune boosting bump to your stock? Add Burdock Root (also called gobo), which can be found fresh at places like Berkeley Bowl, Monterey Market or anywhere Asian veggies are sold. You can also buy it dried from herb stores. Toss in a small handful of chopped fresh Burdock or dried and you now have a tasty medicinal stock.
Bring the stock to a boil and then simmer or let steep for an hour or so. You can let it steep several hours if you wish so don’t be afraid to leave it on the stove (stove off!) while you’re at work. Once it’s steeped, strain the stock and compost the veggies. Remember, there is no added salt so when using it with soups you’ll want to add salt to taste.
Use your stock right away or freeze in quart sized containers for later. Be sure to label it so you remember what it is and you’ll be more likely to use it. Homemade veggie stock is especially beneficial to use when recovering from illness. Cook rice, make a pot of soup, or simply sip it from a mug and let your medicinal veggie stock nourish you.
Enjoy and congratulate yourself on keeping more trash out of our landfill!