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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Homemade Veggie Stock

  How would you like to make your very own homemade vegetable stock FOR FREE? It's incredibly easy!  Inspired by this post by Natalie Creates, I started saving leftover veggie scraps in a bag in my freezer.  Since I have a(n evil) bunny, she gets most of the veggie scraps in my house, but anything she doesn't like was fair game for me-- so lots of onion ends, mushroom stems, and pepper membranes.  I threw in a piece of carrot or kale here and there, but it was largely from the onion family.  I don't mind; we like onions a lot around here!  Whatever you have on hand that you would normally throw out or compost can be saved to make this broth.  I probably wouldn't do a huge pile of cruciferous vegetables though (like broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts) just because that might be a bit stinky.  

When the bag was full (after 3-4 weeks), I filled up a giant pot of water, added the veggie bits, and set it to cook.  I also added a few herbs/spices to the mix: about a teaspoon of peppercorns, some thyme, and a clove of garlic.  Oh, and about a teaspoon of salt (but you can totally do more than that.)

I let it simmer for a couple of hours and basically ignored it.  It came close to boiling over once, but I just turned it down.  The above picture was taken towards the beginning of the cooking process; by the end, everything was pretty much brown and mushy- all good!  

Then comes the storage part.  I didn't want to go through the trouble of canning it (which I'm sure you could do), so I just ladled it into pint-sized jars, and let it cool on the counter.  I used tongs to take out the big pieces of vegetables, and put them into a large colander that was over a plate (to catch any extra broth that came off of the veggies.)  I used a canning funnel to make sure that the broth went into the jars instead of all over my counter, then I popped some tops on them, and froze them after they were at room temperature.  That's it!  I needed a fine strainer when I got to the bottom of the pot, but it was really easy.  You should totally do this, especially if you make as many soups as I do!

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