Steeped Vegetable Stock

Waste not, want not. This easy and practical kitchen practice will have you wasting less veggie scraps while endowing your pantry and your kitchen creations with mega depth of flavour. This homemade vegetable stock is not only easy, but also cost effective as it is made with items you would have normally discarded.

There are countless ways to make a tasty vegetable stock. You can focus on one vegetable entirely or you can roast your vegetables to achieve a deep golden hue and flavour. But this simple stock is more about a weekly kitchen ritual than a prescribed recipe. The flavour in this steeped stock will be lighter than a roasted vegetable stock, but its mildness will work well in any dish.

The first step is to adapt to the mindset of vegetable conservation; it’s a whole new way of thinking. Instead of chucking all ‘useless’ veggie scraps in the bin, you will be repurposing them and giving them a little more life.

The easiest method for making this stock is to freeze your scraps, all week long, for a Sunday of soup-base making. Get yourself a large (4 litre) container that fits snugly in your freezer and is easy to open and close. Whenever you are preparing a meal, simply pull this container out and toss in all scraps, then return to the freezer. When you make your stock at the end of the week, you will have a nice snapshot of your diet from the previous days.

This flavorful and versatile stock can be used in most any recipe and works particularly well in risotto, soups, sauces, curries, and rice.

Because this is more of a guideline than a recipe, you can use pretty much any vegetable scraps you fancy – just make sure they are well cleaned and not on the verge of spoiling.

Steeped Vegetable Stock

Ingredients

4 litres of cleaned and reserved vegetable scraps. These could include:

  • Carrot peels
  • Carrot greens
  • Onion peels
  • Garlic peels (makes a particularly rich stock, so definitely save these)
  • Pepper membranes
  • Tomatoes (not technically a vegetable, but adds a nice, sweet balance to the flavours)
  • Beet greens (if using greens from red beets, be sure to cut out the stem or your stock will have a red tint)
  • Celery ends
  • Mushroom stems
  • Kale or chard stems
  • Zucchini peels or ends
  • Fennel
  • Turnip
  • Herb stems or dried herbs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ tablespoon of peppercorns

Makes about 4 litres

Method

Defrost your scraps

Set a large stock pot over high heat

Dump the vegetable scraps into the heated pot and stir a few times to warm, soften and combine, about 3-5 minutes

Add 3-4 litres (depending on the size of your pot – you want it quite full) of water and bring to a rolling boil

Add bay leaf and peppercorns if using

Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 30 minutes

Once 30 minutes has elapsed, remove from heat and allow pot to cool completely, with all of the vegetables still in the stock

Once the liquid has cooled, strain the stock into well-cleaned glass jars and store in the refrigerator for up to one week

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