As there are so many competing priorities in life, every bit of time I invest in reducing our household waste is valuable and calculated. This recipe is one of my favourite ways to reduce waste because the impact is so great. Incorporating Veggie Scrap Stock into your routine reduces food waste by giving your scraps a second life AND it cuts out those wasteful tetra packs stock is often packaged in. The other bonus is, you get to keep golden, healthy, package-free stock on hand for whenever you need it!
How to make Veggie Scrap Stock
As you peel and cut off the ends of your veggies throughout the week, freeze the scraps in a reused large plastic bag (old ziplocks or tortilla wrap bags with the zipper end both work well!). If you don't like freezing in plastic, use an equivalent sized container. When your bag or container is full, it's time to make stock!
The veggies you should and shouldn't use
Unfortunately, not all veggie scraps are made equally when it comes to stock. Avoid brassica vegetable scraps such as broccoli, cabbage, kale and cauliflower (I found out about this from a chef friend after a few bitter stock attempts).
Some of the best scraps to use in excess are carrot ends/peels, celery ends, onion (especially that first layer under the skin that can be a bit too chewy), garlic ends, mushroom ends, and ends of leeks—just make sure they are completely clean.
Everything else (including the leaves of carrots and celery), use in moderation and you will be sure to create a tasty stock.
Make sure all your scraps are clean and check that nothing has gone bad or is mouldy. Dirty veggie scraps can make for a gritty stock.
Cook your stock with an Instant Pot, pressure cooker or on the stove
True confessions, I'm an Instant Pot user and even though veggie stock is easy to make stovetop—I enjoy throwing it in the pot and leaving it to cook without worrying about it. But, no matter what vessel you use for your stock, the result will be a tasty broth and the timing isn't that different from beginning to end.
Veggie Stock Recipe
What you'll need:
A gallon of discarded veggie scraps
2 bay leaves
2 tsp salt
Ziplock bag (or large container)
A large stovetop pot, Instant Pot or pressure cooker
Extra chopped carrot, celery, onion, garlic, and turmeric root pieces for flavour and colour (I leave these items out if I have already incorporated a lot of these bits in the scrap mix).
1. If you are starting with chopped carrots, celery, onion and garlic, sauté on the stove with oil or set your Instant Pot to sauté. Once the onions are a light golden brown, use a bit of water to deglaze the bottom of the pot if veggies are starting to stick. For an easier stock, skip this entire step and start on Step 2 (admittedly, this is what I often do and it turns out just fine).
2. Empty the veggie scraps from your ziplock or gallon container into the pot. Add bay leaves and salt.
3. Fill pot with 8-10 cups of water (or just below the max line on the Instant Pot).
4. In the Instant Pot or pressure cooker, cook on high pressure for 30 minutes and let your stock release naturally. If you're using a pot on the stove (without pressure) bring your stock to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 1 hour.
5. Strain the broth through a sieve to get all the bits out. TIP: it can help to use a slotted spoon to take out the big scraps so you don't end up overwhelming your sieve.
6. Pour your strained stock into jars or containers and let them cool completely. If you are freezing in glass, be sure to leave a lot of room for your stock to expand when it freezes otherwise you will end up with a broken jar and wasted stock—I learned this one the hard way when I wasn't careful!
Veggie stock will keep for up to 1 week in the fridge and 3 months in the freezer.
Lastly, enjoy your stock!
Emily Sproule is the founder of Jarr, a mom of two young school age children and an environmentalist doing the best she can with the time she has. Emily lives in East Vancouver, is passionate about business as a force for change and is excited to bring package-free grocery delivery to the city she lives in.