From the Pantry: Vegetable Stock

Rice, beans and grains can have much more flavor if cooked in vegetable stock, also called broth. It is easy to make vegetable stock and minimizes food waste. Here are a few tips and tricks to help make delicious vegetable stock from your kitchen scraps.


Throughout your week, or for some households this will take a few days, gather vegetable scraps while preparing meals. It is convenient to store these scraps in a gallon zip lock bag, and best to keep in the freezer until you have compiled enough scraps to start a batch of stock.


You do not need to use a recipe! It is all about the vegetable selection and proportion of water. You are using ends, tops and skins. It is good to rinse all the dirt from roots like celery, but garlic skins that have just had the soil brushed off are just fine.



Vegetables that are the stars: onions, leeks, garlic, fennel, celery, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, mushrooms, peppercorns, thyme and even corn in the summer.


Vegetables to avoid: anything bitter, potatoes (cloud your stock), cabbage, green beans, beets and too much zucchini


These are rules of thumb, once you start making stock you will begin to experiment.


Method:

1. Add vegetables to a large pot of water. Cover by several inches. Bring to boil, add salt.

2. Reduce heat to simmer, partially cover the pot.

3. Simmer for at least two hours, but up to four+. More time means more flavor.

4. Have some old white wine? Add it during the last 20 minutes.

5. Cool. Strain stock using a fine mesh strainer or a colander.

6. Compost the spent vegetables.

7. Place stock in jars, leave adequate head room to freeze. Cool completely. Label and store in freezer.


Uses: soups, stews, risotto, beans, rice or anywhere a recipe calls for stock. If you are preparing savory dishes that call for water, consider substituting with vegetable stock.

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