‘Tis the season to hit up your local farmers market for a rainbow of delicious fruits and veggies. Cooking with lots of fresh produce is great, but it means a ton of veggie scraps end up in the garbage or compost bin. You know the scraps I’m talking about: The ends of carrots and zucchini, outer onion layers, mushroom stems, garlic peels, bell pepper caps, etc. These bits and pieces may seem trivial, but hey, when you’re paying top dollar for gorgeous, organic, local produce, you want to use every last bit of it.
Luckily, my friend Christiana, AKA The Sassy Pants Chef, came up with an ingenious way to turn all those food scraps into the most delicious veggie stock you’ll ever have. She calls it “Two Penny Stock,” because she estimates it costs about two pennies to make, which, if you usually buy your stock at the grocery store, you know is a major bargain.
So what’s the secret? Keep a large Ziploc bag in your freezer, and as you chop veggies, toss all those extra scraps into it. “Basically any vegetable scraps you come across that will freeze well and taste good in stock,” says Christiana. “I wouldn’t recommend potatoes or cucumbers, but pretty much everything else is fair game.” When that bag gets full (which usually takes about a month), you’re ready to make some seriously amazing stock. Check out the streamlined recipe below, adapted with permission from Sassy Pants Chef:
What You’ll Need:
- A gallon-size plastic freezer bag
- Miscellaneous veggie scraps
- A slow cooker or stock pot
- Mason jars
How To Make It:
- Empty your freezer bag full of veggies into your stock pot or slow cooker and add enough water to submerge them completely. Add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and a dash of salt and stir.
- If you’re using a slow cooker, let the stock simmer overnight, starting on high heat for the first hour and then reducing to low. If you’re using a stock pot, bringing it to a boil and then simmering over low heat for an hour or so is fine, but feel free to leave it on the stovetop longer if you have the time — just stir it occasionally.
- Let stock cool slightly and then strain it into mason jars, leaving an inch of room at the top of each jar.
- Cool down mason jars completely in the fridge and then transfer any you’re not using immediately to the freezer. Defrost in warm water when ready to use.
- Start refilling your freezer veggie bag and repeat next month. Cut down on food waste. Save money. Wonder how you ever dreamed of throwing away that perfectly good onion skin.
Yes, it’s really that easy — not to mention, absolutely delicious. And while it’s not exactly the height of soup season right now, this stock can amp up the flavor of sautéed greens, stir fry, pasta, and rice dishes. You’ll find yourself reaching for it more often than you expect, even in warm weather. But you can also make it now and save it for fall — this stock freezes exceptionally well and will taste just as good in 6 months. Maybe even better, because it will remind you of the fresh bounty of spring. Enjoy!