Soup season is right around the corner – don’t get caught with a box of vegetable stock in your shopping cart. Instead, make your own homemade stock that you can use as a base for soups, cooking liquid for any of your favorite grains, and developing sauces. Oh, and P.S.: making stock causes your kitchen to smell amazing.
Nothing is more pleasing to me than when a low-waste habit yields superior results. Case in point – homemade vegetable stock. Make it from vegetable scraps that you keep in an airtight bag in the freezer and few additional add-ins, and you’ll have a broth that beats any box you would find at the store. Save money, reduce waste, and still have a vegetable stock that tastes so much better (and is probably healthier too!).
All it takes to consistently have a beautiful homemade stock on hand is adopting the tiny habit of saving your vegetable scraps. Ever feel wasteful chopping off the tough bottoms of asparagus stalks? No more – toss them in an airtight freezer bag and you’ll find use for them in a stock. The same goes for those unused bits of onion, carrots, mushrooms, celery, and so on.
Before you go too crazy saving every bit of vegetable you have, there are some that don’t lend the best flavor. I’d recommend that you avoid using these in your stock for optimal flavor.
What vegetables should you use?
- Onion* (white, yellow)
- Tomatoes (sans seeds)
*Avoid using leaves, skins
Adding herbs & spices also helps develop a beautiful flavor profile. Considering adding just a little bit of:
- Bay leaf
- Black peppercorns
What vegetables should you NOT use?
Generally, cruciferous and pungent veggies can add a funk (and not the good kind) to your stock. Anything in the Brassica family is a no-go. Here are some examples of what not to use:
- Brussel sprouts
- Kale (and any other bitter greens)
- Squash (or any other starchy veg like pumpkin)
There are some herbs you should avoid as well:
A secret ingredient for the best stock
Leftover Parmesan rinds. What, is Parmesan cheese not your favorite vegetable too? Albeit obviously not a vegetable, it is a great add-in for a vegetable stock. For me, it’s a must but of course not necessary – especially if you’re eating a vegan or dairy-free diet. Much like the cheese itself, the rinds impart a delightful umami and rich flavor. You can use as many or as few rinds are you like.
Opting for more ingredients like Parmesan rind, mushrooms, shallots, and garlic will give you a super flavorful, rich stock with a lot of depth.
If you have certain intentions for your stock that require something more mild, minimize those more intense ingredients and stick to no-fail veggies like carrot, celery, and onion.
Generally speaking, there is not magic ratio of vegetables. Maybe you are always eating carrots and asparagus, but rarely eat onions or celery. Whatever scraps you collect, consider each pot of stock your “signature twist” – your food scraps are, after all, entirely unique to you. And that makes it all the more fun!
Try your stock as the base for a seasonal carrot soup, cooking grains, and as the base for sauce. Get creative and play with ratios of vegetables & spices to develop the best flavor for any of your dishes.Print
Flavorful homemade vegetable stock made from cooking scraps with Parmesan rinds for added umami and depth.
- Whatever suitable vegetable scraps you’ve got piling up in the freezer
- Preferred herbs & spices
- Optional: leftover Parmesan rind(s)
- Toss scraps, herbs, spices, and optional Parmesan rind into a large pot.
- Fill pot with water until all of the veggies are covered. Note: more water means a lighter broth, less water means a stronger broth. There is no right or wrong amount, use how ever much suits your needs.
- Bring water to a boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer for 1-4 hours.
- Strain the stock. To get a really clean stock, use cheesecloth to filter out those small dregs that get left behind. (I also like to wrap the soaked veggies in cheesecloth and squeeze out any liquid they are holding).
- Store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for 6 months.
Keywords: soup stock, soup base, vegetable stock, vegetable broth, homemade vegetable stock, homemade stock, homemade broth, parmesan rind stock