When a fresh batch of vegetable stock is mulling on my stove, calm & peace warm the day. The smell revives me from a stressful week. Breathing in, filling with gratitude that I'm home. In my kitchen. With my cats. And this beauty all starts with scraps. The discarded vegetables waiting to be used to their fullest potential. Made from scratch, down to the stock. Something about it makes my heart proud. In a good, complete way.
Vegetable stock is a vegetarians must-have on hand item. Terry Walters puts in this way in her "Start Clean" book "Vegetable stock is an easy way to amp up the flavor and nutritional value of your recipes—from soups and stews to grains and legumes." She encourages her readers to "SKIP THE PACKAGE." Saying "A package is the first sign that you've moved away from the source. Look for foods that don't require a label to reveal what's inside…" Vegetable stock can be made from what you have, it doesn't need to be purchased at a store in a package. Instead of discarding vegetable scraps, save them. My excitement increases. Want to know why?
Because if you start building up a freezer bag with ingredients for your stock—like saving the tops of the carrots, the leaves of the celery, and the unused bits and rings of an onion, overtime, the bag will be full & ready to use in a vegetable stock. Feeling essentially FREE, because in the past you would have thrown away those things. Money well saved with pride in your heart making a recipe from scratch, down to the stock.
If you want to make a stock now, round up the following things fresh (that's okay too!). Anything is okay, really. Make it your stock, tailor it with what you have. This is what I had on hand when I decided to share my method.
+ Bunch of carrots, all parts, + Bunch of celery, all parts + 1 whole onion, sliced or separated whole rings + 2 cloves garlic, diced + 8 cups water + 1 bay leaf + fresh sage leaves + fresh thyme sprigs + salt & pepper + 1 tbs olive oil
Soften onion & garlic with olive oil in a large pot on medium to high heat. Add celery & carrots. Stir. Add water, fresh herbs, and the bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer, covered for 45-60 minutes.
Drain stock into a bowl. Use immediately or store in fridge for up to 3 days. If you made an over abundance, pour into ice cube trays, freeze, and then store in a freezer bag for later use. About 8 frozen cubes equals 1 cup.