Vegetable Stock on a Budget


Happy New Year!! The weather outside is ideal for soup and hearty stew, and after spending a week in -0° temperature I’m ready to start a back stock of stock. Mimi is always inspiring me to “work with what you got” and “waste not, want not”—sage advice from the woman who raised 7 kids and cooked just about every meal, including desserts, from scratch.

Mimi in her kitchen

I usually find myself running back and forth to the nearest Whole Foods, while on the phone with Mimi, asking about every ingredient that’s in her vegetable soup, and “how long do I need to cook that for?” and “how much garlic is too much garlic?” and “why is this so expensive?!” So this weekend she shared with me her secret to the perfect vegetable stock and how-to freeze fresh herbs. That way you can buy your herbs fresh and still use them a month from now! What about those herbs and greens (think: cilantro) that are about to go bad in the crisper? We’re gonna help you make use of and preserve those too! No more throwing out the cilantro 3 days after you buy it, no!

Chopped up veggie trimmings that are ideal for stock/broth:

Carrots, ends of green beans, potato skins, celery tops & bottoms, leftover spinach, parsley, green pea pods, green onion ends, and inside & tops of bell pepper.

Avoid bitter veggies like asparagus stems, cabbage, brussels, broccoli and cruciferous veggies.

Remember, I’m a self-proclaimed work-a-holic, so I don’t always think about putting all this together on the fly. If this sounds like you, then heed this: gather all these trimmings when peeling or chopping, place them in a ziplock bag and freeze them. That way you have them ready to go instantly into your homemade stock recipe.

Have stronger herbs like basil and cilantro? If they’re on the verge of expiring put them in ice cube trays and cover with water. Pop them out when frozen and store in a bag; this keeps them from getting freezer burn.

Homemade Stock (prep: 2 min, total: 1h 15min)
<yields 32oz>
  • 1 quart of water (32oz)
  • 2 cups of veggies straight outta the freezer, no defrosting
Bring water to a boil, and simmer for an hour.
Strain veggies, add stock to large measuring cup and add water to yield a quart since some will evaporate during cooking time.

This makes a plain broth that you can season with spices that you would use for the soup or dish of your choice. Salt and pepper are always a staple.

PRO TIP: When ready to store finished stock add a thin layer of butter, olive oil, or coconut oil to the top of the jar, or container, of stock to keep for longer than a week in the fridge. A layer of healthy fat across the top will preserve the stock.

This is fantastic base for rice, risotto, mashed potatoes, quinoa, couscous, millet, gnocchi and coconut curry.
In the fridge it lasts a week, or freeze the remaining stock for months!
Happy Cooking!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.