Monday, February 22, 2010

How to make your own vegetable stock

Because I don't buy pre-packaged products, my kitchen waste is pretty minimal. So I noticed whenever I threw an onion end into the trash can, invariably I ended up having to take out a half-full bag of trash in a few days because it reeked so abominably of onions. This method keeps stinky garbage to a minimum, and also keeps regular garbage to a minimum: a gallon Ziploc bag in the freezer.

This bag holds all the vegetable waste I generate. When it gets full, I make a batch of vegetable stock. Here are some of the things that can go into the bag:
Onion ends and peels
Garlic skin
Celery ends and leaves
Carrot ends and peels
Potato peels
Mushroom stems
Leek tops
Stems from herbs, chard, spinach, etc.
Brussel sprout ends
Tomato cores
Pea pods
Corn husks and ends, and corn cobs
Anything soft, mushy, spotted, half-spoiled or otherwise suspect (but only half-spoiled--if it's moldy or stinky, just throw it out)

And so on. Fill a large stockpot with water, dump in the full Ziploc bag. Add salt and a bay leaf or two. Cook on low overnight. In the morning, strain out all the vegetable bits, and pour into jars (if you're going to keep it in the fridge) or Ziploc bags/Tupperware (if you're going to freeze it). Tons of fresh, homemade vegetable stock, essentially for free (since you've already bought all the things that go into it). Then reuse the Ziploc bag! Never buy stock again!

Americans are estimated to throw out anywhere from 10%-40% of the food they buy. That's right, 40%. Imagine if your grocery bill were suddenly reduced by 40%. Using (or reusing) every edible scrap that comes into your household is like getting that magical reduction in your grocery bill.

Plus, no more stinky garbage.

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