This is simply the easiest yet most useful and versatile thing you’ll make in your kitchen: vegetable stock!
If you make rice regularly, or any other whole grains (bulgur, couscous, farro, quinoa, etc…), then vegetable stock is something you should try at least once. It adds so much more flavor than water! This has become so ingrained in our lives because we love it and need it that much. Here’s my process:
1) I keep a gallon-sized baggie in my freezer at all times and add vegetable scraps as I go. As I chop veggies for dinner, all the ends, guts, skins and seeds get thrown in the bag. It makes dinner prep really easy – no trips to the garbage can.
2) When the bag is full or I’m out of stock, I dump a bagful of scraps into a stock pot and fill it with water.
3) I bring this pot to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for at least 1 hour (the longer you let it boil down, the more concentrated and yummy it becomes).
4) Then I strain all the scraps out (an Asian ladle strainer would be perfect for this, but any utensil with holes works just fine) and store! I measure 2 cups at a time to put in small plastic containers. This makes it easy to quickly throw it in a pot with a cup of rice.
5) Then, I pull stock from the freezer as needed. I try to thaw what I need overnight in the fridge before dinner prep the next day.
I use this stock for all kinds of things and it really does add flavor. Plus, depending on your scraps, it turns out different every time (beets make it purple!). I replace the water with stock in savory whole grains dishes and use it in soups and stews – any recipe that calls for broth or stock. I can’t even remember the last time I bought broth or stock from the grocery store.
I love the benefits:
- Store-bought stocks and broths are notoriously sodium-dense. In this stock, there’s no added salt and you can control the sodium content in your final recipe.
- Added flavor. Substitute stock and your whole grains will be more flavorful.
- It’s free! And a great way to be resourceful with your vegetable scraps.
A few notes:
- I do not add tomatoes or tomato guts, egg shells, meat or bones. I also get enough scraps regularly and don’t bother to pull carrot and potato peels from my sink. Too much work.
- I add two gallon-sized bags of scraps at a time because my pot is big enough. Add only as much as is appropriate for your size stock pot.
I hope you enjoy this stock as much as we do and it can serve your kitchen well!