Homemade Veggie Stock - Making the Most of Food Waste

As you may know, this year I have been dedicating myself to going Meatless on Mondays (#MeatlessMonday) and the one thing I noticed was just how many veggie scraps were winding up festering in my garbage.

A lot of people use their veggie scraps for compost--which is a great solution!--but unfortunately living in an apartment I'm not able to do that.

What AM I able to do? Make a delicious, luscious broth out of all those veggie scraps! With all the veggie stock I was going through, it was a cost effective way to solve both problems. Saving money, utilizing food waste, and creating something insanely tasty in the process.

Half the time the broth itself is SO flavorful, that I simply throw in a can of tomatoes, some vegetable pieces, and some salt and pepper and I have a perfectly wonderful vegetable soup.

It's super simple, and I've gotten it down to a science--At the beginning of the week I use a gallon size ziplock bag to start collecting my scraps. This can be anything: peels, end pieces, cores, and from both fruits AND veggies or fresh herbs. I store it in the freezer so the veggies stay fresh and don't mold or take up room in the fridge.

Homemade tortellini soup, using the scrap stock base

By the end of the week the bag is full, and into the crock pot it goes with whatever extras I have on hand. I've found that peppers give the broth a great rich flavor, and potato peels give it a bit more thickness. 

Here's my "recipe" but it truly is more of a guide.

Homemade Scrap Vegetable Stock
  • 1 gallon bag full of vegetable scraps
  • Garlic (whatever you have on hand, I use about 4 cloves)
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 3 tbsp salt, or more to taste
  • 1 tbsp spices (I like herbs de provance or Italian seasoning, whatever you like!)
  • Any additional pieces of the following: carrots, onions, celery
  • Enough water to cover the contents by a half inch

Slow Cooker: If using a slow cooker, simply put all ingredients in your pot and stir. Cook on low for 8 hours, until vegetables are soft and have released their flavor. Taste--the broth should not be watery. If it is, cook on high an additional hour, adding any herbs or spices you'd like.

Stovetop: If using a stovetop, put all ingredients into a large stock pot and stir. Bring to a boil, then simmer for an hour, or until the vegetables are soft and have released their flavor. If the broth tastes watery, continue to simmer until reduced, adding any herbs or spices you'd like.

Once fully cooked, strain the broth. I use a potato masher to really squish the veggies down and release all the juice. Pour strained broth into mason jars and freeze or keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. Use in soups, stews, or as a flavor enhancer for your sauces!