Making veggie scrap stock is a great little eco hack. Not only are you reducing your waste by giving your vegetables a second life you’re also eliminating any packaging that store-bought stock comes in. I keep my scraps in a container in the freezer until I have enough to make a couple of litres. Making stock is very simple. Honestly, you don’t really need a recipe but, I have provided one for guidance. I also think it’s worth noting a few things . . .
As you’ll be using scraps from different veggies in different quantities, you’re going to get a different flavour profile every time you make the stock. Scraps from green vegetables like kale, broccoli, spinach, collard greens etc. will make a stock that’s on the more bitter side. I use green veg all the time as I don’t mind the flavour but, you might prefer to use them more sparingly. Onion skins will also make your stock bitter. Plus I often find that they can be mouldy so I never add them. Carrots, pumpkin and capsicum will make a sweeter stock. Beetroot will add an earthy flavour and a pink hue while potato skins will make your stock cloudy.
I don’t buy all my veg organic but I do use mostly organic vegetable scraps for stock. The skins of non-organic veg will take the brunt of any pesticides used during farming. The idea of adding them all to a big pot and concentrating them down makes me feel a bit iffy. If you don’t have access to organic than I recommend using the clean 15 and dirty dozen as a guide for what scraps to keep and which ones to chuck. Anything you can peel (when I cut the tops of my onions off I peel the skin off and only keep the flesh) or the scraps from inside a vegetable, like pumpkin seeds or the core from a corn cob, will have less exposure to pesticides.
Sometimes I keep it super simple and just add water and salt to my veggie scraps. For a more balanced stock, you can saute a celery stick, half an onion and a medium carrot before adding the scraps and water (as I’ve done in the recipe below but it’s truly optional!). I like to add dried herbs (bay, thyme, sage, parsley all work well) but again that’s optional.
1 tsp oil
1 celery stick, roughly chopped
½ medium onion, roughly chopped
1 medium carrot, roughly chopped
2 tsp salt
2 bay leaves
10 thyme sprigs
350g veggie scraps
2L of water
In a large pot on medium heat saute the celery, onion and carrot with oil and salt until they start to colour (5mins approx.).
Add the bay and thyme and cook for another minute. Add the veggie scraps and the water. Bring to a boil, cover the pot with a lid and turn the heat down to a gentle simmer. Let the stock simmer for 45mins.
Turn the heat off and allow to cool. Once the stock is cool enough to handle strain through a nut milk bag or cheesecloth (you can use a sieve too but you will get some veggie bits in the stock). Store in the fridge or freeze.