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Not only will making your own vegetable stock at home save you tons of money, reduce sodium and other additives, it will use up leftover vegetables! You also find a pride in crafting things at home that you would normally bring home from the grocery store. You simply can’t beat that.
I have shared before that we are currently reading through the Laura Ingalls Wilder books with Miss Sarah. If you want to get a taste of living like Laura, without the commitment of a full fledged farm, try making your own stock from scratch and see how good it feels. Anytime I have vegetables left over after a meal, I simply toss it in a freezer bag until I have enough to make a stock. This is especially great for the things that would normally be tossed out; the asparagus ends, wilted carrots and celery, potatoes with the black spots cut off, onion pieces (you can even use onion skins), mushrooms, fennel, parsnips, broccoli, or even tomatoes.
Another great way to save money, if I want to make stock but happen to be low on vegetables, is to run by my local produce market. They often have packages of vegetables that have soft spots or bruising for about $1.00 a package, they are perfectly usable for cooking into sauces and broths if you just cut off the bad areas, wash and toss them in with the rest of your vegetables.
You will need:
2 large onions
1 large potato
5-7 stalks of celery
5-7 cloves of garlic
4 quarts of water
1 tsp. parsley
1 tsp. basil
1 tsp. peppercorns
1 tsp. Oregano
Wash all your vegetables well, and give them a rough chop (2 or 3 pieces each is fine).
If you want to create a richer, darker broth – saute and caramelize items like garlic, onions, and mushrooms before adding to the pot. This will help release more flavors.
Place water, seasonings, and vegetables in a large pot and simmer for about 1 ½ hours.
Use a spider or slotted spoon to skim off all the large pieces of vegetables and toss them into your compost jar. Don’t have one? Check out my post here about composting
Now, pour the broth through a sieve lined with a cheesecloth or paper towel to strain remaining small bits of vegetables out.
Allow to cool completely and store in a gallon freezer bag or in a mason jar in the refrigerator. Will last up to 1 week in fridge and up to 6 months in freezer.
Makes about 3 ½ quarts