Homemade Vegetable Stock 101

Your response to my recent post on Homemade Substitutes for Grocery Staples was explosive, encouraging and thrilling. I’m excited that so many of you wish to move away from pre-packaged items and invest in making more pantry ingredients from scratch.

As the comments showed, plenty of you are already on this journey. You are discovering that self-sufficiency is the way of both the past AND the future and are reaping the rewards of home preserved food.

And so, I want to share another really quick, basic pantry staple – homemade vegetable stock. Making your own vegetable stock serves two main purposes: it uses kitchen scraps that might otherwise go into the garbage (or hopefully the compost) and it yields a fragrant broth that is suitable for a myriad of dishes.

Need another reason to make your own vegetable stock? How about to control the sodium content of your food? Added salt: not necessary.

What do I do with homemade stock?

These days a lot of people (myself included) are looking to turn regular repertoire dishes into vegetarian dishes. Katie talked about it recently and showed us how to turn family favorite recipes into meatless meals.

Her simple suggestion of replacing chicken stock with vegetable stock in a recipe is a smart way to eliminate animal products from a recipe – while retaining much of the original flavor.

I reach for vegetable stock for all of the following dishes:

  • Risotto & rice dishes
  • Soups, lentil stews & vegetable chowders
  • Pasta dishes & sauces

SOS: Save Our Scraps

A lot of everyday trimmings from food prep can go in a vegetable stock. If it is not rotten, toss it in!

  • mushroom stems & trimmings
  • onion skins, leek trim, garlic, green onion
  • carrots, celery, peppers, asparagus, broccoli stems, zucchini
  • Stems of herbs

TIP: Don’t have a pot of stock continuously on the back burner? Freeze scraps in an airtight container until you are ready to simmer a pot of stock.

Vegetable Stock: Two Methods

  • 4-6 cups of scraps
  • bay leaf
  • black peppercorn
  • clove of garlic

Method 1: The Quickie

  1. Add all ingredients to a 5 quart pot. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil over high heat.
  2. Reduce temperature to medium and simmer stock for one hour.
  3. Follow directions for straining and storing below.

Method 2: The Flavor Booster

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Toss scraps and garlic lightly with 1 Tablespoon olive oil and place in a shallow roasting pan.
  2. Roast for 20-30 minutes (depending on size and variety of scraps) until caramelized, but not charred in any way.
  3. Transfer roasted vegetables to a large pot and cover with cold water. Add bay leaf and peppercorn and bring to a boil over high heat.
  4. Reduce temperature to medium and simmer stock for one hour.
  5. Follow directions for straining and storing below.

Straining and Storing the Stock

Cool stock completely to lukewarm, then strain and discard (or compost) the solids.
Pour stock into clean jars, leaving a good half-inch of headspace. Cool completely in the refrigerator.
Freeze for up to three months or store up to five days in fridge.

What do you use vegetable-based stock for when you’re cooking?

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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  1. here’s what I always wonder about using veggie scraps…what about veggies such as carrots that I find hard to get completely clean before peeling? those and other things often still have dirt here and there, so I’m not keen on the idea of using actual scraps for a stock. at least I do compost all my scraps so I don’t feel too bad about tossing things out, but unless I really soak and scrub there are just going to be dirt in the crevices (which is fine for things I peel and eat otherwise). also for things like onions, green ones, white ones, whatever.

    • by the way, it’s odd that I couldn’t find any comments, until I commented myself…then “older comments” popped up…so maybe this has been discussed and I just didn’t see it. I know it’s an old post.

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