If you’re a friend of the Farm, you probably share our aversion to food waste. Rather than composting or trashing my vegetable scraps, I save them and turn them into vegetable stock. If I don’t have time to turn my carrot tops into pesto before they go bad, I just chop them up and toss them in the freezer. Other scraps that would otherwise be inedible like onion skins or rosemary stems also get tossed in! I keep two airtight containers of scraps in my fridge: one with heartier veggies like carrot or onion and another with more delicate veggies like greens. I coarsely chop my scraps before freezing so I can add them directly to the pot when I make stock. Once I have enough scraps saved up, I turn them into stock, which I then use as a base for soups or add to sautés. Here is a guide that I follow very loosely when I make stock:
- Heat 1 to 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a very large pot over medium heat. Once oil is hot, add heartier veggies (onion, carrot, celery, garlic, beets; whatever you want to use!) and stir to coat with oil. Sauté until soft.
- Add your more fragile vegetables (carrot greens, beet greens, radish greens, kale, herbs, etc.) and some salt and pepper. Nutritional yeast, tomato paste, ketchup, and soy sauce can all be added for extra flavor. Add water fill the pot most of way and bring to a boil. Once boiling, stir the mixture and reduce the heat.
- Let simmer with the lid on (but cracked) for at least an hour, ideally two or three. The longer it cooks, the more flavor the stock will have!
- As it cooks, feel free to taste and add any ingredients to adjust the flavor. I typically add a splash of soy sauce to deepen the flavor and add some saltiness.
- Once the stock has a good flavor, remove from heat. After it cools a bit, use a strainer or cheesecloth to strain the stock. Once strained, portion into containers and freeze (or refrigerate and use within a week).
The Minimalist Baker has a great recipe for homemade vegetable stock that used when I first began making my own stock. I very quickly veered off on my own and now make stock that reflects what I have on hand—which includes everything from tough radish greens to In-N-Out ketchup packets. I typically add a lot of fresh herbs to the stock that I make because I have access to an abundance. If you don’t have herbs to add, try other flavorful ingredients; use what you have!
You can also check out our Instagram to see a different use for your scraps—our student Hannah regrew hers to start a garden, as pictured above! Please save your scraps!