The Three Step Process
Veggie stock is a staple in our home, as it probably is in many others. Purchasing organic stock is great, but can get costly if you use it as often as we do. That’s why I did a little research and began making my own! If you would like to take a stab at ditching the boxed stock and saving some decent pocket change, I encourage you to check out my simple 3 step DIY veggie stock process.
Step #1 Fill it
Let’s get this thing started. All you need is veggie scraps, a gallon freezer bag, and a sharpie. *This is important* always write the date you started your bag on the outside. If you do this, you will eventually get an idea of how long it takes you (on average) to fill up your bags. We generally fill up 2-3 bags every 4-5 weeks.
Now comes the hard part… REMEMBERING! This was extremely hard for me at first. Anytime you make something with fresh vegetables or herbs, save the scraps! Chopped up an onion? Save the skin and outer layer, in the bag it goes! Peeled some carrots or potatoes? Again, toss the scraps in the bag. It’s second nature for me now, but it took me some time to get there.
Anytime I make a meal for my family, the first thing I do is grab a “scrap bowl”. I throw all my veggie scraps in the bowl during the meal making process. Then, when the all the chopping, dicing, and peeling is complete, I pour my scraps into the gallon baggie. Back in the freezer it goes, till the next meal. I do this over and over again, until I have 2 bags completely full of veggie scraps.
Step #2 Cook it
You have 2 overflowing bags stuffed with veggie scraps, now what?? Ok, this step is almost too simple you guys. Are you ready?? Grab a large stock pot, take those bags of scraps out of the freezer, and dump them straight into the pot. Phew! Not too bad, right? Next, just pour 8 cups of water over the scraps, turn your burner on medium-high heat, toss a lid on top, and wait. Give the stock about 15-20 good minutes to get to a small boil. Using a spoon, push the veggies down into the water as they defrost just so they are barely covered.
Once all the veggies are covered by the water and you’ve got a good little bubble going, let it simmer on low for about 3-4 hours. By this time the water should be a nice brown color, the vegetables should all be very soft, and there will be a strong savory aroma filling your house. Your pot of scraps should look somewhat like this, when finished.
Step #3 Store it
Ok, I want to say we have done all the hard work already, and this next part is a breeze. Note, the I want to part… meaning, this is definitely the hardest part for me. Hopefully you aren’t nearly as accident prone as I am though, and can do this with ease! Once you’ve removed the veggie scraps from the stove, you will want to let it sit and rest for a about 5 minutes or so. *You want the stock to still be very warm at the end of the straining process.
Which leads me to the hard part… the straining process! For this, you will need a large bowl and a decent sized strainer rested inside of it. If your strainer is big enough, carefully pour all of the veggie scraps into the strainer, draining the stock into the bowl. However, If you don’t have a large enough strainer, you may need to improvise. You can use a ladle to pour a little at a time, putting the already drained scraps in a trash bowl before dipping more. Either way, just make sure you get as much of the liquid drained from the scraps as possible. More liquid = more flavor!
Now, this is where it tends to get a little messy for me… straining it once isn’t quite enough. I like to take all the strained broth through a fine mesh strainer as well. If you feel like your stock is fine without this step, feel free to skip it! Using a ladle or measuring cup, pour the veggie stock through the mesh strainer. You can either strain this directly into your storing container or another large bowl.
Typically I prefer to pour it straight into a 64 oz mason jar for storing. However, this particular time I made it, my last mason jar of that size was already occupied with a large batch of ranch cucumbers. Straining it straight into your storing container is definitely the quickest method. Once all the stock is fully strained, all you need is a little salt! The stock should still be fairly warm and the salt will mix in extremely well. If using a mason Jar (which I highly recommend) screw the lid on tight and let it sit on the counter to cool before popping it in the fridge.
If you don’t have a large enough container to do it all at once, it’s fine. You just have to add a step. Once the stock is fully (double) strained into a second large bowl, salt it! Don’t make the mistake of straining it into the individual containers, because you want to salt it all at the same time. This just helps create a more consistent flavor, plus you have less risk of over salting. Once salted in the larger container, you can ladle or pour it into your smaller containers. I must say, I tend to make more of a mess adding this extra step. Either way though, I still have delicious tasting stock in the end.
For maximum flavor, let your veggie stock sit in the fridge overnight before using it in a meal. Need recipe ideas for using your fresh homemade veggie stock? Consider trying my super easy 5 ingredient cabbage soup recipe, a staple meal in our home!