Monday, February 3, 2014

Vegetable Stock

Many plant-based soup and stew recipes call for vegetable stock. Stock is also a flavorful substitute for water in many vegetable, bean and rice dishes. And, stock can be used instead of oil when sauteing vegetables. Ready-made vegetable stock from the grocery store is convenient but may have too much oil and sodium for regular use. Luckily, it's easy to get in the habit of making your own vegetable stock.

Label a gallon size freezer bag with "vegetable stock" and put the bag in an easy to access place in the freezer. When chopping veggies for other recipes, put some of the trimmings in the freezer bag for stock. Also during the week, save in the freezer bag the fresh vegetables that you might not be able to use in time, cutting them up into chunks first. When making stock, choose suitable vegetable pieces from the freezer bag to go into the pot along with fresh onion, celery and carrots.

vegetable stock


8 cups water
1 large onion (about 1 pound) quartered including skins for darker stock
1 or 2 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
2 to 4 stalks celery cut into chunks
2 to 3 carrots, cut into chunks
1/3 parsnip, diced (freeze remaining diced parsnip  for future stock)
1/3 turnip, peeled and diced (freeze rest of diced turnip for future stock)
2 bay leaves
1 to 3 stalks fresh parsley or 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1 teaspoon dried thyme and/or oregano
Up to 8 cups other assorted vegetable pieces from freezer*

*Keep a plastic bag in the freezer to store vegetable scraps and pieces for stock:

asparagus stems, leek leaves, mushroom stems
garlic, onions, potatoes including skins for darker stock
celery, fennel, corn, zucchini, winter squash
carrots, parsnips, turnips (remove bitter turnip peels before freezing)
peeled apples, pears or yams for sweeter stock
tomatoes or lemon slice for a slightly acidic flavor
bell pepper stems, veins and seeds (small amounts)

Do not use for stock: cabbage, broccoli, brussels sprouts, eggplant and leafy greens.


Boil the water in a large pot, add all ingredients.  Lower heat and simmer partially covered, until vegetables are very soft, about 1 to 2 hours.

Pressure cooker instructions:  Boil water, add vegetables and seasonings, cover and bring to high pressure. Lower heat and cook under pressure for 10 minutes.  Allow steam to release naturally or a do quick release.

Pour stock liquid through a strainer or colander into a large bowl or pan.  When the stock has cooled, pour into storage jars or containers. Keep in refrigerator up to 4 days or freeze up to 3 months.

* * *

Note:  Use water that has been filtered to remove chlorine or make sure to boil the water first before adding vegetables.

A good time to make stock is right before cooking a soup or other recipe which calls for a lot of stock.  That way the stock is already hot, conserving the energy that would have been needed to refrigerate and then reheat the liquid.

The cooked veggies from the stock can be added to the compost pile.

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