Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Freezing Veggie Scraps Works for Me!

Here's something new I'll participate in: Works for Me Wednesday. Basically, it's about sharing tried and true techniques for...well...everything under the sun. Since mine is a cooking blog, I'll keep my tips in the kitchen. Or at least about food.

Today, I'd like to tell you about how I get rich vegetable stock from scraps. And I do it in my sleep.

Summertime is quickly approaching. While I love soups, summertime just isn't a good time of year to enjoy them. However, many recipes still require broth or stock, and those cans and boxes of broth and stock at the grocery store are just...bad. Salty and bland. Who wants that? Not me.

Instead, I make my own stocks and broths. Not long ago, I wrote about making chicken stock using the oven and stove top. But again: Do you want to heat up your house for it? I don't. Enter the slow cooker. This marvelous piece of chicken brilliance saves energy and doesn't heat up your kitchen like a simmering pot of stock would.

Here's how I make vegetable stock in my sleep"

  1. I keep a freezer bag in my freezer for collecting vegetable scraps. Almost anything goes: onion skins, broccoli stalks, cabbage cores, carrot peels, lettuce leaves, celery leaves...whatever I wouldn't use for a recipe, as long as it was just vegetable (no fats added in cooking), it goes in the bag. It takes me about a week to accumulate enough scraps to make stock.
  2. I fill my biggest slow cooker with the scraps, then I fill the rest of the space with water, all the way to the top of the pot. I add a little salt, and some pepper, and some freshly cut herbs.
  3. It cooks all night while I'm sound asleep.
  4. The next morning, I position a colander over a large bowl or pot and strain the liquid out of the vegetables. The vegetables go in the trash, and the liquid can either be used immediately or stored for future use. If I'm storing it, I like to freeze it in 2 cup portions. It'll keep for 6 months in the freezer.
And there you have it. "Free" vegetable stock, with very little effort. That works for me. :)


Jenn said...

What a great way to make stock. I would have never thought of that! Thanks for the great tip Michelle!

Sherry said...

Great idea! I need to do this! Thank you for sharing!

Tractor Mom said...

I do the same way with chicken, beef, and pork. I put my stock in quart jars and label them with the date. Thanks for sharing!

roxan said...

Thank you SO much for this. I always have so much leftover veggies, now I finally have something to do with them rather than throw them away. Again, thank you.

Judi @ Frugal Frolic said...

This is exactly how I make my stock! Once it's made, I freeze some in 2 cup quantities, and some in ice cube trays. (Pop them out and put into another container once frozen) Then when I need half or a quarter cup of stock, I don't have to unfreeze a whole container. Now, if only I had a bigger crockpot!

Michelle J said...

I do the same thing! Home made broth is WAY better than store bought.

I freeze mine in 8 to 16 ounce portions, and also in ice cube trays (which I empty into a freezer bag, once they're solid), for using when you need to add just a little bit moisture to a dish. ;)

Michelle said...

Thanks everyone for sharing your additional tips with me. Freezing in ice cube there's something that's never occured to me before. GREAT TIP!

Amy said...

Love it! I've yet to attempt veggie stock but I do make my own chicken stock. I will totally be trying this over the weekend! Thanks for the great tips!

~Alison~ said...

I love making stock from veggie scraps! I blogged about it and someone suggested (in the comments) to compost the scraps AFTER making the veggie stock!

You can read my blog post here:

I'm glad I found your blog today (Works For Me Wednesday), I'll have to take a look further when the baby goes down for her nap!

I used my other blog for my WFMW post.

Michelle said...

Hi Amy! Good luck with your stock! Nothing beats homemade!

Alison, thanks for stopping by! I'm going to check out your blog right now! :)

heather said...

i had a whole bag of veggie scraps for this purpose, but i tossed them b/c i had NO room in my freezer, never mind making the stock and storing it! So I will try again!

Jessica Showalter said...

It's such an easy wasy to make homemade broth, which tastes much better, and you can also control exactly what goes into it... especially if you want to watch how much sodium your using.

Great idea using the ice cube trays!

**** April **** said...

Wow... never thought of that. But, then again, I never heard of vegetable stock! :)

MP3 said...

I too can't stand wasting money on buying stock - plus the fact canned broth or those cubes for stock are so full of salt. I have been freezing my scraps and making stock weekly for some time, sometimes it's veg stock or sometimes chicken - I throw in the neck and giblits in the bag when I roast whole chickens. I find stock better for making tastier rices so use it in many dishes throughout the week. So a weekly stock making exercise is common for a sunday evening. I never thought however of using the crock pot and now that the warm weather is here, that's a terrific idea! Thanks.

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