If you’re like us, you have difficulty throwing away “scraps” just because they don’t fit into your current recipe. However, we think that if it’s edible, it should be eaten! That’s why we wanted to review some of the best ways to make sure you are getting the most out of your My Food Box subscription. Consider this a mini-series.
In this article, we will talk about vegetable stock – one of the easiest ways to repurpose your vegetable scraps is to make a veggie stock that you can reuse for cooking or making soup. The possibilities are endless.
Your My Food Box subscription includes fresh produce, but what your recipe “needs” and what we provide you might not always line up and that’s why we are writing this for you!
Even if you find yourself with just a few herb stems or one leftover bell pepper, it can (almost) all be used to make vegetable stock from scraps!
If you don’t have enough scraps from one meal, don’t worry you can always freeze the vegetables until you have enough to make a stock. We keep all of our vegetable scraps in a gallon freezer bag and add to it every time we have extra. So eventually, we will have enough to make a stock!
Generally, the base of stock consists of celery, onion, garlic and carrot. The great thing is you don’t have to “prep” any of this. The only part of the carrot that can’t go in is the green part. The onions can go in with the skin and end on, and the celery can go in whole aside from the leaves. So that means the skins, roots and tops – everything except a leafy green like the top of a celery stalk or carrot.
We love the “toss it in whole” approach because it makes this recipe super easy, but if you have cut-up scraps like diced onion or mushroom stems, feel free to use those as well.
Then add (almost) whatever else you have! Herbs (including stems), tomatoes, garlic cloves (skin can be on), mushrooms, peppercorns and corn cobs. The list goes on. Of course, the more of these ingredients you add, the more flavorful your stock will be. You can also add seasonings not just vegetables! For example, we like to add whole bay leaves, coriander and black peppercorns to our stock to give it an extra boost of flavor.
It’s important to note that some starchy vegetables could overwhelm your stock, so there are a few we recommend staying away from — squash, potatoes, beets, artichokes, green beans and brassicas like cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, etc.
Throw all your veggies scraps in water and boil then immediately reduce to a simmer. For vegetable stock, we recommend checking the flavor of your stock at 30 minutes but you can cook it for up to 3 hours. Unlike bone stock, longer isn’t ALWAYS better for vegetable stock so make sure you check the flavor regularly.
Once your stock is finished, remove it from the heat and allow it to cool. While it’s cooling, use a slotted spoon to remove all the vegetables from the stock. Once you do this, we recommend you strain it through a fine-mesh strainer to ensure that everything has been removed.
You can store your stock in the fridge for up to a week or you can freeze it for three months! After that, you can keep it in glass containers or freezer bags, but we have found that it tends to thaw quicker when you store it in freezer bags.
Now you have fresh vegetable stock to use in all your recipes, or you can make a soup with it! It’s nice to have this on hand because you can make more vegetarian dishes!
So, you have stretched your dollar further, repurposed a piece of your My Food Box subscription and hopefully learned a little something in the kitchen.
Our mission is at the intersection of sustainability and food accessibility and this vegetable stock is exactly that! We have repurposed vegetables and scraps that we would have otherwise thrown away, we have eliminated use of a carton by not buying a stock from the store and created something delicious in the process.
Stay tuned for our next article on how to grow vegetables from scraps.