I always feel so guilty throwing vegetable scraps away. I would compost my scraps, but I’m just not there yet. Next year I hope. In the meantime, I’ve found a way to put those vegetable scraps to good use. I have been saving washed carrot peels, celery ends, garlic and onion skins, onion tops, and the like. After I acquired 5 bags of vegetable scraps, and two chicken carcases from roasted chickens we consumed, I tried my first batch. The result was four gallon bags, and a 2 quart container full of stock. That’s alotta stock, and from scraps I would have normally thrown away.
As I chop vegetables, I put the scraps in running bags stored in the freezer. I waited until I had several bags before I made stock, but that’s because I have a 23 quart pressure canner I use as a vessel. If you are using a regular-sized Dutch oven, I would say wait until you have a one gallon bag filled, and then make your stock. You can use just use the vegetables, or you can pair the scraps with chicken bones, or something like a chicken leg quarter for a richer flavor. My secret ingredient in all my stocks is bouquet garni, so if you have some, add a couple teaspoons of that for a nice background flavor. If your scraps don’t include fresh garlic, go ahead and add some to the stock.
I used my pressure cooker to make the stock, so it only took me about 20-30 minutes to cook the stock, but if you are not using the pressure cooker, cook the stock covered for about 1 1/2 hours. After the stock is done cooking, strain and package up for future use.
This stock turned out a rich, beautiful brown color, and I can only imagine all the wonderful nutrients in the broth. I did find it not super-flavorful, so I added some chicken base to the broth. I used some of my stock as a base for ham and bean soup. It was fantastic! My kids have been begging for chicken noodle soup, so this week I’m going to utilize more of this stock.