One Man's Trash is Another Man's Treasure

I often find myself in the food prep zone: a good sharp knife, a cutting board, and a pile of just-harvested vegetables stacked on the counter. Prepping food (chopping, dicing, etc.) is meditative for me. I’m in the zone. My wife is the creative culinary force in our household, so this is my moment to shine. Well, this moment, and the many moments of dish washing, are where I earn my place in the kitchen.

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When the prep work is done and the slices of cukes are headed to the salad, tiny cubes of garlic are in the hot pan, and leaves of basil are in the Vitamix, what should I do with all the stalks, stems, innards, and other vegetable “trash”? Make veggie stock!

Below is a simple recipe for vegetable stock, using scraps that have been collected over many days of cooking. At our house, we keep large Ziploc bag in the freezer to store our vegetable scraps through the week. This small amount of planning and foresight will pay dividends when you taste the deep and true flavor of homemade stock. You’ll never buy it in a can or box again!

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Veggie Scrap Magic Stock

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1 cup celery
  • 1 cup carrots
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • several sprigs of thyme
  • 4 cloves chopped garlic
  • veggie scraps from a full 1-gallon Ziploc (onion root ends and peels, mushroom stems, celery bottoms, carrot peelings, carrot greens, pepper tops, parsley stems, or whatever you have collected)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bay leaf

DIRECTIONS:

Combine the onions, celery, and carrots (no need to peel the veggies) in a big stock pot with the olive oil and thyme (no need to strip the leaves) over medium/high heat until the onions are clear. Add chopped garlic and cook for about two more minutes over medium/high heat. Add in veggie scraps from the one gallon Ziploc and sautee for five more minutes while stirring.

Fill the stock pot with water to cover the vegetables with about two inches of water and sprinkle in a teaspoon of salt. Add in a Bay leaf, bring that to a boil, turn down the heat and let it all simmer for 30–40 minutes. Let it cool for one hour and then strain the stock through a colander over a bowl or pot large enough to hold the liquid. Discard the cooked veggies in your compost pile. Now the stock is ready to use or freeze in several one quart containers for later use.

Thanks to our own Laurel Seward for her beloved recipe!