I dabble in stocks all the time, but with no financial risks. Yes, it’s a bad joke but one that might save you a few pounds buying stock cubes.
I hate waste, especially waste that I’ve paid for. I’m always looking at ways of reducing the amount of food waste I have such as batch cooking, putting leftovers in the freezer for another meal and making clean up meals (basically throwing everything about to go bad into a pot and hoping for the best). Just before Christmas I came across yet another way to save money on something so simple yet so useful. Vegetable scrap stock.
The Unlocked Potential of Vegetable Scraps
When preparing veg most people will either throw out the peelings or compost them. Unfortunately, for the last few years I’ve done the former as when we moved we couldn’t take our composter with us and we’ve just not got round to buying our new one. I’ve hated throwing food away, even peelings and scraps so when this idea popped up on my Facebook feed I was overjoyed that I have a new way to get more from my veg.
There is nothing nicer than fresh, homemade foods and fresh stock is among one of the nicest basic ingredients you can have on hand. Stock is a clear liquid made from discarded ingredients such as animal bones and, in the case of vegetable stock, vegetables that you discard once cooked.
Most recipes call for whole carrots, onions, celery and a selection of herbs to make a full and flavoursome stock that can then be used in all manner of recipes such as soups, risotto and gravy. To me, however, chopping up a load of veg to boil it then throw it in the bin/composter (I mean, what more can you really do with mushy boiled veg) seems extremely wasteful. Here is a great way to get tasty stock without wasting any whole veg.
Vegetable Scrap Stock Method
Prepare veg for other meals. Put peelings, skins, ends etc in a container in the fridge. When the container is full put it in a pan, cover with water and boil. Strain the glorious liquid off then throw away the scraps. Allow to cool then refrigerate or freeze and use in your favourite stock recipes. If you want to season it with salt, pepper, herbs, bay leaves etc then you can always add them – especially if you’re making it for a particular recipe.
An added benefit is that you can then still compost these scraps, as long as you haven’t added any animal products such as butters or other fats. Meaning that not only have you used your vegetables to their maximum nutritional benefits, you’ve squeezed every last penny out of them and they can be used to nourish your garden.
The joy of this kind of stock is that it never tastes the same as last time. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve had loads of parsnip peelings and sprout leaves so my current stock tastes very Christmasy whereas later in the year it’s going to be more standard.
We’ll be buying a new composter come spring when we make a start on the garden. Until then I’ll be making the most of my scraps.