Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Vegetable stock and soup from scratch

One of the minor benefits of moving house and/or countries is that you get to start over with filling up your fridge and freezer. Our freezer situation in Australia was a little challenging last year, because the freezer section of our combined fridge/freezer stopped cooling effectively. We were fortunate to be able to borrow a full-sized, rather old (but effective!) freezer from my parents, which gave heaps of space but needed to live in the garage and thus required a trip outside to access. As our move was on the horizon, I also refrained from stocking it too full.

Vegetable scraps post stock making.

All of this means that when we reached London, I was pleased to have a functioning fridge/freezer and the opportunity to stock it up. In particular, I wanted to use my new freezer to store vegetable scraps that could. in time, turn into vegetable stock.

Stock


We don't have a garden at all here and didn't have much outdoor space in Australia, so I have never had a compost bin. A large proportion of our rubbish seems to be vegetable scraps - things like carrot ends and peelings, the ends of zucchinis (courgettes) and broccoli, potato peelings, and the end bits of onions. It seems wasteful throwing them out when I know they could be put to use. The notion of putting these scraps into a container or sealed bag in the freezer, to later be turned into stock, has appealed to me for some time. 

Making stock is hardly difficult and I can't proclaim any new magical method today. After collecting scraps for a while, I simply covered them with water and a teaspoon of salt, and allowed the mix to simmer for two hours. At the end, I drained the liquid off, abandoned the soaked vegetable ends, and was left with about four cups of stock.

Repackaged stock

I used one cup of the stock to make soup on the weekend, and froze the rest for future use. Stock isn't very expensive to buy, so this isn't a big money saver, but it is very satisfying and I suspect gives a more nutritious outcome than packet equivalents. I will definitely be keeping it up - I have a new collection of vegetable ends to start!


Vegetable stock
An easy way to put vegetable scraps to good use
Makes 4 cups


Ingredients
Approximately 4 cups of vegetable scraps, saved in the freezer from whatever you have to hand
4 cups of water
1 teaspoon of salt

Method
Rinse the frozen vegetable scraps under cold water and then place in a saucepan. Cover with the 4 cups (or so) of water and stir in the teaspoon of salt. Bring to near boiling point and then reduce heat to low and allow to simmer, covered, for approximately 2 hours.

Drain the liquid from the vegetable scraps. Use straight away or freeze as desired. Discard the vegetable scraps.

Vegetable soup
A never-fail, nutrition-packed light meal; other vegetables will work so feel free to vary the ingredient list to suit what you have to hand
Serves 4


Ingredients
1 cup vegetable stock (see recipe above)
2 brown onions, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1-1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tin (375g / 1-1/2 cups) tinned tomatoes
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 large potato, peeled and chopped
1/2 large celeriac, peeled and chopped
1 cup cooked brown lentils

1/2 cup water or as needed

Method
Drizzle a small amount of the vegetable stock in the bottom of a large saucepan and use it to saute the onions and garlic. When softened, add the oregano, tinned tomatoes, carrots, potato and celeriac, along with approximately half of the remaining stock. Bring to near boiling point, stir, and then add the remaining stock and reduce heat to low. Allow to simmer, covered, for at least 1 hour on low heat.

Add the lentils before serving and use the additional water to thin down the soup as desired.

Do you save vegetable scraps for stock or other purposes?

19 comments:

  1. I am a bit sporadic with making stock from peelings but I do love it - I think the flavour is great - I only cook mine for about 20 minutes - I think that must be what the recipe I originally found said. But it takes a while to boil. Glad you are enjoying your freezer working in the UK - though you could probably almost just put the food outside in winter (ha ha)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! We certainly could at times ;) Interesting that your original recipe suggested 20 minutes - I didn't have anything advising longer time, just thought long term simmering would improve flavour. Good to know there's a shorter method too though.

      Delete
  2. Making the stock is not the hard part it's remembering to set aside the vegetable scraps and not directly in the trash. I tend to peel potatoes over the trash so now I make the conscious effort to do it over a bowl. I gather all scraps and seal in big Ziploc bag and stick into the freezers. I keep adding as I go on and when bag is full I try to make broth-sometimes I stick it into slow cooker and cover with water so I don't have to think about it. I also want to invest in a quality and efficient countertop composter.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I had to work hard not to bin my scraps too! Once you've got into a routine it's fairly manageable though :-)

      Delete
  3. Believe me, I completely understand this one! Our fridge freezer packed up this year and was replaced by something much roomier (and less rubbish!) so I've stashed a plastic bag in there and I've been adding scraps gradually for stock making. I'm really pleased with the results to far!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's great, isn't it?! And the joys of a new empty freezer - glad I'm not alone in knowing them :-)

      Delete
  4. I love this idea. Usually I just put mine straight into the compost, but I could definitely save them for home made stock... and then compost the mushy leftover bits. Everybody wins (especially my tummy!!).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Excellent - I love that you'd still get the compost at the end!

      Delete
  5. I definitely need to try to make veggie broth from scratch. It's totally ridiculous that I never have!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's one of those things that's easy to never do, but also so easy and rewarding to actually do!

      Delete
  6. Nice! I love to keep aside notes of DIYs or make from scratch, like this one! Thank you!!!

    Julie & Alesah
    Gourmet Getaways xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A pleasure! I love those things too :D

      Delete
  7. That is such a good way to turn what would normally be waste into something so useful. I do prefer homemade stocks to what you buy at the shops. I have issues with my fridge too in that it keeps freezing everything in the vegetable compartments and so a lot of vegetables become ruined and I have to throw them out. I suppose I could organise a technician to come out and see if it can be repaired! xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, but the hassle! I do hate things like that - and we had that happen in our Australian problematic fridge/freezer for a while too. The freezer was too warm but the fridge too cold. Icy lettuce is not fun!

      Delete
  8. I also use my slow cooker to make a vegetable stew and save the leftover stock from that for soups. The addition of a teaspoon of good pesto really perks it up I find.

    ReplyDelete
  9. The soup sounds awesome, I must get into the habit of freezing stock, I hate the off the shelf stuff, it's too salty! I love that you save your vegetable scraps in the freezer, such a great idea I'm going to adopt straight away, thank you for the tip!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad it is helpful! It really is worth doing and gives a huge amount of satisfaction, or at least I find it to :)

      Delete
  10. I have always wanted to make my own stock, but never got around to it. They say that the flavour is superior to shop bought.

    ReplyDelete

I genuinely appreciate all comments and the time taken to post them. Occasionally, I may need to restrict commenting to registered users in order to halt large volumes of spam. If that happens, I will lift the restriction within a week.

Want other ways to interact? Bite-sized thoughts is on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/bitesizedthoughts) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/bitesizethought).