Stock is just one of those staples, isn’t it? A lot of my favourite go-to meals, from a simple weeknight soup to a showstopping beef bourguignon, rely on the humble stock. For years, I’ve relied on store bought options. Whether its cubes, stock pots, or cartons, buying vegetable stock from the store can set you back between somewhere in the range of CAD $3-5.
And yet for most of us, we have the resources to make delicious vegetable stock right on hand for almost no extra cost at all. It just takes a little planning.
I wish I could remember where I first saw this tip so I could give credit, because it really has been life changing for me. But here it is: save your vegetable peelings. Yep, it’s that simple. Whenever you’re peeling anything (onion skins, carrots, potatoes) or chopping off the stems or stalks of a vegetable – pop them in a large ziploc bag that you keep in your freezer instead of the green bin. In no time at all you’ll have have a big full bag.
Once you’ve got your bag on the go, making your stock is this simple:
- Take your desired amount of veggie peelings from the freezer bag. You want a fairly decent amount each time (1-2 cups worth approx) to make sure you get enough flavour in the stock. Add to large pan.
- Fill pan with water and bring to the boil. Add salt to taste. Then simmer until your stock is at your desired intensity. (I usually spend about 30 mins simmering it while I get other parts of whatever I’m making ready).
- Drain your stock into a bowl/ container and discard of used peelings.
This gives you a lovely, rich, stock, that tastes slightly different each time depending on the peelings you had to hand on any given day. Earthy, full of flavour, and practically cost free.
This is one of those things that’s so no-nonsense and self evident that it almost seems silly to write it out here. And yet so many of us (myself included) have become addicted to the myth of “convenience” foods that we forget how easy and cheap making our own food can be; we also forget how much better it tastes.