With all of this chopping and cooking I do in my kitchen, I end up with more vegetable scraps than I know what to do with. I hate to throw them out because, well, it’s not very environmentally friendly of me! We compost as much as we can, but in our small suburban homestead, this is just one small compost barrel and it doesn’t take me long to fill it to capacity.
Instead, as often as possible, I save up my scraps from different meals so I can make a stock for soup with them when I’m ready.
The best way I’ve found to do this is by keeping a plastic zipper bag in the freezer, the bigger the better, to save my veggie peels, trimmings, and ends.
When the bag is full and I have a nice assortment of carrots, peppers, celery, onions, and other odds and ends, I put them all in the slow cooker for the day. It is perfectly fine to put them straight into the cooker from the freezer. If I have them, I will also add bones, like chicken or turkey, to add to the stock. I also add peppercorns, lots of herbs, and a bay leaf or two to give the stock flavor. I personally like to use salt in my stock because I find that it draws a lot of flavor out of the scraps I’m cooking with. However, I do go light on the salt so that I can adjust the seasoning again when I’m making a soup or other dish with the stock.
There are very few days when I am in the house for the hours and hours I would need to tend to my simmering brew. While I can and certainly have made stock on the stove top, I usually don’t because there is another way that gives me more freedom. I’ve fallen head over heels with my slow cooker for its magical ability to deliver stock with zero intervention from me!
I have a huge, 6-quart slow-cooker that is programmable. This means I can set it for the time and heat level and when it’s done, it automatically turns itself over to the “warm” function. This is very handy for those days when I’m out of the house for most of the day.
To encourage your efforts at making a delicious, home-made stock, I created a pretty printable guide with all the instructions and a handy list of the best veggie scraps to include in your creation. Just click right here to download yours, print it on your nicest paper, and pin it up on the fridge or inside a cupboard. This way you’ll always be prepared to make the most out of the food you have worked so hard for. And the biggest reward will be the soup you make with it!
And for a little soup inspiration, you can get my recipe for a delicious lentil soup by clicking right here.
Happy cooking and stock making, my friends!