Sometimes you end up with veggies languishing in the bottom of the fridge crisper. It’s a part of life for most of us. When you participate in the community supported agriculture model, there’s no doubt that, unless you’re a dedicated vegetarian, food can start to build up.
That’s not so much a problem with locally grown food, because it stores for a hecking long time, but yep, there can be times when some of it gets past its prime. So what to do with it?
Definitely don’t throw it out. In fact, you don’t even have to compost it. Not straight away, anyway.
Make your own vegetable stock! It’s probably the easiest thing to do ever, each batch brings its own character to your dishes and — best of all — no additives, no powdered this or emulsified that. Just veggies.
Some great advice I read is to not just chuck out the bits of veg that you chop off as you cook, but keep them in a bag in the fridge until it’s full, then make stock from that! Great idea! You can still chuck the veg in the compost after you’ve made stock from it. No waste plus you’re getting even more value from the food.
Veggies good for making stock: onions, leeks including the tops, carrots, celery including the leaves, fennel including the tops, mushrooms including the stalks, parsnips… that sort of stuff.
Veggies NOT good for making stock: zucchini, potatoes, turnips, broccoli, beans, beetroot… that sort of stuff. They’ll overpower the flavour, or might make it cloudy, and some add an unwanted bitterness.
You can add garlic or spices or even salt to the stock, if you like, but I prefer to have the option of adding those extras when I cook the meal itself.
Vegetable stockPrint This
- odds and ends of suitable vegetables, in roughly equal quantities
- 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
- 1 bay leaf
- 2.5 litres water
- Rinse and chop the vegetables into large chunks and plonk them in a large soup pot.
- Let the vegetables sweat on a low heat for about 10 minutes, just in the residual water from rinsing. Stir them a few times.
- Add the water, peppercorns and bay leaf and increase the heat to bring to a low boil.
- When it reaches boiling, reduce the heat to a very low simmer.
- Leave it just at boiling point for at least an hour, occasionally stirring gently.
- Remove it from the heat and strain the vegetables through a colander, catching the stock in another pot or bowl.
- Let it cool a little, then strain the stock once more through some cheesecloth or a clean cotton/linen tea towel.
- Once its completely cool, freeze the stock in useful portions (I had a bunch of jars that hold 1 cup, so I used those).