Vegetable stock is very easy to make and enhances the flavours of soups and sauces. I use vegetable trimmings, vegetables that are beginning to wilt, and some fresh ingredients such as carrots, celery, and onions to enhance the flavour.

If you don’t have quite enough vegetable trimmings to make a stock after preparing a meal, put what you do have in a large ziplock freezer bag, place it in the freezer and add to it as you are preparing meals. When you've accumulated enough trimmings, boil them to make a stock. Even using frozen trimmings, you’ll have a flavorful stock and it’s better than throwing it all out.

I don’t add strongly flavoured items, such as citrus peels and cabbage trimmings or the seeds and spines from poblano peppers and jalapenos as they limit the ways the stock can be used. And I don’t use the peelings from vegetables that have been waxed, such as rutabagas. But onion peels are fine and will add a golden hue to the broth.

Wash all of the trimmings or vegetables before adding them to cold water. Bring the water to a boil and just let the vegetables boil for at least 45 minutes. If you use a pressure cooker, of course, you can do this in perhaps 15 minutes.

A basic stock might include:
5 carrots, chopped
5 celery stalks (with leaves), chopped
2 onions chopped
1 or more red or green bell peppers
A couple of cloves of garlic, unpeeled, cut in half
A couple of bay leaves
A bunch of parsley
Any wilted green leafy vegetables which need to be used up
Potato peelings
12 cups of water

I also sometimes add:
Daikon (Chinese white radish)
A piece of kombu (seaweed)
The water from reconstituting dried Chinese mushrooms

But of course, you can add any vegetables you have lurking in your refrigerator, along with whatever herbs or spices you have on hand.

This will make about 8 cups of broth. Strain it and use it make soups and sauces. Or store it in small ziplock freezer bags for later use (they hold about two cups of stock). But don’t overfill the bags or they will split and leak as they expand with freezing. The strained solids can go into a compost heap.

My own recipie follows - tried and tested factgirl and family.

Basic Vegetable Stock

1 white onion, cut in half
2 bay leaves
½ bunch flat leaf parsley
8 mushrooms, cut into quarters
1 bouquet garni (this is a little pouch of herbs and spices - in the gourmet section of the market)
6 carrots, cut in half
10 stalks celery, cut in half
2 small tomatoes, cut in half
(note: all vegetables should be washed but not peeled - even leave the skin on the onion!)

     1. In a large stock pot, combine all ingredients, cover with 5 quarts of cold water, bring to a boil.
     2. Reduce to a simmer and cook covered with the lid askew for 2 hours.
     3. Strain through a very fine strainer or cheesecloth lined colander.

Refrigerate up to 6 days or freeze up to 6 months. This can replace chicken stock in any recipe.
For broth: Season to taste with salt and pepper.
For simple soup: Season to taste with salt and pepper, add new vegetables and simmer until veggies are done.

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