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Welcome to the first instalment of Cheat’s Eats, where I show you recipes so cheap and so easy you’ll feel like you’re cheating the system.

What’s in store this time? Vegetable scraps.  Freezer bags. An hour of your time. Homemade stock. Enough said.

Buying vegetable stock can be expensive and it tends to sit in your fridge feeling sad next to some unused salad dressing. Or, you can buy stock cubes, concentrates or instant mixes full of MSG, corn syrup solids and overloaded with salt.

I’m not trying to shame those lil stock cubes, they’ve gotten me out of a bind or two, but making your own vegetable stock is simple — all it takes is a little time and some things you were gonna throw away anyway.

Peels, tops, bottoms, skins, stems of herbs — all of that is going to contribute to your homemade stock. Take your time, your bag of scraps will keep for up to six months in the freezer.

The great thing about this stock is it’s customisable depending on what you eat, but there are a few basic rules. So what scraps go into this stock?

  • Vegetables
    • carrots (tops, bottoms, peels)
    • onions (tops, bottoms, skins)
    • potato (tops, bottoms, skins)
    • celery (tops, bottoms)
    • mushrooms (stems)
  • Herbs
    • parsley (stems)
    • thyme (stems)
    • rosemary (green stems)
    • basil (stems)
    • dill (stems)
    • oregano (stems)
    • sage (stems)
  • Extras
    • fennel (bulbs)
    • spring onions (tops, bottoms)
    • bell peppers
    • leeks (tops, bottoms)
    • parsnips (tops, bottoms, peels)
    • garlic (tops, bottoms, skins)

 

 

What to Avoid:

Anything green — broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, spinach — will leave your stock tasting bitter. Avoid spoiled produce too.

Tips:

Wash your vegetable scraps before you put them in your freezer bag, you’ll get a better end result.

Ingredients:

  • Vegetable scraps (about six cups’ worth)
    • Optional: bay leaves, pinch of salt, peppercorns, ginger, fresh herbs or vegetable

What You’ll Need:

  • An extra large or large freezer bag (mine are 26.8 cm x 27.3 cm or 10.55 inches x 10.74 inches)
  • Cheesecloth or a fine strainer
  • A large stock pot or pot
  • Empty jars / containers

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Method:

  1. Put all of your frozen vegetable scraps into a giant pot with 8 cups of water.
  2. Turn your stove up to a medium heat, or until the pot comes to a simmer. Add salt, peppercorns, ginger, bay leaves and anything else you want.
  3. Leave the pot to simmer uncovered for an hour.
  4. Turn off the heat and let your stock cool down. Strain your vegetable stock with a fine strainer or cheesecloth.
  5. Store your new stock in some jars or containers. Freeze it or put it in the fridge for up to a week.

Check out the .pdf version right here. Vegetable Stock Recipe

The first time I made this, my stock turned bright orange from all the carrots and onions I’d used. My bag’s refilling already, full of herbs — I’m excited.

 

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Have you made this? How’d you go? Planning on making it? Let me know in the comments below! Thanks so much for reading.

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