Friday, May 22

Stone Stock: Vegetable Version

Makes approx. 4 cups
Total price: NY $0.00
Price per cup: NY $0.00

Vegetable Broth
Remember that old kid's story about making soup from a stone? While the moral of the Stone Soup story is about sharing even when you don't have a lot and the value of community, I also always think of it as meaning "to make something from nothing." As they're now apparently predicting that unemployment is going to rise to nearly 10% by year's end (GASP!), making something out of nothing seems all the more timely.

As some of you have noticed, we make a lot of soups around here. In one of our most recent posts the most expensive ingredient was not the ravioli, the red pepper or the zucchini but the chicken stock! Considering that stock can be made at home from kitchen scraps, and that the cheaper store-bought broths are frequently criticized as being little more than salted water, that just seems like throwing money out the window. (Which, as you can imagine, we're not big fans of around here.) If we'd instead used homemade chicken stock from scrap, the cost per bowl for the Chicken Ravioli Soup recipe would have been a mere NY $0.88!

Thus, our quest to make stocks at home was born. We decided to start small, with veggie stock. (I don't know about you, but carcasses are something I need to work my way up to.) The result was less salty and more complex than broth from a can or box. (As you can see from the photos, the broth was also much darker in color than store-bought.) And it all came from items that we otherwise would have discarded. Ergo, "Stone Stock"!

Vegetable Broth
  • 1 gallon freezer bag or container full of vegetable scraps
  • 2 bay leaves (staple)
  • Several whole peppercorns (staple)
  • Several dashes turmeric (staple)
I started this experiment by collecting vegetable scraps in a galloon container in the freezer. All vegetables were scrubbed thoroughly (ok, not the onions) before freezing. Into the container went:
  • Onion peels (but not the papery skins or ends)
  • Parsley stems
  • A bunch of carrots that were close to turning
  • Eggplant trimmings
  • Red pepper trimmings (not the stems, but we did include the
  • seeded core)
  • Zucchini trimmings
  • Celery leaves and stems
  • Green pepper trimmings (ditto red pepper)
  • Yellow squash trimmings
  • A tiny bit of tomato trimmings
  • Potato peels (well scrubbed)
  • Basil stems
Vegetable Broth
You toss in almost any vegetable and herb scraps. Go easy on any broccoli, tomato, asparagus, cauliflower, brussels sprouts or cabbages as these can overpower the flavor. Dump your veggies out into a soup pot, and add enough water to cover by about an inch. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer uncovered for about an hour. Strain soup: pour out into a bowl through a sieve. Press down on the solids in the sieve lightly to extract all remaining liquid. Discard solids. Stock can be stored for future use by refrigerating or freezing.

Inspired by the many wonderful posts out there on making vegetable stock from kitchen, well, refuse.

Information omitted as this will vary depending on what you include. In general though, vegetable broth is very low calorie, fat free and should be chock full 'o' vitamins.


  1. Good for you! Making stock is a great way to improve the flavor and nutritional value of your foods while also saving money. I make it a habit always to keep any bits of onion, carrot, celery, and mushroom that I don't use in a bag in the freezer so that when I am ready to make stock I have those bits. A quick roasting of the frozen parts with some fresh veggies produces an excellent stock. Adding mushrooms gives it real depth. Good work!

  2. Thank you I am breaking the budget on buying stock and I just don't like the granules.

  3. I have been making my own stock since I started cooking! All you need to do is keep a produce bag in the freezer and then every time you chop up a tasty veggie, toss the odds and ends into the bag. When the bag is full, make stock! Just beware green peppers and broccoli/cauliflower/cabbage/radishes...I've found they don't work so well. But everything else is pretty much fair game. If you want to make chicken stock, it's as easy as adding a second freezer bag for bones/skin/etc from a roasted chicken. And for my final hint (I promise!), my Granny always told me to keep the skins from your yellow onions to give your stock really nice flavor!

  4. I have an award at my site for you. Thank you for such an amzing blog.

  5. My belle-mere told me you can also toss the rind from parmesan cheese into soup for added flavour. I have yet to do it but I like the idea. I have 2 little kids and am always tossing good but not-eaten raw veggies in the compost - now I know what to do with them...thanks!!

  6. Love the post! Great recipe!

  7. Great post! I love to make my own stock-then I control the ingredients and avoid any nasty additives!

  8. Thanks for all the compliments! Lisaloo, your "belle-mere" was absolutely correct: a parmesan rind thrown into a minestrone or a ribollita gives a FANTASTIC flavor, richness and heft to a soup. You can toss one into basically any soup that would benefit from having parm grated over the top. Try it! Stumptown Savory: roasting is an interesting idea, I may try that next time! WV Barbie: yup, we already have the remnants of a roasted chicken in the freezer next to another growing bag 'o' veggie bits: we're doing chicken stock next.

  9. I have also found that apple peels (we use granny smiths here) add a sublime and subtle sweetness that adds great depth to stock.

  10. Bunnay: interesting idea! We'll try that: thanks for the tip!

  11. Thanks for the post. I've gotten into the habit of making chicken stock with my chicken carcasses, but haven't tried vegetarian stock yet. This is a great intro. :)

  12. I just made my first batch last night and am gonna sound like such the Suzy Homemaker now: I used the reserve liquid from boiling beets (that I made beet chutney with) Once I drained it, I also let it reduce for a few hours over low heat to have a more concentrated final product. Apple peels, garlic and leek scapes, collard stems, beet stems, thyme, oregano, garlic and onion skins, carrots, celery and a splash of white wine that needed using.

    Thank you for sharing this. It's a great idea!
    - Lena

  13. A time and energy saving tip we do in our house is throw everything in the crockpot with liquid and let it go for a few hours. The crockpot uses less energy and doesn't heat up the house in lovely hot humid Texas summers.

  14. YAY! I'm saving scraps now, and I'm excited to find this recipe. Can't wait to make my own. :) Thanks!


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