In case you missed us at Food From the Farm this weekend… Here is a tutuorial on making vegetable stock:
Step 1: Gather or save your vegetables. You can use onion peels, whole cloves of garlic, carrot peels, stems from herbs, potato peels, celery leaves and other vegetables that are a little past their prime. You can gather these ahead of time and freeze them, until you have enough vegetables (or time) to make the stock.
Step 2: Brown some vegetables. Chop up some of either your scraps, or a variety of fresh vegetables and brown them in a little oil in a pot. You should leave out larger pieces and only add enough vegetables to cover the bottom of your pot, excess vegetables will create too much moisture and not allow browning.
Step 3: Add liquid. You can use a little wine or cider (hard or fresh) to deglaze the pot first. Then add a few cups of water and simmer. Add any other vegetables that were not added originally and allow them to simmer as well.
Step 4: Strain the stock. After about an hour, scoop out larger chunks with a slotted spoon and strain the remaining stock.
Step 5: Store or use the stock. If you want to make your stock more concentrated, return it to heat and leave on a hard boil until it is significantly reduced. You can then freeze the stock or refrigerate it. Frozen stock will last a few months. It is most easy to use if you freeze individual amounts (ideas: 2 cup portions for soup or ½ cup portions for braising). Be sure to label! Use any unfrozen stock within a week.
Here is the finished product (there was plenty more to freeze). I added no salt and used a combination of onion, mushroom, leek greens, parsley stems, carrot trimmings, the small leftover cloves of garlic and celery leaves along with the little or damaged stalks. The jar that I kept out of the freezer will go into a black eyed pea, chorizo and rice dish later this week.
Tip: Though you can use perfectly good whole vegetables to make stock, this is a great use for scraps (tops, peels, etc.) and wilted produce.