Save the tops and peels and such of washed veggies in a gallon-size freezer bag in the freezer. When it's full, it's time to make stock– a fully-packed bag is exactly enough for a batch of stock.
- 1 gallon-size freezer storage bag completely full of any or all of the following:
- -carrot tops and ends
- -onion skins, ends, and peels (any kind is fine, although red will give you a bit of a funny color; brown skins will give you the best color for your stock, and they're often cheapest. Onion skins and ends are usually the basis of my stock; they're the one exception to the "no strong vegetables" rule, because they mellow when they cook to a rich, sweet flavor.)
- -green onion tops and ends and basically any part you've got left– if you used half of them and they started to turn, that's perfect– take off the slime and throw the rest in the freezer
- -leek tops (or any unused leek parts)
- -parsnip ends
- -celery tops and ends
- -tomato skins, seeds, excess parts
- -bay leaves (if you used them in another recipe, like spaghetti sauce, you can rinse them off and throw them in your bag)
- -other mild, non-starchy vegetable parts
- DO NOT USE THE FOLLOWING:
- -cabbage, bok choy, etc.
- -green beans
- -broccoli, cauliflower, broccoflower
- -brussel sprouts
- -squash of any sort, including zucchini
- -potatoes and sweet potatoes (not a flavor thing, I just find it makes them too starchy)
- -corn (again, starch)
- Dump your bag of veggies into a big ol' stockpot. They don't need to be defrosted. A 12-quart stockpot is the perfect size for one gallon bag full of veggie parts. Make sure it's non-reactive and has a nice heavy bottom. You can probably pick one up at a yard sale pretty cheap, or borrow one, if you don't have one. A stockpot should be fairly standard sized on the bottom, but with really tall sides.
- Fill with (cool or room-temperature) water about to 5 or 6 inches below the top.
- Cover and crank up the heat to medium-high or so. It's a lot of water, it's going to take a while to heat, but you don't have to be there for all of it. Go post on Hatrack or something.
- When it comes to a nice, rolling boil, reduce the heat to medium-low. Now simmer for just 20 to 30 minutes. Trust me on this, that's all you need.
- Here's the hard part: strain. I like to remove the large pieces with a slotted spoon, then let cool a bit in case I get splashed. Then pour through a strainer over a couple of big pots (or directly into your crockpots, if you have a big one and a little one they will just hold the stuff, or into some bowls and stuff and then pour it back into the stock pot when you're done.)
- Now the reduction. Reduce, partially covered (you know, mostly covered but vented to let out steam) for quite a while, on low. If you're using crockpots, vent the covers a little and heat on low at least 14 hours or so. On the stove it will take less time, especially if you split it into two pots. In any case, reduce until it's about 2/3 the volume it was before. Cover and cool to a non-burning temperature.
- Pour in two-cup-or-so portions into quart-sized freezer bags and lay flat in the freezer– will keep up to 6 months– OR you can pressure can if you have access to a pressure canner. It'll keep a year if pressure canned, just remember to sterilize your jars, return the stock to a boil first, and check for a good seal. Makes excellent soups or cook your rice or lentil dishes in it for extra flavor.
This recipe was submitted by ketchupqueen on October 3, 2005.