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How to Make Homemade Vegetable Stock for Free

Statistics show that as much as 40 percent of the food in the United States goes uneaten. 1 We are wasting food at twice the rate we did in the 1970’s while 1 in 6 people go hungry. 2 

My waistline will attest to the fact that I am far from starving to death, but that doesn’t stop me from doing everything I can to curb food waste every chance I get. One way I do that is by making my own homemade vegetable stock at home.  What’s more, I do it for free.

Free Homemade Vegetable Stock

Every time I use fresh produce I have waste. Whether that waste is the ends of onions or carrots or the bits and pieces of celery that have gone soft after spending a day or two too long in the fridge, they all end up in my freezer stock container (see photo, above). In addition, frozen, or even canned produce and the liquids drained from them camp out in my freezer until I have amassed about 12 cups worth. That’s when I take stock and make stock.

From carrot peelings to onion butts, even wilted greens are fair game. When I cook the vegetable stock down, I usually do little more than add some fresh herbs (when they’re available), or dried herbs if that’s what I have. I bring the lot to the boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. I let the stock simmer for about 2 hours before cooling, straining, and canning it.

Alternatively, you can make your stock in smaller batches in a slow cooker by adding the vegetable waste, filling the slow cooker with water and allowing to cook on high for 6-8 hours. When you’re finished, the spent vegetables can be composted just as they would when they were raw.

Using this method I can produce 4 quarts of wonderful vegetable stock without spending anything at all, and I do the same for both chicken and beef, but that’s another post for another day!

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