- Carrot peelings
- Celery leaves
- Withered tomatoes or slices
- Tiny garlic cloves
- Leftover yellow onions
- Skins from onions and shallots for color
- Green tops from leeks and scallions
- Rutabaga wax removed
- Green or red peppers
- Parsley stems
- Cheese rinds from aged cheeses like Parmesan wax removed
- Bay leaves
- Sprigs of thyme
- Mushroom stems
In my freezer, there are two large gallon size freezer bags marked “STOCK.” On a daily basis I add vegetable peelings, scraps and leftovers to both. When the bags fill up and become obstacles in the freezer, it’s time to make stock for soups, stews, flavoring rice, risotto and more. Between two-gallon bags of scraps, you can expect to yield approximately 10 cups of stock.
Produce that is a little wrinkled or withered is fine to use – moldy is not. A balance in the variety of scraps will result in a balance of flavor in the finished stock, too. Avoid cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower.
To make the stock, place the collected scraps in a large stockpot and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about an hour until the vegetables have softened and released some color. Use a potato masher to press down on the vegetables to release more flavor. Strain the stock through a fine mesh strainer and discard the cooked scraps in the compost pile. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cool completely. Use the stock within a week or divide into quart containers and freeze for up to three months.