Vegetable Stock – Something From Nothing

If I were living on a farm I might feed my veggie peelings to the goats or the hogs. If we didn’t live in bear country, or if it wasn’t the middle of winter, I might toss them in the compost bin. Instead I save my scraps to feed my worms and they, in turn, are kind enough to eat them up and produce vermicompost for my garden. Since I produce more scraps than my worm bin can handle, I often freeze scraps until I have enough to make a pot of vegetable stock.

When I was chopping veggies to make turkey soup a few days ago I noticed that the container I keep scraps in was full. The worm bin production has slow down significantly with the cold weather we’re experiencing so I decided it was time to make some vegetable stock. I’ll be making more soups over the coming months and one can never have too much veggie stock in the pantry.

The vegetable mixture I use to make a batch of stock varies depending on what I’ve been cooking with and, as a result, the flavour of each batch is slightly different. This batch was mostly carrot peels and ends, celery ends, cabbage leaves, onion skins and bits, and rainbow chard pieces. A flavourful mixture to be sure.

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I dumped the entire frozen mess into a stock pot, filled it with water, added some salt and pepper, and simmered it for a couple of hours. At one point hubby came upstairs and commented on how good the house was smelling. It’s amazing what a pot of scraps simmering on the stove can contribute to the ambiance of a home!

After a few hours I strained the stock and poured it into clean and hot quart canning jars. I wiped the rims to ensure they were clean, applied lids and rings finger tight, processed in my pressure canner for 35 minutes. The Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving says to process at 10 pounds pressure; for my altitude here in Kamloops I need to process at 11 pounds pressure. You’ll need to check the altitude for your location and adjust accordingly

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I ended up with three quarts and one pint of beautiful and delicious vegetable stock made from scraps I might otherwise have thrown in the trash. That makes it pretty much free in my book and not too bad for a day’s work!

Note: You could choose to freeze the stock instead of canning it if you desire.

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