Slow-Cooker Vegetable Stock (from Vegetable Scraps)

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Save those vegetable scraps, readers! We’re making vegan stock, and it’s as easy as saving and freezing clean vegetable peels, food scraps, and herb stems.

(How does one take appetizing photos of frozen vegetables and stock?)

Why make stock from scratch?

Vegetable Stock | I'll Make It Myself! 3

-No additional cost if you’re already purchasing the other components (carrots, celery, onions, garlic, potatoes, herbs)

-It’s gluten-free and vegan; free of preservatives, added salt (for those of you who are conscious of sodium), and palm oil

-It’s very hands-off. You save vegetable scraps and herb stems while you’re cooking other things, freeze them, throw them in a slow cooker, strain, and voila!

Vegetable Stock | I'll Make It Myself! 1

Slow-Cooker Vegetable Stock

For a 4-quart slow cooker.
Yields ~8 cups

Ingredients

~6-8 cups* well cleaned frozen vegetable scraps, which could include

  • onions – scraps and peels
  • garlic – scraps and peels
  • carrots  – peels, leaves, tops
  • potatoes -scraps and peels
  • celery – ribs, scraps, leaves, the bits at the top
  • stems of rosemary, sage, parsley, and thyme (or leftovers)
  • a bay leaf
  • green onion scraps
  • mushrooms

(Japanese ingredient list below**)

Avoid using cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus–they will make the stock bitter. And absolutely no rotten or moldy vegetables!

~8 cups (1.9 liters) water, or just enough to cover the vegetables

Equipment

-Slow cooker: I have an 4-quart Crockpot, but you can adjust this recipe to fit whatever size you have.

-Large mesh strainer
-Ladle
-Large bowl into which to pour the strained stock
-Large bowl to collect the solid vegetables (compost these afterward)
-Freezer-safe containers for freezing the stock

Procedure

1. Place frozen vegetable scraps into the slow cooker. Pour in water to fill the slow almost full. If your vegetable scraps are frozen into large clumps, alternate frozen vegetables with water to soften them to fit.

2. Place on the lid and cook on low for 8-10 hours. I tend to do this overnight, and then let the liquid cool while I’m at work. (Or vice versa!)

3. Let cool, then strain into the bowl. I prefer to ladle the vegetables into the strainer to drain any stock off and then remove the solid vegetables into the compost bowl so I don’t have a lift the whole crock and risk the vegetable solids splashing my stock out of the bowl.

4. If you will be freezing the stock, let cool completely, then divide the liquid into freezer containers based on how much you tend to use at a time. Most of my favorite soup recipes use ~3 cups of stock, but you can also use ice-cube trays for smaller portions if you like to add a little stock to your sauces. Be sure to leave headspace to account for the expansion when the liquid freezes.

Do you have tips for making your own stock? Leave me a comment!

Resources

Kiersten Frase. “How to Make Vegetable Broth (With Kitchen Scraps!).” Oh My Veggies!  (stove top)

Marian Bull. “How to Make Vegetable Stock Without a Recipe.” Food 52. (stove top)

Claryn. “Make Your Own Vegetable Stock.” Hell Yeah It’s Vegan! (slow cooker)

*About 4 sandwich-size (8.75 x 13.125 x 4.5 in) plastic bags’ or 2 quart-size bags’ or ~1 gallon bag’s worth of frozen vegetables. You could also freeze scraps in a plastic container, depending on how much room you have. I give a rough estimate because it will depend on how densely you pack your freezer containers.

**Japanese:

  • onion (tamanegi, 玉ねぎ)
  • garlic (ninniku, ニンニク)
  • carrots  (ninjin, にんじん, 人参)
  • potato peels (jagaimo, ジャガイモ)
  • celery  (serori, セロリ)
  • rosemary (rôzumâri, ローズマリー), sage (sêji, セージ), parsley (paseri, パセリ), and thyme (taimu, タイム)
  • a bay leaf (rôrie, ローリエ)
  • green onion (naganegi, 長ネギ)
  • mushrooms (kinoko, キノコ)  – button mushrooms (マッシュルーム), cremini (クレミニマッシュルーム), or shiitake (しいたけ, 椎茸) would be nice
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