Making Stock forms the basis of many healthy, inexpensive meals.
Making your own will not only save you money, but it will be healthier, with no additives.
A tetra pack of ‘real’ stock costs around $3 for 1 litre.
You can make three times as much and yours will be almost free.
The trick is to use leftover vegetable scraps. Skins and off-cuts and limp vegetables that you might otherwise have thrown in the bin.
Making stock is really easy. It takes time, but you just put it on the heat and leave it. I use a slow cooker overnight. Our slow cooker costs about 4 cents to run, so overnight, I spend about 52 cents to make this stock (find how to calculate your appliance running costs here). Because I use scraps that would otherwise go in the compost, that’s about the total cost of making the stock.
And using vegetable scraps means there is no preparation and no mess.
How to make your own vegetable scrap stock
- When you prepare meals, wash all vegetables and save the peelings and scraps. Keep the scraps in a bag or container in the freezer and add scraps at every meal time. Make sure it’s kept frozen, otherwise it could go mouldy.
- Include scraps such as onion skins and ends, carrot peelings and ends, zucchini ends, parsley stems, the green part of the leek (washed) and celery tops. Limit things like broccoli stems and cabbage as these can give the stock a strong flavour. I usually throw these in anyway, because I don’t mind the flavour. Brown onion skins and red capsicum will give the stock a dark colour.
- When you have a full bag, throw the vegetable scraps in a pot. Top it up with 3 or 4 litres of water, add a few pepper corns, and a bay leaf or two. If you’re short on onion, carrot or parsleys scraps, throw a bit extra in the pot.
- Bring to the boil and simmer for a few hours. Let cool. Strain, divide and freeze.
- Alternatively, throw it all in the slow cooker and leave for 8 hours or so.
- For a chicken or meat stock, use add the leftover bones from a roast.
This is makes an almost free base to soups, casseroles, sauces, stews, risotto, or whatever you use stock for.
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