I like to approach every thing I do with a little bit of Clint Eastwood swagger, that fearless, take the bull by the horns type attitude. Don’t forget who is in charge here – not the veggies! So when nature’s bounty starts to overrun your refrigerator, take stock! I also don’t like to waste anything, so save your trimmings – the celery leaf tops, the carrot tops, that little chunk of leftover fennel, collect them all in a bag and when you have 4 cups or more you’re ready to make soup stock.
Onions, carrots (the whole bunch with the greens), and celery are the foundation of any good vegetable stock. But almost any vegetable can impart a nice flavor: leeks, scallions, garlic, fennel, chard, lettuce, kale, potatoes, parsnips, green beans, snap peas, summer squash, bell peppers, eggplant, mushrooms, asparagus, corn, winter squashes, beet greens. No need to peel anything! Use leftover produce that may be less than fresh, but still edible or damaged produce that may not look real good on the outside but underneath has a good heart.
These vegetables can overpower the flavor of the stock and they might turn it bitter – but compost your scraps or find a turtle to make your friend: cabbage, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, turnips, rutabagas, artichokes, radishes, japanese turnips. And of course anything rotten or moldy.
Beet roots will make your vegetable stock red and onion skins can turn your stock a deep brown. These may not be desirable when you are planning on a clear based soup.
Place 4-6 cups of chopped or whole vegetables in a stock pot. Add 1-2 bay leaves and a few peppercorns and some of your favorite herbs – parsley, thyme, cilantro, basil, dill.
Cover everything with cold water and bring to a boil. Simmer the stock uncovered for one hour over medium heat. Don’t overcook. Let cool, then strain and make your favorite soup or pour into glass jars or other containers for storage in the refrigerator or freezer. Will keep 4-5 days in the refrigerator.