Making Vegetable Stock


A tetrapak of vegetable stock is a pantry staple - but homemade vegetable stock is almost effortless to make - especially if you are a dedicated composter. Compost is so loaded with the stuff of a hearty vegetable stock, you can easily divide your compost bin in two - dedicating one to 'stock'.

Just save your washed, chopped vegetable scraps in the freezer throughout the week - no cover necessary. Avoid stinky brassicas and red beets. Throw in ginger, lemongrass or kaffir lime if you want to make an Asian broth. Look for a ratio of 2 cups veggies to 1 cup stock.

Once you have about four cups of scraps - including the equivalent of least one onion, two carrots,  three celery stalks, and four cloves of garlic - you're ready to begin. Other great vegetables to toss in include:

  • asparagus
  • beet greens
  • bell peppers
  • carrots
  • celery
  • fennel
  • leeks
  • lettuce
  • mushrooms
  • potatoes
  • squash
  • tomatoes

To make stock,  you can either roast or boil your vegetables.

To roast,  toss your scraps with olive oil and sea salt on a parchment paper lined baking tray and roast at 450F until tender (about 45 minutes). Then put them in a blender with enough water to cover them.

To boil - consider using an asparagus pot with a built in strainer. Include a bouquet garni,  a teaspoon of whole peppercorn, a tablespoon of sea salt, two cloves of garlic and some star anise. Add enough water to cover and simmer over low heat for at least an hour - stirring occasionally.  

Whichever method appeals to you, when finished, strain through a cheesecloth lined colander to separate out your now compostable veggies from your broth. Stock freezes well in plastic containers and/or big ice-cube trays if you expect to need smaller amounts for a risotto, for example. Cool before freezing.


jane beck

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