Many years ago I read a cookbook that I’ve since forgotten that casually mentioned getting serious about stock by saving food scraps to make scrap stock. Young and strapped with a teeny grocery budget, I jumped in, eager to make what I had go further. I launched not as interested in flavor as I was in the financial boon of food I didn’t have to buy: no more boxes or cans of broth.
But in time as I got in the regular rhythm of fennel tops, onion skins, chicken carcasses and a random collection of the organic odds and ends that would otherwise pile in my trash (then) or compost bin (now), things shifted. The food trash was transformative. The stock I made was not just about saving money or not wasting, it was about flavor.
Wowza. It really delivers.
I shared this recipe in the Winter 20/20 Recipe Collection along with some stellar (AND SIMPLE) soups: Broccoli Cheese Toast Soup and Lentil Sausage Stew. Just a quick or slow simmer and strain and you can turn your scraps into the foundation of stellar soups or suppers.
55 minutes, Serves 6-8
Wasted food is the most expensive food we buy; chances are there’s a soup in your scraps. Save your vegetable trimmings (meat bones, too) in a gallon-sized bag in the freezer. As soon as the bag is full, simmer, strain, and it’s stock. Scrap Stock adds depth to any soup or recipe that calls for broth or stock.
1 gallon vegetable trimmings
Water to cover
Dump gallon-size container or bag worth of vegetable trimmings into a large pot. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a steady simmer and cook for 45 minutes. Strain by pouring through a sieve into a large bowl. Keeps one week in the fridge or many months in the freezer.
- Scrap Stock Concentrate: can be cooked down and concentrated to use less storage space in a cramped fridge or freezer.
- Bone Broth: 24 hours in the slow cooker on low, 12 on high, or 90-120 minutes at high pressure with natural release in the Instant Pot.
- Slow Cooker or Instant Pot Scrap Stock: Use the low setting for 6-8 hours, high setting for 3-4, or 15 minutes in under high pressure with natural release.
- Avoid storing cabbage, broccoli, brussels sprouts, or cauliflower scraps in the scrap bag. They have an assertive flavor that can easily overwhelm the stock. I usually compost those directly or use them elsewhere.
- A word on fruit trimmings: I add those too (apple and pear cores, etc), but sparingly to keep the stock savory instead of sweet.
- I avoid salting my stock as I make it because I prefer the flexibility to season according to my needs as I am cooking. Reducing salt is significantly harder than adding salt as needed.
Grab a bag or container and start your Scrap Stock today with the day’s vegetable trimmings. It’s so easy, you’ve got this.