by Anne Finch, Accredited Practising Dietitian for LiveLighter

stock

Looking for a fun new project? Want to know exactly what’s in your food? Welcome to the MYO series, where we look at how to prepare some of your favourite foods and ingredients from scratch.

With soup season (aka winter) upon us we’re using a lot more stock in the kitchen! Making your own stock saves money, reduces food waste, and makes for delicious dishes.

The basics

  1. Put vegies, herbs and/ or chicken carcass in a big pot
  2. Cover with water and simmer for ages
  3. Strain and freeze in individual portions
                                                  
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The secret to our stock is using the week’s vegie scraps. Put a zip-lock bag in the freezer and put your vegie peels, skins and ends in there as you go. Vegies that soft, wilted or past their prime (but not rotten or mouldy) are perfect for this too. Once you’ve got about 2 cups of scraps, you’re ready to make stock! We also add some extra vegies to boost the flavour and get the traditional balance of flavour.

Equipment needed

  • Knife
  • Chopping board
  • Large pot
  • Sieve or strainer
  • Freezer-safe containers (zip-lock bags are great)

Vegie stock

  • 1 tsp oil
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 onions, quartered
  • 2 sticks celery, roughly chopped
  • 4 mushrooms
  • 2 cups vegie scraps (if you have them)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2-3 litres water
  1. Heat the oil in a big pot and cook the vegies till slightly softened (about 5 minutes)
  2. Add bay leaves and water and bring to a simmer
  3. Simmer gently for 1 hour
  4. Strain the stock through a sieve and cool
  5. Pour the stock into icecube trays, zip-lock bags or other container and freeze

Chicken stock

  • 1 chicken carcass (raw or from a roast chicken), roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 onions, quartered
  • 2 sticks celery, roughly chopped
  • 4 mushrooms
  • 2 cups vegie scraps (if you have them)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2-3 litres water
  1. Heat the oil in a big pot and cook the vegies till softened (about 5 minutes)
  2. Add chicken carcass, bay leaves and water and bring to a simmer
  3. Simmer gently for at least 2 ½ hours. Occasionally skim the foam off the top and discard.
  4. Strain the stock through a sieve and cool in the fridge overnight
  5. Skim the cooled fat off the top and discard. Pour the stock into icecube trays, zip-lock bags or other container and freeze

How easy is that?

Now you can use your own home made stock in soups, risottos and tagines. It'll be a lot less salty than commercial stocks, so keep that in mind and adjust your seasoning. This stock will keep in the freezer for about 6 months. Enjoy! 

    Frequently asked questions

    Can I use any vegie scraps?

    Almost! Avoid the cruciferous family (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and friends). They can be quite bitter. Potato peels make the stock quite cloudy, and beetroot makes it purple, so avoid those if you’re after a nice clear stock. Apart from that, go crazy! Corn cobs, pumpkin skin, fennel cores, zucchini ends, leek tops etc are all excellent additions!

    What about other herbs and seasonings?  

    Go for it! These are quite neutral stocks that will go well with any dish. But if you know what you’re making with the stock, go ahead and use some of those flavours! Try adding ginger, lemongrass and coriander for an Asian flavour, or garlic, parsley and thyme for an Italian feel.

    Can I make this in the slow cooker?

    Yes! 5 hours on HIGH or 10 hours on LOW should do it.

    What do I do with the cooked vegie scraps?

    They’re totally edible, but just not that delicious. You can add them into a soup (or even a smoothie if you’re game!). You can add it to the dog’s dinner or chuck it in the compost.