Making vegetable stock is so easy and so delicious. It can be made in several different ways. Plus it is inexpensive and makes use of vegetable parts and liquids that we often throw out. Below you have the variations on vegetable stock with the do’s and don’ts specific to vegetable stock. Try all the variations.
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Revised Oct. 24, 2020, originally published October 11, 2020 by Deborah Esplin
How To Make Classic Vegetable Stock
This is a liquid broth made from vegetables. It is useful as a base for soups, stews, sauces, casseroles, pasta and gravies.
Ingredients for Classic Vegetable Stock
3 carrots, washed & peeled
4 celery sticks, washed & peeled
1 large or 2 small potatoes, washed & peeled
1 onion, peeled
1/3 celery root, washed & peeled
6 Litres (24 cups) of water
30 mL (2 tbsp) vegetable stock concentrate
Juice from 1/2 lemon
15 mL (1 tbsp) white vinegar, if desired
1/2 grated lemon rind, if desired
Note: You can use more water but the stock will be less concentrated.
Preparation Of Classic Vegetable Stock
Chop the vegetables into large pieces and put them in a stockpot. Add the water, a dash of salt and pepper. Put on the stovetop and bring to a boil. Simmer for 30 minutes. The vegetable stock concentrate, herb mix, lemon juice and white vinegar will be added later.
Let the stock cool for 20 minutes. Ladle the vegetables into a sieve that you hold over the pot or over a bowl. Do this until all the vegetables are removed. Add the vegetable stock concentrate, a dash of herb mix, the lemon juice, white vinegar and lemon rind. Add a little more salt & pepper to taste.
Taste the soup and add more seasoning if desired.
Cool and use or put into containers to freeze. Do not keep in the fridge for more than four days.
This recipe gives you 20 to 21 cups, 5 Litres, of stock.
How To Make Variations on Classic Vegetable Stock
You can make variations on the classic vegetable stock to use up vegetable pieces that you have in your fridge.
Ingredients for Variations on Classic Vegetable Stock
Before you start, choose if you want to make a mild stock or a strong-flavoured stock. If you make a strong-flavoured stock, then it may not work in all your dishes.
Take vegetables that you like, and generally ones that have a somewhat mild flavour, like:
- carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, parsnips, celery, celery root, zucchini, and squashes
You can also use vegetables that have a stronger flavour like:
- mushrooms, spinach, kale, carrot top greens, bell peppers, onion, garlic, leek and other strongly-flavoured vegetables
- White vinegar
Preparation Of Variations of Classic Vegetable Stock
Wash, peel and chop the vegetables into chunks. The chunks do not need to be bite-size. Add the vegetables to a stockpot. Add water until you have twice as much water as vegetables. Add a tablespoon or two of white vinegar and a pinch of salt and pepper.
I don’t add more seasoning at this point, because you can always add more seasoning when you use the broth.
Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.
Let cool for 20 minutes with the lid off. With a strainer and a bowl, remove the vegetables from the stock and let the liquid drain over the bowl.
When the vegetables have drained put the stock in the bowl back into the pan and put in your containers. The stock can be refrigerated for up to 4 days or frozen.
Tip: The main caution is to select your vegetables for the stock that have flavours that work together.
Note: Turnip can be used but it has a strong flavour.
Note: Also, carrot tops and zucchini can make your brother bitter. I only add a few and do not simmer the stock for more than 20 minutes. Generally vegetable stock should simmer for more than 20 to 40 minutes.
How To Make Thick Vegetable Stock
This kind of stock is where you will blend the cooked vegetables into the liquid instead of removing them and putting them to waste. This stock is almost like a soup, and it can be used as a base for soups or stews, but it would not work as a base for sauces or gravies. It would work with some casseroles, but not all depending on the flavour and thickness.
Because you are going to blend the vegetables into the liquid, you need to be careful about the flavours and colours. Generally, you will want to only use one or two vegetables to make this thick stock.
Also, I generally don’t mix colours because it makes the stock go an ugly brown colour that is not appetizing. You could mix:
- tomato, red bell pepper, carrots and beets, if desired
- green pepper, spinach, celery
- potatoes, leeks
- mushrooms, onions
I would not mix red bell pepper & spinach, as an example, unless I was going to use it in a casserole or pasta dish with those vegetables.
Also, for potatoes, you may not want to use a potato stock with all your dishes. Potato stock tends to be thick, but it can be good in some dishes.
Zucchini and greens can go bitter when cooked for a long time.
Follow the preparation instructions above, but blend the vegetables into the liquid, instead of removing them.
Note: You want to have a large ratio of liquid to vegetables if you are going to purée the vegetables into the stock. Otherwise, it will be very thick and more like a soup.
How To Make Stock From Leftover Vegetables & Throwaways
You can also make stock from some parts of a vegetable that you throw away and from liquid leftover from cooking vegetables.
When you boil potatoes, carrots or other vegetables, you can keep that liquid for stock instead of throwing it out. I have a plastic bottle that I keep in the freezer and when I have liquid leftover from cooking vegetables, I let it cool then put it in the bottle. When the bottle is full or when I need stock, I use that liquid.
Other parts of vegetables that we throw away like carrot greens, celery tops, leek greens, can also be used to make stock. Instead of throwing them out, put them in a storage bag in the freezer and when you have enough make Classic Vegetable Stock with the leftovers.
If you have vegetables that are near the end of their life and you don’t want to use them as a vegetable, you can freeze them and use them to make stock. For example, celery that has gone soft can be used for stock instead of throwing it out. Don’t make stock from rotten vegetables, as it will taste rotten.
Follow the preparation instructions for Classic Vegetable Broth Above.
Equipment Needed To Make Stock
A stockpot is very useful because the making of a stock involves a lot of water. Having a good-sized stockpot means that you can make bigger batches, which is more efficient.
Check out these links with the tools you need to make Vegetable Stock.
I really like plastic containers for freezing stock, as plastic will not break if you drop it, and it is not as heavy. The ones below, by Rubbermaid, are leak-proof, dishwasher safe, and stackable. I love these containers for the freezer.
Check out other recipes from The Daily Basil Blog.