Making vegetable stock from scraps

Making vegetable stock from scraps is a part of our waste not philosophy; so many people on the industrial diet are deficient in micronutrients. In fact nearly two billion souls are suffering from malnutrition; half of them are starving and the rest under the hammer from our modern supermarket food.

The only super part is convenience and we pay a terrible price for it; by losing our souls and wellbeing.

But we absolutely refuse to take perfectly good vegetables, extract the nutrients and toss the fibrous fraction. Feeding the friendly flora in the colon with the undigested carbs in our food is an essential part of supporting the immune system[3].

Making vegetable stock from scraps

The only exception is when vegetables in the garden get old and woody, or you genuinely have a glut that you can't give away to hungry people, neighbours or friends; then you might consider tossing the fibrous remains.

Today we have a tomato that has passed its best, the end of a carrot and some old broad beans; not seen are the end of an onion and the inner bulb of the garlic where the cloves are too small to be worth peeling.

Then there are some stalks of cauliflower and broccoli; and a sprig of thyme. A potato that has passed its best would often go into making vegetable stock from scraps.

Tradition

Tradition has it that when making vegetable stock you should have onion, carrots and celery roughly in equal quantities. That's wonderful for the pros but for the plebs any leftovers can be used. We are simply aiming to add yet more nutrients to enrich our meals rather that tossing them into the compost bin.

I am reluctant to go out and buy celery when I have a glut of broccoli in the garden; for the professional cook it's another matter.

There are literally thousands of phytonutrients, most completely unknown and certainly not researched, that would be beneficial to our wellbeing. Tracking each and every one of them obviously is impossible; we'd become neurotic. By making vegetable stock from scraps we are simply adding yet more of these undiscovered wholesome compounds.

Get into the habit of tossing all your scraps into a bag and keeping them in the fridge. At least every few days consider making a vegetable stock from scraps. There are no hard and fast rules about the ingredients in our home.

Ingredients

  • Ends of an onion
  • Old bits of carrots and potatoes
  • Celery leaves and perhaps stalks
  • Woody crucifer stalks; broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower
  • Spinach and kale stalks
  • Tomato, beans and radishes
  • Herbs such as thyme and marjoram
  • Even a couple chicken bones

Go for it

  1. Very roughly chop all your ingredients and toss them into a small pot.
  2. Add a touch of salt.
  3. Cover with boiling water.
  4. Simmer for half an hour or so; longer if you feel inclined.
  5. Strain through a colander and either use immediately or cool and then freeze in small containers.

I'm not terribly disciplined about labelling things in the freezer so whenever possible I would immediately use my vegetable stock to enrich a soup or stew that is in the making. It does wonders for example for Eggs Florentine which can become a little dull.

Eggs Florentine in pan with added vegetable stock from scraps.

Making vegetable stock from scraps

When making vegetable stock from scraps you really can use anything that comes to hand, or is growing in the garden. Leaves of leeks, parsley stalks and peppers would all come into consideration.

After straining off the fibrous part of the scraps that I was going to toss in any case, I would now give them to the worm farms. Cooked material really shouldn't go into the compost heaps.

Worms in worm farm

The wonder of a worm farm is that it's like a compost heap on steroids; in just six weeks it will turn all your kitchen waste including these cooked vegetable scraps into beautiful humus for the garden.

Professionals

There are some things only a professional can do; like brain surgery or designing a bridge to cross a highway. For the rest you can make a pretty good vegetable stock from scraps that might raise the eyebrow of a Cordon Bleu cook but will certainly improve the flavour and nutrition of your soups and stews. 

Really you don't need to chop all the bits to the same size but it is a good idea to add the softer herbs near the end of the process. If making larger quantities consider using a pressure cooker.

This afternoon I am making a chicken curry that calls for a cup of water; far better is making vegetable stock from scraps.

Bouquet Garni

Of course making vegetable stock from scraps is really just a bouquet garni; a bundle of fresh herbs tied together and then added to soups and stews[1]. We just like to use up all our bits and bobs; there's much good nutrition that we once tossed to the garbage.

Did you know for example that huge numbers of people enjoying typical industrial food are getting less than half the amount of folate needed[2]; it's required in hundreds of biochemical reactions in the body. It is little wonder we are so sickly. Insufficient magnesium, too little calcium and not nearly enough lutein is absolutely typical of those in Western society. The ramifications are simply unimaginable. 

We follow the Blue Zone philosophy. Spend your days nurturing and preparing your own food, or many times the hours consulting doctors and pharmacists. Would you too not like to be full of energy and joy at ninety sipping tea under those trees you once planted and watching the great-grandchildren growing up?

Blue Zone longevity if for all who will take the time to live mindfully and actively; beware the couch and the computer stool.

Hypertension

It's interesting that there is twice as much nitrate in the stalks of vegetables such as spinach and kale; they used to get tossed. It's the compound that helps our blood vessels to relax and lower blood pressure. Now they go into making vegetable stalks from scraps.

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