Slow Cooker Vegetable Stock

April 1, 2009

Slow Cooker Vegetable Stock

Lorraine Glazar, Tucson CSA

I find it interesting that suddenly frugality is “in”. For me, it was never “out”. One of the best frugal and delicious moves is to make homemade vegetable stock. I’ve never found a canned or boxed vegetable broth I like, and since it is so easy to make my own, I don’t have to. Using a slow cooker conserves energy, and the idea can be adapted to stove top or pressure cooker.

Clean vegetable trimmings: Root ends of onion, herb stems, green tops from I’itoi onions, tails and tips from carrots, tomato cores, turnips, radishes, celery tops and roots, fennel cores, skins peeled off of ginger roots, etc.
2 quarts good-tasting water
Bay leaf
Peppercorns
Dried chili (optional)

Save your clean vegetable trimmings in the freezer until a gallon sized bag is at least half full. Place these trimmings in your slow cooker and cover with 2 quarts water. Add a bay leaf and a dozen whole peppercorns. Cook on slow for 4 to 8 hours.

Allow to cool, and strain liquid into sturdy jars.

Tips for success:

Use water you like to drink. Tap water is fine if it tastes good to you, otherwise use filtered. Subtle vegetable flavor won’t overcome chlorine or heavy mineralization.

Do not salt. You will salt the stock when you deploy it in cooking.

Save strong flavored vegetables (members of the cabbage family, artichoke peelings, etc) separately and make a batch with them for use in like-tasting soups. Be sure to taste the stock before you label it in case there are any strong flavors (broccoli stems, etc.) you didn’t notice when the mix went in.

Potato peels, winter squash trimmings, etc. make a wonderful cloudy broth. It’s perfect for chowders or other thick chunky soups; keep it separate from stock you want to look clear.

Compost the solid vegetables after you have strained off the stock. If planning to freeze the stock leave 1 ½ inches “headroom” in the top of the jar.

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