Tasty stock from scraps

Make the tastiest stock from stuff you would normally throw in the trash!

Recently I started watching the show ‘Scraps’ in which chef Joel Gamoran makes tasty dishes from ingredients that would usually end up in the trash. I really love the idea and now spend more time thinking how to use and re-use ingredients and trimmings. One of the dishes mentioned on the show was pesto made from carrot tops – that green stuff at the top. It actually tasted really good and I’ll definitely make that again.

Then by chance I saw a video on BuzzFeed that left quite an impression on me: You can make vegetable stock from your kitchen scraps! It’s really easy:

  1. Grab a resealable plastic bag and label it ‘Scraps”
  2. Place your vegetable trimmings in it and place the bag in the freezer
  3. Every time you have vegetable trimmings, fetch your bag from the freezer, add trimmings, reseal and place in the freezer again
  4. Keep going for up to 6 months or until your bag is full
  5. Place frozen scraps in a big pot, add water until just covered
  6. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 hour, then strain
  7. Let stock cool and either refrigerate (4 days) or freeze in ice-cube tray (3 months)
Two weeks worth of frozen scraps in a bag

The video mentions potato skins as re-usable scrap. I would imagine that this can result in a bitter taste and you end up with a lot of dirt in your stock if you did not wash your potatoes. So what scraps did I rescue for my first stock?

For my first scrap stock I saved the following scraps:
  • Red and white onion ends and skins
  • Green onion and leek ends as well as tips
  • Garlic ends and skins
  • Parsley and basil stems
  • Green been trimmings
  • Mushroom stems
  • Carrot tops and skins
  • Chicken and lamb bones
Just add enough water to cover your scraps and cook the heck (and flavour) out of them

The stock had a really dark and rich brown color, which is probably primarily caused by the onion skins. So if you would like a lighter stock, you might want to skip these. Then I also used bones from chicken wings and lamb cutlets – yes, the bones that remained on the plate after dinner. I can understand why people would want to toss these, but I thought if I give this scrap stock a try I might go all the way. From a food sanitary standpoint, you cook the stock for an hour which would kill bacteria anyway. So you can see these as ‘optional’.

“Garbage” on the left turned into a rich and complex stock on the right

So how did it taste? The stock has quite a mellow but rich and complex taste. You can taste that it’s extracted and concentrated flavor from all kinds of different vegetables. If you have every made vegetable stock from scratch, you’ll definitely see the resemblance. The bones gave a bit of fat and richness to the stock. Remember that I did not add any salt to the stock yet, so you are only left with the taste of your vegetables and bones.

Frozen stock cubes made from scraps! Ready to end up in soups, gravy or wherever!

To me this scrap stock was a full success! I’ll never just throw out my veggie trimmings again but save them in the freezer until further use. I was really surprised how quickly the freezer bag was filled and how much trimmings I throw away every week. It took only 2 weeks until I could not fit anything in there anymore.

So get going and make your own scrap stock!

Have you ever tried making stock from trimmings yourself? Let us know which scraps you used in the comments below!

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