General ramblings

Veg stock fail

January 6, 2015

In a brief aside to #mmaw2015 posts, I tried to make my own frugal veg stock, with minimal success.
Veg stock 2
I was interviewed towards the end of last year, for a piece in the Guardian all about food waste (I know, get me..!)
I promptly forgot all about it, until I saw the finished article, and saw that my blogging buddy Mommy Emu had been interviewed for the same piece.
This is the article here:

Screen Shot 2015-01-05 at 21.59.29
Emma (aka Mommy Emu) gives some great advice about saving up all her veg peelings in the freezer and then using the slow cooker to make them into veg stock.
I LOVE the sound of this, and determined to give it a go.

So for several weeks, I saved up all my onion peelings, carrot ends, and cabbage leaves, into 2 large bags in the freezer, and then decided as the New Year approached that the time had come to make myself some veg stock.
So I dumped the frozen veg peelings in the slow cooker, poured over a kettle full of boiling water, set it to LOW and left it to do it’s thing.
Veg stock1

It did it’s thing, and soon started to smell pleasingly vegetable-y, but it was a little on the ‘dark side’:
Veg stock3

I left it bubbling away for a good 6-8hrs, and then strained it into my large stock pot:

Veg stock4

I think I ended up with about 2-2.5 litres of stock and my plan was to make several batches of soup and freeze them ready for lunches when time was short.
BUT, there were some issues….
-the stock is quite dark, so makes any soup also quite dark. My leek and potato didn’t look very much like leek and potato.
-and the stock is quite strong tasting. Of veg, and cabbage, with an undertone of parsnip. Which is great. If you like your leek and potato soup to taste of veg, and cabbage, and parsnip 🙁

I’m gutted!
I wanted to do a really smug post about how awesome it is to make your own veg stock and how I was going to save myself hundreds (?!) of pounds a year by making my own.
I’m not sure if it’s because of the time of the year, and the fact that our veg boxes are quite cabbage and winter veg heavy, leading to an excessively cabbage-y stock? And I will admit that the rogue red cabbage leaf or two probably didn’t help with the dark colour….

So should I persevere and try again?
Do any of you make your own veg stock like this? And if so, do you do any better than me?! And if you do, please tell me your secret!!

 

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  • Reply Slow Cooker Veg Stock-an update (or How to Make Zero Waste Slow Cooker Veg Stock!) | My Make Do and Mend Year January 8, 2015 at 7:05 am

    […] blogged earlier on in the week about how disappointed I was with my attempt at homemade veg stock from frozen peelings. I got lots of fabulous advice from everyone, so here is an update on how to make it/use it […]

  • Reply The Zero-Waste Chef January 8, 2015 at 1:08 am

    Yes, you should persevere! I make my veggie stock this way and bone broth too (I freeze bones until I have enough for stock), but I simmer it in a pot on the stove for about an hour. If you let it go too long, it can taste bitter.

    • Reply Jen January 8, 2015 at 11:22 am

      Great tip-thankyou!

  • Reply sandyfaithking January 6, 2015 at 11:24 am

    A little bit of herbamare goes a long way in homemade stock. Maybe a little pepper or a few herbs.

    • Reply Jen January 6, 2015 at 9:44 pm

      Goo idea-thankyou!

  • Reply Judith January 6, 2015 at 11:11 am

    As Shirley Conran once said life is too short to stuff a mushroom! I firmly believe vegetable peelings produce more good as compost, start making a trench for your runner beans now! Line a trench with newspaper fill it with veg peelings making a nice pattern layer of paper earth and peelings cover it up in a couple of months then plant your beans there later in the year and you will reap the benefit. Stock powder is much better and cheaper in terms of fuel used to produce it and in use of resources to make it overall. Peelings make little goodness overall. The only real way to save money on stock is to use it instantly use vegetable water in a soup that you are making at the same time.enjoy your cooking!

    • Reply sandyfaithking January 6, 2015 at 11:23 am

      Yes, I do that when we have gravy or a sauce. I boil or steam the veg and then use the vegetable water instead of boiling the kettle.

      • Reply Jen January 6, 2015 at 9:44 pm

        Good tip-thaknyou!

    • Reply Jen January 6, 2015 at 9:43 pm

      Thanks Judith!
      We have solar panels, so my hope is that if I make the stock on a sunny day, then we will be generating enough electricity to power the slow cooker…!
      Great tips for the compost though, thankyou!

  • Reply R January 6, 2015 at 11:10 am

    I must admit, I buy a huge tube of vegetable bouillon (stock powder) and use a teaspoon or two of that whenever I need veg stock. I have a slow cooker that I love but I do find that some recipies don’t taste as nice in it as they do when cooked conventionally.

    • Reply Jen January 6, 2015 at 9:43 pm

      That is what I use at the mo. Will try again with the homemade version though!

  • Reply Juhli January 6, 2015 at 9:23 am

    Sorry it didn’t turn out but try again and use lots of different vegetable minus the cabbage. I don’t include cabbage, broccoli or cauliflower as the taste is less than desirable for most soups. Everything else is fair game. Ends of onions and squash, carrot peels, potato peels, etc.

    • Reply Jen January 6, 2015 at 9:42 pm

      Super-thankyou!

  • Reply Loven Sunshine January 6, 2015 at 9:20 am

    One tip I usually follow is that brassicas (cabbage, broccoli, cauli, kale) can be responsible for a very strong tasting stock and should not be put in for as long as the other veg. We usually pop ours in at the end, just long enough to soften it (and get the ‘goodness’ out as my mum always says). Having said that, we are usually making bone stock so the principle flavour for us is meaty rather than veggy. Hope this helps anyway!

    • Reply Jen January 6, 2015 at 9:42 pm

      Fabbo-thankyou!

  • Reply Zoe @ecothrifty January 6, 2015 at 8:56 am

    I don’t have a slow cooker so haven’t tried this. I would really like to though! I keep thinking about getting a wonderbag. What do you think is better – slow cooker or wonderbag?

    • Reply Jen January 6, 2015 at 9:42 pm

      If I’m totally honest Zoe, I would go slow cooker. I love the wonderbag, and the projects they run to help out families in developing nations, but I use my slow cooker much more. Maybe I just need to get into the wonderbag groove…

      • Reply Zoe @ecothrifty January 7, 2015 at 9:34 am

        Thanks for letting me know – is there a particular reason you use the slow cooker more?

        • Reply Jen January 8, 2015 at 11:20 am

          I just find it easier to chuck it all in in the morning, and leave it to do it’s thing. To cook with the Wonderbag, you have to cook it on the hob for a good half hour first to get it hot enough, and then I think I may as well just serve it up!

  • Reply Maryom January 6, 2015 at 7:54 am

    I don’t actually make my own veg stock, just save the water that veg were cooked in – I know this isn’t using up the peelings but they go in the compost bin anyway, and I save on gas needed to boil up the stock.

    • Reply Jen January 6, 2015 at 9:41 pm

      That was the beauty of the slow cooker Mary-I did it on a sunny day and we have solar panels, so I’m hoping that even with the weak winter sun we were generating enough electricity for the slow cooker!

      • Reply Maryom January 7, 2015 at 9:19 am

        I’m jealous of your solar panels! We tried to get them but were told our roof points the wrong way 🙁

        • Reply Jen January 8, 2015 at 11:19 am

          Oh no, what a shame. We love ours!

  • Reply Rae January 6, 2015 at 7:52 am

    I have to admit that I have never tried to make veg stock, even though I evangelise about homemade chicken stock. I hereby promise that I shall have a go.

    • Reply Jen January 6, 2015 at 9:40 pm

      Yay! Make sure you read Mommy Emu’s comment, or wait until I’ve published the updated post with how to do it better!

  • Reply mommyemu January 6, 2015 at 7:43 am

    You have to use a large mix of vegtables and some apple peelings in with the vegtable peelings. Pour water over the tip so all the vegetables are covered. Leave like you did. The colour is dark especially if you use red onion skin or red cabbage. I then pour my strain my liquid into glass jars (I isrally gey 3 / 4 jars) and pop them in the freezer. Your end result if vegtable stock is equivalent of a box of vegtable stock cubes. So if you use a lot in one go it will be a very strong. When I use mine one jar will do 2 or 3 soups and a casserole. I hope this helps in your quest to make your own vegtable stock. One thing you have to remember on taste is that you are useing pure vegtable stock like when you make chicken stick that contains nothing else apart from vegtables so the vegtable stock is highly concentrated.

    • Reply Jen January 6, 2015 at 9:40 pm

      Awesome-thankyou so much! I knew I must be doing something wrong! I will do an update post and correct my errors 🙂
      Thanks Emma-it’s such a fab idea!

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