We eat a lot of vegetables – and don’t have a compost bin – so that means we have a ton of vegetable “trash” (which I have paid however much per lb at the grocery for).
For years, one thing that we have done is keep a “broth bag” in the freezer. Many or most vegetable scraps go in here: onion peels, parsley stems, carrot peelings, rosemary stems, fennel fronds, etc. and animal products such as eggshells, chicken/beef/lamb/ham bones can also be added. I currently use two 1-gallon zipper bags (freezer burn is not a concern) and when those get full, everything gets thrown in a large pot, water poured on top, a couple bay leaves and a shake of peppercorns added and it simmers for hours. I definitely recommend doing this on a chilly day because it definitely warms and steams up the house – although it is a delicious smell!
There are some veggies I don’t recommend – cabbage cores or leaves, broccoli, brussel sprouts, eggplant or herbs that might not fit with the other flavors you have included like cilantro.
After the stock has simmered enough, we let it cool a bit and strain it through our colander into a container. Usually I just put it in the fridge and we use it in all kinds of dishes for a little extra pizazz or for soups French Onion Soup is a personal favorite). You can, however, freeze it – either in a container (being sure to leave a little room for it to expand) or ice cube trays for easy measuring.
Summary of benefits:
- Save money by maximizing use of your groceries
- Save waste by using the scraps to the fullest before disposing (if you do all-veggie broth, you can definitely put the post-stock slurry in the compost heap if you have one!)
- Bonus food by making broth from “trash”
- If it’s cold, you can consider this some extra heating and humidity