Zero Waste Tip: Make Your Own Stock

How to make your own stock or broth | Zero Waste Chicago

If you have a composting plan in place for Thanksgiving next week, you're pretty much our hero. Lately, though, we've been thinking a lot about what happens to our food scraps before they even go in the compost. A recent article noted that sometimes folks who compost end up wasting more food than those who don't, because they feel less guilty about it. (Sound familiar? It does to us, too).

This Thanksgiving, when the kitchen is full of veggie scraps and turkey bones, consider turning them into stock and broth that you can use for the Thanksgiving meal, the day after, or even stick in the freezer to keep on hand.

At its simplest, you can make vegetable broth by simmering (washed) vegetable scraps like carrot tops, celery leaves, onion pieces, parsley stems, and other vegetal odds and ends in a large stockpot full of water for about forty-five minutes. Be careful not to let veggie-stock stock simmer for too long, as it can turn bitter. Turkey broth is made much the same way, but with turkey bones added and simmered for a longer time (Martha Stewart recommends simmering turkey stock for about 2 hours, but we know some folks who let it simmer even longer to catch all the flavor). For both vegetable and turkey broth, you then strain the pieces out and are left with a thick, flavorful liquid.

You can choose to use your broth that day, store it in the fridge to use in a few days, or freeze it for later. If you freeze it in a mason jar or other glass container, be sure to leave an inch or so of space at the top to accommodate the liquid expanding when it freezes.

You can certainly get more scientific about your stock or broth - the Internet abounds with recipes for vegetable, chicken, turkey stock, and more. But at its simplest, it all starts with throwing scraps in a pot and lighting a burner. And then and only then can the scraps feed the compost bin. :)

CeliaZero Waste Tip