Homemade Vegetable Stock

So I should start by letting you know that I’m a produce addict. Between our weekly CSA box, Farmer’s market, and local co-op, we probably spend more money monthly on organic vegetables than we do on all our utility bills combined. This means that we end up with a garbage full of scraps almost every week. The “right” thing to do would be to start composting but for many [including us] this does not seem like an option. For 1, we rent so the idea of starting a compost for 9 months and then leaving the remains for the next tenant to deal with is just rude (could you imagine having to deal with a compost pile if you didn’t know what you were doing?). And secondly, we don’t have a proper place for it. Our backyard is fenced in but that is Tuko//Taco//Teekee territory and even if we got a bin for it, our little puppy is a nosy creature and would find ways to munch down on composting parts (which would not be the healthiest for the little guy).

Anyhow, I feel bad about not being able to compost. The amount of scraps we create is discouraging and I do believe that there is a lot of nutrition tossed away with those onion ends, zucchini peels, and herbs that have sat out for just too long. Luckily, I discovered that you can use those scraps to make vegetable broth. It’s quite simple: you just throw your scraps into a zip lock bag in the freezer and whip up some broth when it’s full. This is a truly great time to do this with soup season approaching!

A few reasons why we think you should make your own broth:

1. It’s a way to use up all those vegetable scraps and not waste those ‘on-the-verge’ of spoiling vegetables (just throw them in the freezer when they are too far gone to eat raw but not yet moldy)

2. You know exactly what is in your broth and don’t have to worry about preservatives or other chemicals sneaking into your food

3. It makes using vegetable broth so easy! You don’t have to worry about using up only half a can of because you have a stock pile in the freezer that allows you to only take out what you need

4. The broth will stay good in the freezer for several months (I’ve read different things about the exactly length of time but I’ve heard anywhere between 3 and 5 months. If you are unsure if it’s still good, use your nose! It’s the best judge)

Well, there ya go. Are you convinced yet? I mean, come on! I know you are planning to make loads of soup in the next couple of months…why not have fresh vegetable stock easily accessible for you? I’ve done a lot of research on what you can/can’t freeze and everyone seems to have a different opinion so here is a general list that I use (feel free to just google it if there is a specific vegetable that you aren’t sure about):

  • Onion//leeks//scallions (red will dye your broth a bit pink which I don’t mind but if you do then just omit)
  • Peppers
  • eggplant
  • root vegetables (beets will also dye the broth purple – again, omit if you aren’t into that)
  • mushrooms
  • herbs (basil, sage, rosemary, cilantro, etc) – this includes the stems!
  • garlic
  • broccoli
  • asparagus
  • fennel
  • celery

Got it? Easy. Now just start a small stash in your freezer and make some broth when you’ve accumulated around 4 cups. It literally takes the same amount of time it would take to boil some dried beans (you DO make your chickpeas//black beans from dried, don’t you? Maybe I should do a post on that topic as well soon). I usually prep my food for the week every Sunday afternoon and made the broth along side cooking some black beans. So easy and only takes about an hour.

PS- I should note that you don’t need to use frozen vegetables by any means! If you just want to make some broth (not out of leftover scraps), just pick up 4 cups worth of organic produce at your local co-op and follow the same directions below.

Homemade Vegetable Broth

  • 4-5 cups of vegetable scraps (see list above), chopped
  • Flavoring (bay leaf, a few peppercorns, herbs, etc), optional
  • garlic clove, optional
  • Tomato chunks or 1 Tablespoon tomato paste, optional



Place all ingredients in a large pot and cover with cold water (just enough so all the veggies are covered). Bring water to a boil and let simmer for an hour (don’t let it simmer for much more or it starts to lose flavor.

Strain the vegetable mixture and discard the scraps. Let cool completely and either use right away or freeze/refrigerate in quantities that will suit you best (I froze them in ice trays and just made note that 6 broth cubes = half a cup).

Store in fridge for up to 5 days and in freezer for up to 3 months.

Use in all your favorite soups, stews, curries, and risotto including Curried Butternut Squash Soup, Fall Curry, and French Onion Soup.



  • Megan
    October 10, 2012

    Brilliant! I love this! Between my roommate and I we rip through vegetables, what a brilliant idea! The bag will start this week, thanks!

    • shellywest
      October 11, 2012

      Glad that I inspired you! I promise you will not be disappointed…this stuff is so easy to make and taste so much fresher!

  • onesmallvegan
    October 10, 2012

    I’ve been doing this exact same thing for about a year now, and haven’t bought vegetable broth since! Love being able to use all those bits that would otherwise get thrown away! I always freeze my broth in a couple mason jars and the rest in as ice cubes.

    • shellywest
      October 11, 2012

      Yay! Glad to hear that you are already on board! Doesn’t it taste so much more flavorful than the store bought stuff too??

      • onesmallvegan
        October 11, 2012


  • figsinmybelly
    October 11, 2012

    I love this! Also, in terms of composting, maybe your farmer’s market does a compost drop-off? I live in NYC, and I save my food scraps in empty yogurt containers and then drop them off in the bins at the farmer’s market every Sunday…

    • shellywest
      October 11, 2012

      Oh my goodness! I never even thought about that but I bet you are right. I am definitely going to look into this! Thank you sooo much for the suggestion!

  • Jorie
    October 12, 2012

    This is so smart. I had no idea making your own vegetable broth would be so easy. Plus, my basil always goes bad before I have a chance to use it. Starting my freezer bag ASAP. Thank you!

  • FledglingFoodie
    October 13, 2012

    Love the idea of freezing in ice cub trays. My problem is always that I end up chipping away at a big block of frozen stock and it isn’t worth the effort!

    • FledglingFoodie
      October 13, 2012

      Sorry, that’s ice cube… I should know better than to try to type comments on my phone!

  • Shelley
    October 16, 2012

    what about greens like swiss chard/kale? or even just their stalks/stems perhaps? and how do you feel about freezing shallots? I read somewhere that they might get mushy. thanks! already started my bag this weekend and it’s looking awesome!

    • shellywest
      October 17, 2012

      the stalks for sure! I’m not sure about the leafy part because they might be so thin that they get freezer burnt but it’s worth trying! If they look gross by the time you pull them out then I say just chuck them (and if not, throw it in the pot!).

      Hope that helps!

      • Lindsay Demeter
        January 30, 2013

        I cook and freeze kale all the time. Works wonderfully, so I’d imagine it would work for this as well.

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  • OrganiCat
    October 23, 2012

    Rock on, shellywest! I do the same thing. I had to recently remind myself of this delicious habit, because our rabbit, Dude, passed away on the 10th. He always got first pick of the scraps. Now, I’ve got more scraps to freeze, just for us!

    Keep on cookin’!

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  • Emily
    November 26, 2012

    I just made this for the first time, and it was so easy! I was growing tired of buying the same stock from the store near us, mainly because the flavor wasn’t anything to write home about. This was great, and I feel really good about using all those scraps I would’ve otherwise tossed. I plan on telling everyone i know that likes to cook to try this instead of purchasing that pre made stuff. Thanks so much!!

    • Shellywest
      November 27, 2012

      Yay! I love all the positive feedback here! I am so glad that are enjoy making and eating this broth as much as me. Isn’t it amazing as simple it is to make?

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  • Kellie
    March 28, 2013

    THIS is exactly what I need. Thank you!

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      Glad to hear it! I use this “recipe” in my kitchen more than anything else. It’s always great to have frozen stock on hand!

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