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I originally shared my guide to making homemade vegetable stock last spring, which walks through some different approaches to ingredients and techniques. There are lots of ways to make stock to your personal liking, so I hope you’re doing it and enjoying it as much as I do!

Now that I’m in the habit of making my own stock, I use a lot more. Within the last month, I went through about 6 quarts in various recipes including balsamic marinated beets, minestrone soup, fennel lentil & sausage, and quinoa.

Sidebar: If you follow the instructions on your bag of quinoa, don’t. They will tell you to use the same ratio of liquid to grain as you would with rice, 2:1. This makes a mushy mess. Try reducing the liquid by a third to a half cup, per cup of grain. I promise you’ll be much happier with the result. I make a pot of quinoa almost every week and use it throughout to sprinkle on salads, or a substitute for rice in Mexican and Asian dishes, or add to breakfast scrambles. Because it’s a little drier this way, it absorbs the flavors of whatever it’s with. And because I make it with stock instead of water, it contributes more complexity to the flavor as well.

What took homemade vegetable stock from an occasional thing to a regular habit for me was freezing vegetable scraps. And I’m not super fancy about it either. I just use big freezer bags. Whenever I’m cooking I get the bag out and add more scraps. They accumulate for a couple weeks and then I make a pot of stock.

As a result, there’s much less waste coming out of our kitchen. If I know something is going to spoil before I can use it – like if we’re leaving town for the weekend – I just add it to the scrap bag. I don’t waste my time with the tiny inner cloves of garlic, throw away the bottom half of every fresh herb bunch, or feel guilty about not using mushroom stems in recipes. All that stuff gets frozen and turned into delicious stock. Then composted.

But the stock itself will spoil so…I freeze that too. Once cooled, I put it in my favorite extra-large ice cube trays, and then transfer the frozen cubes of stock into, you guessed it, another big freezer bag. I always have pre-measured stock ready to use. Super easy, thrifty, and waste conscious.

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