Ask EFNEP: Vegetable Stock

— By Alice Cantrell, EFNEP Community Education Assistant – Somerset County, ME

Making your own stock to use in cooking is a great habit to get into. Not only will you be reducing food waste but also creating a healthy base that is widely versatile for many recipes. You can avoid throwing away your onion skins, carrot tops, potato peels, etc. by turning them into vegetable stock. Curious about the difference between vegetable stock and vegetable broth? There is no difference between the two, however, when considering meat based broths or stocks, stock is typically made with bones whereas broth is made with meat/flesh. It takes just a few minutes to put your produce scraps in a freezer bag and save them until you have enough to make stock (about 4 cups). I like to make vegetable stock but, you can also save chicken bones for a chicken stock or beef bones for a beef stock. Have fun making different variations, but you can start with the Vegetable Stock recipe on our website, and remember a recipe is a starting point so you can change it to find the perfect ratio of ingredients to suit you and your family’s tastes and preferences. I also enjoy adding mushrooms and extra garlic to my stock for a more robust taste. Red onion skins and purple cabbage stalks will also give your stock a rich color. Feel free to use any savory herbs, spices, or vegetables that you wish to use as well. Vegetable stock can be very versatile!

Vegetables in a strainer. Vegetable stock cooking on a stove. Vegetable stock in jars

Food Safety

  • Wash your hands with warm soapy water prior to handling ingredients.
  • Use freezer safe bags.
  • Refrigerate vegetable stock for 3-4 days, and freeze (for best quality) for 2-3 months.
  • Label and date your stock. I use masking tape to label jar lids.

Vegetable stock in cans.

Once you have your stock, it is time to use it in recipes! Try making your own soup with our handy Make Your Own Soup guide. I also like to add stock to different sauces such as tomato and white sauce for extra flavor and nutrition. Using a well-flavored stock also means you won’t need to add extra salt to a recipe if you are also using a more condensed stock. Lastly, remember to have fun and make the most of your groceries!