Debt Reduction, Everyday Living

Weird Frugal Thing: Vegetable Stock

**Editor’s note … I meant this post to be the first one discussing “weird frugal things.” Of course, life got in the way and I published the wrong one first. 🙂

I’ve been participating in a small group of writers lately – been working on my fiction, but more often than not, I come back from a Thursday night session invigorated having brought back something that I can use in my day-to-day life.

The other night, I was encouraging another writer to start a frugality blog … she’s a stay-at-home mother who makes her own salve, homeschools her son and is a homesteader. Another woman chimed in about how she thinks about writing a blog of various tidbits that she’s picked up over the years, but is daunted because she thinks that everyone already knows how to do something and that she has nothing new to add to the mix. But you know what? I don’t necessarily think that’s accurate … I’ve read scores of articles about minimalism, frugality and debt reduction and while the message is similar, I feel I take something different from every blogger that I encounter.

With those thoughts in mind, I’m starting a little section that I call “Weird Frugal Thing.” Chances are really good that what I’m doing is not weird, so I’m not disparaging anything that I do or that others have done in the name of frugality. But I also recognize the things that I do in the name of frugality might seem a little … quirky? Like keeping, washing and reusing plastic silverware. I have really nice spoons that my husband and I recieved as a wedding gift, but every once in awhile, I resort to using plastic spoons that I’ve acquired. Yeah – I could throw them away, but what’s the point? They still work.

For my inaugural “Weird Frugal Thing” post, I’m writing about what I do with my vegetable scraps.

I don’t know where I originally read this tidbit, but it’s something that has stuck with me for awhile now and has crept into a monthly routine: I save vegetable scraps and when I have enough, I make my own vegetable stock.

Vegetable scraps? We’re talking the peelings from potatoes, carrots, the ends of celery, the ends and skins from the onions that I chop, the wilty celery that looks like it’s going to perish in my vegetable drawer and those teeny, tiny little garlic cloves that want to outwit my chef’s knife. I also save the “juice” that I drain off of canned vegetables, freeze that and chuck it into the mix.

When I make soups or incorporate veggies into any of the dishes that I make at home, I round up the scraps and throw them into a freezer bag to freeze until I have enough to warrant making stock. Making stock usually coincides when I have other vegetables in my refrigerator that are about to go over into no man’s land.

The upside of this practice? “Free” stock. I use it in my lentil soup and when I’m cooking rice. It’s also a great way to cut down on kitchen waste. And after straining the stock and storing it, the vegetable scraps can be used one more time … in my compost bin.

One of the downsides? Since I never know what kind of vegetables I’m going to have on hand, my stock never turns out the same way twice. Sometimes I have a particularly good batch of stock, sometimes it leaves a little bit to be desired … and at times like that, I usually give it a little “oomph” by throwing in a boullion cube when I’m cooking.

Here are a couple of resources for making your own vegetable stock.

The Unintentional Housewife
Eating Rules
Hillbilly Housewife

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2 thoughts on “Weird Frugal Thing: Vegetable Stock

  1. The famous Joy Of Cooking cookbook gives directions for making vegetable stock. The best tip I got from it was to save yellow onion skins as they will add not just taste but beautiful color to stock.

  2. My favorite “cook” (my partner 🙂 made a vegetable consume (I don’t know how to special characters on here, but con-su-may the fancy way) out of all the vegetable scraps, and MAN was it good. He got the recipe from his workplace, where they do many fancy high-end dinners. This is a TRULY great way to use every part of your vegetables and make something that tastes really good!

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