As part of HuffPost’s “Reclaim” project, HuffPost Taste will focus the entire month of July on simple ways you can reduce food waste in your own home.
On our journey to stop wasting so much damn food, we’ve learned that just about every kitchen scrap that comes across our countertops can be turned into something else. Potato peels can be baked into chips. Parmesan rinds can be broiled and eaten. Pickle juice can be mixed into a great cocktail.
We understand that not everyone has the time to repurpose all their scraps, but if you do nothing else at least turn them into stock.
Making stock is the most hands off, minimal-effort thing you can do. All you need is a big zipper bag in the freezer to stash the scraps as you acquire them. And once the bag is full ― about four cups of scraps full ― put the contents in a big soup pot, cover with water and simmer until a flavorful stock is made.
A few of things you need to know before you get started:
1. Some veggie scraps are better than others for making stock. Onion ends, carrot peels and celery tops are the best. Leeks, scallions, garlic, corn cobs, lettuce and potatoes are all good additions. The only veggies you really want to keep out of your stock are the cruciferous ones. We’re talking cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower. Their flavor is just too intense.
2. You’ll want to fill the pot with about an inch of water above the vegetables. Just enough water to be able to easily stir the pot is another way to measure it.
3. Bring the pot of scraps to a boil before lowering the heat to a simmer.
4. Stock takes about an hour, generally, but you’ll want to taste as you go. And remember, this stock is not seasoned, so it will be more flavorful once salted (which you should only do when using the stock in a recipe).
5. Strain the stock with a cheesecloth-lined sieve before you store it to get a clean, clear stock.
Stock will stay good in your fridge for about three days, and will keep in the freezer for three months. If you’re going to freeze it, consider freezing it in ice cube trays for individual-sized portions. Then remember to use it in everything. Nothing can elevate your home cooking like the flavor of homemade stock can ― and it’s all thanks to using up vegetable scraps.
Language in the petition embedded in this entry has been updated to reflect Walmart’s recent efforts to sell some “ugly” produce in the U.S.