In an effort to eat better, and maybe stock up on some winter soups, I present to you this vegetable stock. It’s made in a crock pot, and it couldn’t be easier. I always keep a sealable baggie full of vegetable scraps in my freezer, and recently my brother, Dane, called me to ask how to make vegetable stock from a similar baggie of vegetables that he had in his freezer. This reminded me that my bag was pretty much full, from carrot peels, onion butts and leftover pieces of zucchini, broccoli, garlic and whatever else I happened to throw in there, so it was time for me to make stock, too. It really doesn’t matter what vegetables you have, as long as you can fill up a 1 gallon baggie of whatever it is. Just toss it all in the crock pot (no need to thaw it out), add a bay leaf and 8 to 10 cups of water, then let it simmer on low for 8-10 hours (or on high for 4-5 hours, but I prefer the flavors of a low, slow stock). The color and texture of your stock will vary depending on what you have in your crock pot. For example, I had a few leftover bits of purple carrot in my stock, so it was a lovely dark brown color. The longer you let your stock bubble away for, the darker it will be, so consider that when you make yours. You can certainly make this in a stock pot on the stove, if you like – just bring it to a simmer, cover and allow it to cook for 3 hours or so. I do think that the crock pot is the best way to go about it, though, and considering how easy and waste-free the method is, I don’t see why everyone wouldn’t try it! —CrepesofWrath
gallon sized Ziploc bag full of vegetable scraps
The best way to get the appropriate amount of vegetables for this is to keep a gallon sized bag in your freezer and fill it up with vegetable scraps until it's full. I had the butts of onions and zucchini, thick broccoli stalks, carrot peels and more in my bad. Waste not!
There's no need to thaw out your vegetables before making this stock. Simply throw your frozen vegetables in your crock pot, add your water to the brim, add in the bay leaf, and turn it on. You can let the crock pot go for 8-10 hours on low or 4-5 hours on high (I recommend low).
When you're ready, remove the solids from the stock using a slotted spoon, then strain through a mesh sieve to get everything out of the liquid. Use within 1 week or freeze for up to 6 months. You can add salt, pepper and other seasonings to the stock if you like (my favorite is curry powder, cayenne and a little garlic salt), but I prefer to use the stock in soups and whatnot as it is, seasoning after I've decided what I want to use it for.