Save your veggie trimmings as you cook and stash them in the freezer - you can transform these goodies into your own homemade slow cooker veggie stock!
I've been saving bits of the veggies that I've been using over the last few months in a bag in the freezer (aptly dubbed "Stock Bits!") so that I could cut down on waste and also make something tasty out of food scraps.
The bag has been bursting at the seams for quite some time now, so I finally got out the slow cooker and dug the bag out of the freezer.
My bag contained a lot of veggie bits, including onion tips and tops (I didn't save the rest of the peels with them, because I use so many onions in the kitchen that it would basically just be onion stock - ha!), a few bell pepper stems and cores, some kale stems, carrot ends and peels, a few pieces of tomato stem (technically a fruit, but I thought it would work here), celery leaves and stems, shallot tips and tops, and some zucchini ends.
This process is super simple - I just filled my slow cooker with the contents of the bag (plus a little bit more that I had left from the Raw Carrot Avocado Soup that I made earlier today), filled it with water (it took around 10 cups to fill my slow cooker up to about 2 inches under the top), added a little bit of seasoning (I chose 2 dried bay leaves, 6 black peppercorns, ½ teaspoon mustard seeds and ½ teaspoon kosher salt). I set it on low and let it cook for 5 hours.
*Update 10.8.13 - I've made this a few times since, and have chosen to leave the seasoning OUT, as it can be adjusted to your taste later when you go to cook with it. I've found that this works better.
When it was done, I was left with a beautiful, amber colored stock. I strained out the solids and poured the stock into some containers, let it cool down, and popped it into the freezer.
Once they're completely frozen, I'll put the slabs of stock into a freezer bag for later use. It's so nice to have this on hand, and it really was pretty low maintenance! Plus, I didn't have to have a stock pot on the stovetop all day, heating up my kitchen.
Just a note: I found a good article over on The Kitchn about stock vs. broth. What I've made here is very lightly seasoned, so technically, it may be broth... but it's definitely not seasoned enough to be something you'd want to eat without some adjustments. So... I'm going to stick with calling it stock.