Use Vegetable Peels to Make Vegetable Stock

Vegetable Peel Broth.  Check out my Video Below!

Vegetable Peel Broth. Check out my Video Below!

What do you do with the skins of your vegetables? You know. After you make that big salad or vegetable soup? Did you realize that they could have a second life before they are banished to the composter?

For years, I peeled carrots, chopped off the bottom of celery, and tore off garlic and onion skins. The skins would enviably end up in a bowl bound for the composter. Deep down inside, I knew these skins had another purpose. The skins are full of nutrients. Throwing in the composter just seemed like a waste.

Then one day it hit me. How about using them to make vegetable stock? The good part of using my “peels” is I could control the salt content of the broth.  Take a look at how much salt you are eating when you use canned or Tetra Pak stock. Shocking.

As I pondered this idea, I found very little guidance on the web as to which vegetables to use.  Nor could I find out if there is a magic ratio of certain vegetables to others. All I learned was do not use potato skins since it makes the stock taste too earthly. Honestly, I really didn’t understand what that meant.

The Sweet Beet suggested adding onion, celery, carrots, garlic clove, and additional spices to your “peels”.  Although her recipe sounds great, I tried the au natural method.

I Flunked My First Peel Base Soup Attempt.

My first attempt of making peel stock was a disaster. Once the peel soup idea started to percolate in my mind, I started saving the skins in a freezer bag. When the bag was full, it was time to make soup.

Everything but the kitchen sink when into the crock-pot. Carrots, celery, potato, onion, garlic bottoms and skins, mushrooms and even turnips. If a vegetable looked limp, it ended up in the crock-pot. Then I covered the skin disaster with water and let the brew cook for eight hours.

When I opened the lid, I was so excited. There I stood.   Beaming and patting myself on the back and admiring my creation.

Guess what? Boy was I delusional. One sniff of this brew could scare off any unwanted animal from my property.

I guess I should have listen to the “don’t put potato skins” in the pot advice.

However, this failed attempt didn’t deter me.

Second Attempt. Knowledge is Power.

So, I blew my first attempt. No lost. There is always another try. I began my squirrel- like habit of storing my peels in the freezer. In a short time, I had a bag full of potato free skins.

All the peels were thrown in the crock-pot. Even the limp carrots. Then I turned on the crock-pot on low, filled the pot up with water, and forgot about it for 24 hours! Oh man, was I on a roll. I burnt the vegetables! Check out my video below that gives you a peek at my concoction.

However, I was able to salvage the stock. It smelt worse with the burnt vegetables, but once I strained it the smell went away.

Finished Vegetable Peel Broth

Finished Vegetable Peel Broth

What did it taste like? For some unknown reason, the brew tasted like a mushroom broth. Strangely, I didn’t throw in any mushrooms. I stored the broth in old glass spaghetti sauce jars in the refrigerator. I estimated that a pot full of vegetable peels makes about 4 cups of broth.

What I Learned

For my third attempt, I have learnt by my mistakes.  Third time is the charm.  Right?

  • Only fill the pot up with 2/3rd vegetables and water
  • Don’t use earthy skins such as mushrooms or potato peels.
  • Only cook for 10 hours on low.

Join the Conversation:

  • Have you made vegetable peel broth?
  • If so, what type of peels do you use? Any particular ratio of certain vegetables to others?  Provide us with a link to your recipe.
  • Do you make vegetable stock in a crock-pot or on the stove?


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Comments

  1. 3

    Tamara says

    I just started doing this last month. I begin with a gallon-sized ziplock freezer bag which I’m reusing for the 3rd time now. I throw all my veggie scraps, including peels (but haven’t used potato peels…thanks for the warning!) into the bag. Everything from peels to trimmings, the typically “unusable” portions of veggies, stems of herbs, and beyond. My bag is usually filled with carrot peels, onion & garlic peels, bell pepper trimmings and insides, kale stems, zucchini ends, spinach about to go bad, celery ends and hearts, mushroom stems, tomato trimmings (if I have some that are getting wrinkly on the counter, I throw em in!) and so on!! Once the gallon bag is stuffed full in my freezer, I toss it into a large stock pot and fill with filtered water to the top, adding about 10 whole peppercorns, 5 whole cloves, a few sprigs of fresh parsley, and any other whole veggies that may be on their way out. One small beet and/or their greens gives a nice boost to the colour, too! I simmer mine at a low boil for a few hours or until the flavour is where I want it. I just made my second bag full of veggie stock yesterday and so far it’s been 2 for 2!!! Here’s what mine has yielded both attempts….Dinner for 4 of vegetable soup on day 1, with left overs for lunch the next day. Dinner on day 2 of another hearty soup using stock for base with tomatoes instead of water. Plus TWO 4-cup glass containers to the freezer for two more meals in the future! This was on par with my yield the first time as well, both times using a 7-8 quart pot. The first time I added my Himalayan salt to taste which worked just fine, but yesterday I refrained from salting in case I want to use the stock in another recipe. Either way….both times I’ve felt so good about making something AMAZING out of what would have filled my compost pile! My bag is currently in the freezer with scraps from making kids lunches today and I’m certainly hooked! Thanks for sharing your ideas and preventing me from using potato peels (in fact after reading your article I ran to the freezer and pulled out the peels of 3 potatoes I put in there today–whew!!!) Don’t give up….you will be so proud of your next batch! :)

      • 5

        Tamara says

        I usually toss in around 8-10 peppercorns for the large pot. Sometimes I slightly break them with the mortar & pestle. As for the beets, no…I really didn’t notice a difference other than enriching the colour somewhat. I just make sure everything I toss into my bag has been pre-washed/scrubbed to remove dirt which could possibly add too much earthiness to the mix.

  2. 6

    says

    Brilliant tip about using the vegetable skins for stock! We make a lot of homemade soups so this tip is perfect for us. It takes so much energy to produce food that we hate to waste any part of it. We have a Go Green section on our site that lists Eco Tips so we are always on the look out for ways to live greener. Thanks for posting- especially the part about the 3 attempts. Now, I know to keep trying if the first batch is super stinky.
    Mary @ Green Global Travel´s last blog post ..GLOBAL CUISINE: Simple Crock Pot Carnitas (Mexico)

    • 7

      says

      Mary, feel free to link my article for your site. I used chicken bones the other day to make chicken stock….

      Also regarding travel, I find it most frustrating to be green while traveling. I wrote about it here while visiting a resort area. ( http://www.green-talk.com/2011.....-priority/) I just don’t get why resorts don’t offer recycling on the premises. It cost them money to haul trash. In my area, the cost of recycling is so much cheaper than hauling trash.

      PS Love my crockpot! What is your fav vegetable crock pot recipe. Link it in your comment.
      Anna@GreenTalk´s last blog post ..Solar Paint? Sun-Believable May Be the First Step

      • 8

        Nicofrog says

        Time for GUY to comment here !
        First I want to say be SURE you are using organic or home grown vegies.
        the peels of sweet potatoes are especially suspect if not organic do not use potato eyes,or greening potatoes. I think potatoes are alcaline or something,that may have been the problem.
        There is nothing wrong with skins going to the compost,and if you lack plenty of “Veggies getting too old, in your own frig,you can alwasy pick them up behind your local H F store,where they waste heaps of perfectly good ones.

        Kim Chee,or Sourkrout are terrific added to a soup while it is cooling for flavor,and great nutrition(Probiotics)

        Some almond butter,brewers yeast,chopped olives…
        can add interest and body.

        veggies cooked many hours may have mineral value,but you have lost most vitamins by then, good to add some fresh at the end to brighten things up…’Carrots parsnips kale etc are nice..green onions are SO easy to grow….

        cheerio! Nico

          • 10

            Nicofrog says

            I have NOT used potato skins,I have a worm compost system that I enjoy feeding,and I get so many vegetable from local h f stores for composting that I don’t really have to bother with peels much..!!

            Just made 20 gallons of Kim Chee so awesome,So easy to make
            Nico

  3. 11

    says

    So, i’d never made vegetable stock before and heard about how you can save peels and ends and whatnot to make one. So I saved up EVERYTHING vegetable related from this past holiday season and dumped them all into the crock-pot today. It should be done in about 2 hours. Where I made my mistake was not looking up “how to make vegetable stock” online first, because mine is FULL of potato skins and also broccoli stems, which is apparently also a no-no. Guess i’ll be dumping this all down the drain. :(

    • 12

      says

      Kimberly,

      Broccoli stems are fine. You might be able to use this mixture to make rice or other grain with it. Taste it first before you toss. Vegetable broth in my opinion doesn’t taste like vegetable soup.

      If it tastes terrible, dump the liquid in the soil. The plants can use the liquid. Let me know how it tastes. Anna

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