I struggle as an apartment dweller with one things. While I love living in my tiny space and the convenience of having someone on staff who can come to snake my hair out of a drain at any time, I have found that living in a high-rise means it is almost impossible to compost!* #goals
I could guess that seventy percent of what we throw into our trash can be composted into beautiful, nutrient-dense soil, so it broke my heart to realize that we couldn’t do something more eco-friendly with our food scraps… until I learned I could be making my own vegetable stock. While this remedy doesn’t fix for all of our food waste, it makes a difference on juicing days and when I’m cooking dinners. Plus, making my own stock means I know exactly what we're eating and there's one less container we're sending to the recycling plant.
Making my own stock means I know exactly what we're eating and there's one less container we're sending to the recycling plant.
Surely we aren't changing the world with our little stock, but some could argue the flavor is life-changing.
Begin to collect scraps of veggies while you are prepping them to cook. Scraps can be skins (onion skins contribute to the rich dark color), ends, odd cuts, or just big parts of a veggie you weren’t going to use (where all my tiny cloves of garlic go to die). Make sure they’re clean. Remember, the more of something there is in the stock, the more the finished product is going to taste like it!
- Bell peppers
Don’t save anything that has a bitter taste (like greens, broccoli, or cauliflower) or is starting to go bad.
Store your scraps in the freezer in a metal bowl or freezer bag (as long as you promise to reuse it) until it fills up.
Making the Stock
Fill a large pot with 6 to 8 cups of water. Add in frozen veggie scraps and some herbs if you have them (a bay leaf and parsley will do the trick!) Turn the stove up to medium and let those scraps for 45 to 60 mins. It will make your place smell delicious as it cooks. Like, so good.
When it’s done and somewhat cool, pull out the veggie scraps for their final resting place in the trash (or compost pile) and strain the liquid into a large mason jar, or a series of small ones. Save in the fridge for 7 to 14 days.
How do you reuse your food scraps?
*While composting is hard in a small space without a yard, I am experimenting with ways to do it in my own kitchen! More info on that in a couple weeks.