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Prep Time: very little (unless you count saving all your old bits of vegetable and freezing them)
Cook time: as many hours as you can stand, but about 3 – 8 hours / all day
Serves: quite a few
Maybe some might think I don't take vegetable stock seriously, but I do. I don't, however, feel it needs any sort of exact science.
- bay leaves
- black peppercorns
- garlic (I love garlic, but you may not, so this — as all other ingredients — is optional)
- any other bit or cast-off part of vegetable you happen to have around
- any old fresh herbs you have lying around that are not sightly enough to use — even dried is not a crime if you don't have any fresh
- salt to taste (I use none, and then salt the stock as I need/use it)
- Coarsely chop your vegetables (don't get carried away)
- Grab the largest pot you have
- Throw in all your ingredients
- Fill with water
- Bring to a boil, then simmer for several hours (you can't really simmer this too long)
- Allow to cool once you are tired of watching it simmer
- Strain using a cheesecloth or dish towel in a colander (you may have to do this in batches depending how huge your pot is — mine is insanely large)
- Freeze in usable portions — I like to mix it up into 1-cup portions, "stock cubes" in an ice-cube tray and "soup-sized" portions
I tend to take the stems off my mushrooms when I cook, but rather than throw them away, I freeze them and later use them in stock making. You can also use any, and I really do mean any vegetable or herb. The only things you might want to consider are things like beets which would make your stock rather red, but not any less delicious.
Compost the stuff you strain out!