Veganstock!

Veganstock! It’s like Woodstock only the people are selfrighteously clean about everything! I jest, I jest. To make your vegan stock you first need to catch 4 Vegans and hang them to cure in a cool dry place and oh alright fine I shall be serious.

foodbinOK. Some time in the new year I was delivered one of these hideous green beasts along with a letter from the council telling me I’m not allowed to put food waste out in the bin any more and instead need to stash it in said hideous beast for two weeks at a time until the bin men take it away and do something composty with it. I had two issues with this. The first is that I don’t have a handy garden to keep my green beast full of rotting food in, and no I really don’t want to keep it in my kitchen because it’s already overcrowded in there and also IT IS ROTTING FOOD. The second reason is more one of pride in that actually, I do not have an awful lot of food waste TVM. I am from a greedy and thrifty pedigree, I believe in a clean plate and what rare leftovers I have are always recycled if they hang around long enough to not be hoovered up by the ever hungry Mr. I recycle my paper and glass and plastic and clothing with a rapturous fever but oh no, Mr Colchester Borough Council this is not enough now I have to start sifting through my egg shells and scrag ends and keep them in this ugly pot in my hallway for you? No. I will not. And I do not, the bin makes a handy ice bucket when I have company however. The point of this story is not my refusal to recycle my miniscule amounts of food waste without some kind of refund on my council tax, but rather that this episode did put me in mind of recycling and the afore mentioned scrag ends.

Flash back to my vegan research days, when I heard tell of a little trick played by many a vegan to up their vitamin intake- Veganstock *insert fanfare here*
It is now I must confess that Veganstock is actually just vegetable stock, made at home from the plethora of inedible veggie ends found in any honest vegan kitchen. As I discovered to my horror in my Vegan Challenge, nefarious suppliers of stock cubes can add all kinds of crap to alleged vegetable stock including milk products, an obvious vegan no-no. To easily avoid this added ingredient pitfall, make your own stock! Many web forum hardcore vegan types profess to making this stuff to drink at leisure which is not quite my bag, baby, but I had fancied a go at a face off between Kallo cubes and my own creation.

I was pleased with the results.

It isn't that hard, you just need to organise one freezer drawer and remember not to chuck out your ends!

It isn’t that hard, you just need to organise one freezer drawer and remember not to chuck out your ends!

So, to make your own veg stock you need to first clear out a shelf in the freezer and fill it with a stash of empty plastic boxes- I found the mushrooms boxes and little asparagus trays perfect (more recycling points here too). Then quite simply stop throwing away your scrag ends! To be more specific I mean the little vegetable trimmings that don’t make it to your plate- carrot ends, the stringy bit on the end of your beans, onion tops and garlic ends (skin and all) and the like. And don’t stop there- cabbage stalks, the hard bits on sprouts, pepper stalks, that nibby bit of the tomato we always cut out, all of that stuff. Just chuck it straight in the freezer.
Depending on your general veg consumption, in a week or more you will have enough frozen scrags to fill a stock pot, so get them out of the freezer, take a second to marvel at how weird they look all hard and sparkly with ice, then use them to fill your stock pot.
Add additional flavouring to your own taste- I like to throw in black peppercorns, a bay leaf, some coriander seed and one dried piri piri plus some seasalt. You can put in dried or fresh herbs or any spices you have laying about the place. Cover it with cold water, put a lid on and boil for a good 90 minutes. Now, let it cool off for a bit then pass through a reasonably fine mesh sieve- giving the veggie bits a good squish to get all the liquid, and all the flavour out.
20140112_174136Now, throw out the squished over boiled scrag ends, and take a minute to feel good about yourself that you have reduced the size of these scrag ends and therefore eased the burden on your poor local council waste depot.
The left over liquid is your stock, and if it is anything like mine it’s pretty good stuff! Obviously the flavour will vary depending on the mix of veg that went in but you should always get a rich, dark stock with some actual depth to it beyond the general stock cube world of slightly salty nondescript herbs. It’s fab, and easy to do and from one batch I tend to get about 3L of stock which keeps in the fridge in an old drinks bottle (more recycling!!!) for a couple of weeks.

Yes, vs about a quid on a packet of stock cubes it is a bit of faffing around but I really think it tastes better and you have the peace of mind of knowing exactly what is in there. You don’t have to go all super clean and vegan and drink it by the pint by the way, I personally find it peps up a chicken stew something beautiful!

I said chicken. I’m going to get some vegan hate mail now.

It was worth it.

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