I'm just brainstorming here, and I would love to know what you save for later. I freeze:
- Celery leaves and the tender yellow stalks on the inside of the bunch
- Pieces of carrot that became too small to hold for when shredding (yes I shred by hand - can't afford a food processor yet!)
- The bottoms of scallions (also can be regrown in water)
- Onion tops, bottoms, and peels
- Broccoli stems
- Kale ribs
- Corn cobs
- Green water from steamed vegetables
- Starchy water left over from boiling potatoes
- I have a recipe that calls for 2 stalks of lemon grass but they come in packages of three. So, I freeze the 3rd.
- And I will guiltily confess that I have received items from the CSA that I wasn't sure how to use, so I've tossed them in. (My sincere apologies, Rutabaga.)
When I need a fresh batch of vegetable broth for a delicious recipe like Smitten Kitchen's Baked Potato soup I raid the freezer and toss my vegetables into my stock pot.
To my scraps I add:
3 bay leaves
one full onion
carrot to taste
Salt to taste (don't overdo it here!)
Then I let this simmer on low for about 2 hours, longer if you tend to forget about it like me. Your house might take on a distinct boiled celery smell. This is distressing to some. Power through it.
You could simply use a colander to strain the chunks out of your stock. But if you have the time or inclination, strain the stock through a cheesecloth or clean dishtowel squeezing out every drop from the soft vegetables.
Organic, low sodium vegetable stock is about $4 per quart. That's $16 per gallon. Using frozen organic bits and making your own will cost $0.50 per gallon. Delicious, cheap, and less processed than anything you can buy.