Vegetable Stock

Vegetable Stock

All you need to prepare a vegetable stock is a large pot and any handy vegetable trimmings.  Fill the pot with cold water, add bay leaf, peppercorns, and salt to taste and the vegetable trimmings.  Almost any thing adds flavor to the stock.  Its best to have some type of onion in the stock, but all other ingredients are completely interchangeable.  Garlic skins, herb stems, tomato and pepper cores and seeds, celery ribs and leaves, carrot peels, radish tops, chard stems, broccoli and Brussels sprout stems, bean stems, radish tops, chili pepper seeds (if you like it spicy) are all possibilities.  You could also add mustard seed, cloves, citrus peel, or any variety of vinegar—the more items, the stronger the flavor.
Bring the stock to a boil, lower heat, and let simmer for no longer than an hour.  The flavor will be extracted in that time and any longer will make the stock cloudy.  A nifty trick for those of you who are not vegan is to break an egg or two, shells and all into the stock while it simmers.  This will clarify the stock.  Pour the liquid through a fine sieve or cheesecloth and use immediately or cool to below 40 degrees in 2-4 hours.  It will keep a week in the refrigerator or freeze indefinitely.
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