Making your own vegetable stock is easy and it takes a much shorter time as compared to making beef/chicken/fish stock. It can be considered frugal cooking because it will not cost you much to make; you may even use scraps (e.g. vegetable peel) to make it. You might decide to start keeping scraps stored in the freezer until you have enough to make stock (make sure it is clean, not rotting and has some flavour to impart to your stock). Another more important point is that you know exactly what’s in your stock, rather than blindly adding a cube or stock pot. This is especially important for people who need to control sodium or carbohydrate levels etc.
What you use will depend on what vegetables you’ve got lying around; although remember that if it doesn’t smell good enough to eat then it won’t work in your stock and will probably ruin it. It may be obvious, but an important point is to use vegetables that you actually like. If your stock consists predominantly of onions, that is what it’s going to smell and taste of and what quality it will impart to the dishes you use this stock in.
This is what I chose to use in mine:
celery sticks and leaves
one small courgette
2 bay leaves
a sprig of rosemary
one large onion
2 spring onions
a teaspoon ground pepper (you may also use whole peppers)
circa 700ml to 1 litre of water, depending on the amount of vegetables used. A good tip is to add water until you have just covered all the vegetables.
Note that I did not add any salt.
Bring to a boil and then simmer on medium heat for about an hour to an hour and a half. Let it cool and then sieve the liquid out, taking care to avoid any sediment that would have settled at the bottom. Discard the vegetables.
You can now use your stock in a number of dishes, such as soups or risotto. If you’re not going to use this within the next 2 days, the best thing is to freeze in small portions. I used ice cube freezer bags so that I can use as much as I want when needed.