My mother taught me to never throw away the liquid in canned vegetables. She says that is the basis of a good soup or sauce. The both of use that liquid as one would use stock. Is that good practice though? We don't like throwing anything away.

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    What do you mean by "good practice"? Only you can answer whether you like the taste. Are there safety concerns? Maybe - BPA linings in aluminum cans were very common, and although it's less common today, the alternative linings might also pose health risks that we're not yet aware of.
    – Juhasz
    Feb 17, 2022 at 19:27

1 Answer 1


"How close" is really a matter of taste.

Canning liquid generally consists of water, salt, and preservatives, plus particles from the cooked vegetables in the can. For example, the can of chickpeas in front of me contains "Chickpeas, water, salt, disodium EDTA". Since a vegetable stock is usually made with water, salt, and an assortment of cut vegetables, this makes it at least somewhat similar.

However, it's different in detail. First, the liquid in cans is generally flavored only with one vegetable, and not usually the same vegetables you'd put in stock. It also tends to have more salt and preservatives than most people put in their homemade stock. Finally, the liquid usually has a much more concentrated and "cooked" flavor than you'd generally want in a vegetable stock -- it tastes like a stock that was cooked for way too long.

And, of course, it contains none of the amino acids and gelatin you'd find in a meat and bone stock.

So, could you make a base for a vegetable soup using the liquid from canned vegetables? Certainly, yes, and it might or might not be better than just using water. But it certainly won't be as good as a purpose-made stock.

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    We usually just use it in addition to regular stocks.
    – Neil Meyer
    Feb 18, 2022 at 5:04
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    A small pedantic note, but the liquid from canned vegetables can contain substantial dissolved protein and amino acids. Notably, the liquid from canned chickpeas has enough of those to be usable as an egg substitute and even to be whipped into meringues. Feb 18, 2022 at 10:45
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    Weird - I don't think I've ever seen chickpeas with preservatives. All mine are just chickpeas with water and some also have salt. They're tinned, so they don't need preservatives. I'd consider changing brands...
    – J...
    Feb 18, 2022 at 15:22
  • Emergency grocery store purchase. Which is why I haven't used it ...
    – FuzzyChef
    Feb 18, 2022 at 17:27
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    Illmari: bean aminos are substantially different in flavor from animal aminos. You'll notice that few, if any, vegan stock recpies suggest adding beans to the base. This is because the resulting stock ends up tasting like beans, instead of being a nice background umami flavor.
    – FuzzyChef
    Feb 18, 2022 at 17:29

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