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I read somewhere you can use vegetable peelings to make a good vegetable stock, I loved this idea of producing even less waste but I have 2 questions.

  1. Are there any vegetable peelings I shouldn't use, eg. Butternut Squash has a really hard skin is that okay to use

  2. Will I get loads of pesticides if I do that?

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    If you’re going to do this, you might want to scrub the vegetables before you peel them. Especially for root vegetables and stuff that might have dirt on them
    – Joe
    Commented Mar 14, 2023 at 15:13
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    And as for the stock vs broth thing, there are different opinions (meat vs bones as the base; if it’s intended as an ingredient or as a final dish to be served). See cooking.stackexchange.com/a/3269/67
    – Joe
    Commented Mar 14, 2023 at 15:16
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    @TimSparkles : I rinse after peeling, which is much faster (and tends to use less water) than a pre-peel scrub.
    – Joe
    Commented Mar 15, 2023 at 23:31
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    @Kingsley: I've personally never had that issue. Is it possible, no offense meant, that you might have some sort of digestive issue?
    – Vikki
    Commented Mar 16, 2023 at 3:43
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    @Vikki - Maybe :) It's been like that since I was a kid.
    – Kingsley
    Commented Mar 16, 2023 at 4:48

3 Answers 3

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For some veg it makes sense:

  • the peelings of well-scrubbed carrots and parsnips,
  • the bits you remove if your celery is stringy, and celery leaves (I grow my own so always have leaves)
  • non-muddy trimmings of leeks, spring onions and other alliums
  • onion skins - but only if you want your stock brown.
  • outer leaves of brassicas, but in very limited quantities or the flavour will dominate. Can be better if browned first, and of course must be well-washed.
  • If you grow your own veg, the top growth of garlic and carrots can be added, as can undersize leeks and spring onions as you thin them.
  • Home grown herbs can be added stems and all, though probably not really woody bits.

Potato peelings only add starch, not flavour, and are best avoided.

In between are things like squashes - they'll add very little flavour, and probably a bit of starch that you probably don't want.

You do need quite a lot. I'm more likely to do this making turkey stock at Christmas when I have the bones to go in as well, and I'm preparing a lot of veg. Even then I usually add an onion or two as well as herbs from the garden.

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  • Yeah I have a chicken carcass and just threw in the peelings, but I had a butternut squash in there, oh well.
    – WendyG
    Commented Mar 14, 2023 at 15:45
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    The squash is probably not going to make much difference either way, with the chicken in there too
    – Chris H
    Commented Mar 14, 2023 at 15:47
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    You can also throw in the stems from leafy herbs that aren’t overly woody (eg. Parsley). My mom would collect up scraps in a bag in the freezer, then throw it all in when she had a carcass (or shrimp shells)
    – Joe
    Commented Mar 14, 2023 at 15:56
  • Good point @Joe. I'd normally add bay, oregano, and rosemary from the garden after just a rinse, thyme if I've got some (thyme and sage don't do well in my clay soil, but don't last long in pots either)
    – Chris H
    Commented Mar 14, 2023 at 16:01
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    @WendyG oops. In the future, aim for a simmer (just seeing an occasional bubble) and not a full rolling boil when making stock. You lose a lot of the aromatics (volatile compounds that we smell) if you boil it too much
    – Joe
    Commented Mar 14, 2023 at 22:39
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Out of personal experience: do not use the trimmings of (bell) peppers, and probably other capsicum varieties. The stalks and seed parts quickly add a rather bitter aftertaste to the stock.

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    Good thinking. The bitter compounds are concentrated in the parts we discard so it's not surprising. If, on the other hand, you have left over roast peppers, they're a good addition (fairly likely when I'm making stock, as I always cook roast mixed veg on the rare occasions I roast a chicken or turkey)
    – Chris H
    Commented Mar 16, 2023 at 8:38
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Broth is made from meat and/or vegetables whereas Stock is made from bones. You'd need to scrub and ensure they're very clean to limit the grime and dirt. But Yes you could make broth with peels but you'd need quite a bit to have the same amount if you were to use the whole vegetable(s)

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  • I have edited my question to highlight the question
    – WendyG
    Commented Mar 14, 2023 at 15:43
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    The distinction between stock and broth is not universally observed, to quote Wikipedia: “Many cooks and food writers use the terms broth and stock interchangeably. In 1974, James Beard wrote that stock, broth, and bouillon "are all the same thing".” Commented Mar 14, 2023 at 18:09
  • Welcome to SA! While your assertion about stock and broth is interesting, it's not what the OP asked. You may want to edit your answer to remove that part of it.
    – FuzzyChef
    Commented Mar 14, 2023 at 22:05
  • @FuzzyChef it actually was part of the question (but more like an off-hand remark within the main question). I’ve linked to another question that specifically asks about this
    – Joe
    Commented Mar 14, 2023 at 22:40
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    According to the OED, Stock is "The liquor made by boiling meat (with or without vegetables, etc.) and used as a foundation for soup." and Broth is "The liquid in which anything has been boiled, and which is impregnated with its juice; a decoction; esp. that in which meat is boiled or macerated; also a thin soup made from this with the addition of vegetables, pearl barley, rice, etc., as Scottish ‘broth’." - these terms are often used synonymously.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Mar 14, 2023 at 23:00

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