Save Your Vegetable Scraps for Stock
There's a certain simple beauty that can be attained by taking things that would otherwise be wasted and turning them into something delicious. I have a middling-sized air-tight plastic container that I keep in the freezer. I toss scraps and ends of vegetables in it. When it starts to get full, I make vegetable stock.
I first read this trick years ago in the beginning of The Moosewood Cookbook. I've been using it more or less ever since then.There are some vegetables that you may or may not want to use. Some, such as onion skins or beets, will change your stock's color. I'm not picky about that, myself. Others, like broccoli, cauliflower, and many other brassica can be overpowering unless used in moderation. I generally use a freezer container that holds enough vegetables for multiple batches of stock.
If I have something strong in there, I'll only use a little of it at a time. Other things that work surprisingly well in this include squash (both summer and winter), apple and pear cores, and the leafy bits of all those vegetables you don't normally eat. This is also a great way to make use of vegetables that are about to go bad. I'll usually toss some bay leaves and parsley in there when I make it (unless there's already some in the frozen mix). There's really no comparison in my mind between the stock I make at home and the store-bought kind.
Image by tina vallès