Vegetable Scrap Stock

A Zero Waste Life. Veg Scrap Stock

Onion peels, the cobs from corn, carrot ends… you wouldn’t get star baker if you were to serve these up for dinner. However, they’re so full of flavour and nutrients, they’re ready to become a free stock or broth for you. (A broth is seasoned with salt and pepper. Stock isn’t as you’ll want to add it to other dishes)

Collect your veg scraps over a few weeks, by storing them in the freezer. I would recommend giving anything you want to use in the stock a wash before freezing it, even if they’re parts of vegetables which wouldn’t typically be washed like the ends of onions. This is because they will all be submerged in the water to make the stock so muddy parts of the onion would lead to a mud flavoured stock!

A Zero Waste Life. Stock

You really can save as many peelings as you wish. I try and fill a medium sized Tupperware box up, but the stock can be made with more or less than this, dependant on the size of the pan you intend to use.

I’d recommend avoiding brassicas like cabbage, kale, sprouts, broccoli, root veg like turnips and artichokes as they have very strong flavours or might taste bitter in the stock. You can add onion peelings, but don’t add loads a couple will be sufficient. Avoid any vegetables which are already mouldy, though a bit of bruising is fine.

 This vegetable scrap stock is a great thing to make alongside something else, so you can leave it simmering away and not waste your cooker’s energy on just heating the hob for one dish.

 Author: A Zero Waste Life
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 1- 2 hours
Yield: 1 litre (can boil down or add more water as needed)
Dietary information: GF , DF, vegan

Category: Light meal or base of meal


  • Chopping board

  • Knife

  • Sieve

  • Heat proof bowl

  • Large lidded pan

A Zero Waste Life. Vegetable Scrap Stock


  • 1 tbsp. olive oil

  •   Half a bulb of garlic, peeled and finely chopped. Reserve the peelings for later

  • A large onion, peeled and finely chopped. Reserve the peelings for later

  • 500ml water

  • Your frozen vegetable scraps. 500g is ideal, but as mentioned above it’s not an exact amount

  • 2 tbps.  dried ‘Italian’ herbs such as basil, oregano and rosemary. Fresh herbs are great too, if you have access to them.

  • Salt and pepper, if you are making broth

A Zero Waste Life. Vegetable Scrap Stock


1.     Heat the oil in the pan and add the garlic and onions. Cook for 5 minutes or until softened.

2.     Add all the vegetable scraps from the vegetable preparation or what you have stored up in your freezer  to the pan. Sauté for a minute.

3.     Pour 500ml water over vegetable scraps. If your pan is too small for this, cover the scraps with as much water as you can and add the additional water after 30 minutes of heating the stock.

4.     Bring the pan to boil

5.     Turn the heat down and leave on a low heat for between 45 minutes and 2 hours. You can leave it alone for most of the time, but do check if it needs any more water.

6.     Strain the stock into a large bowl. Compost the scraps when they have cooled. Cooked vegetables can be composted so long as they don’t have oil or sauce on them.

7.     Freeze your stock in portions using ice cube trays or cake moulds and defrost as needed.

A Zero Waste Life. Vegetable Scrap Stock

Did you make this recipe?

Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #azerowastelife!

This article links in with a weeklong Zero Waste food challenge, which aims to produce Zero Food Waste, which you can partake in whenever you like.