Stock Me Up

This past weekend in Kansas it was very chilly. It made me start thinking about fall and then winter and all the recipes that go with those seasons. I eat a lot of soup and chili during fall and winter so I thought I should start stocking up on staple ingredients. One staple that is the base for pretty much any soup recipe is stock – chicken, beef or vegetable. I’ve never made my own stock before this weekend. I decided to try vegetable because I have a slight aversion to touching raw meat.

Here are the ingredients for Basic Vegetable Stock from All Recipes:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion
2 stalks celery, including some leaves
2 large carrots
1 bunch green onions, chopped
8 cloves garlic, minced
8 sprigs fresh parsley
6 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt
2 quarts water


First scrub all vegetables then chop into 1-inch chunks. Heat oil in a soup pot. Add onion, celery, carrots, green onions, garlic, parsley, thyme and bay leaves. Cook over high heat for 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add salt and water and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Strain and discard vegetables.

Ok I have to tell you, I don’t think I’ve ever purchased a regular carrot before this past weekend. I’ve only used canned carrots or baby carrots. Then when I got home, I didn’t even know if I had a vegetable peeler with which to peel a regular carrot. Luckily I found one and peeling a carrot turned out to be very easy. Chopping and preparing the other vegetables was easy as well since they didn’t have to be in tiny little pieces, just big chunks.

Once the stock started cooking it smelled wonderful! It smelled like Thanksgiving!

After the stock was finished cooking I let it cool for awhile. Then I measured it out into one cup servings to freeze. I ended up with 6 cups of stock.

The Economics: I spent $0.77 on carrots, $1.49 on celery, $1.49 on parsley, $1.99 for thyme, $0.79 for green onions, $0.95 on white onion, for a total of $7.48. I already had bay leaves, salt and olive oil at home. I ended up with leftovers of everything except the green onions and white onion.

I estimated how many batches of stock I could make with each ingredient to estimate the actual cost of making one batch of stock. I came up with the following:

Carrots, $0.77/2 = $0.39
Celery, $1.49/4 = $0.37
Parsley, $1.49/8 = $0.19
Thyme, $1.99/4 = $0.50
Green onion, $0.79
White onion, $0.95
Total = $3.19

That makes the price per cup $0.53. A 14oz can of Swanson vegetable broth costs $0.79 at my local grocery store. One can has approximately 2 cups of stock, making the price about $0.40 per cup.

So is it worth it? Vegetable stock was fun to make once and smelled delicious, but I don’t think I’ll be making this one regularly. It’s not a money saver and it took awhile for only a 6 cup yield. Now I haven’t tasted it yet, so I can’t comment on whether or not it tastes better than the canned version. I can say that it has a lot less sodium. If you are watching your sodium intake then you may opt to make your own stock.

If I do make it again I will make a double batch for sure so it’s worth my time. I’ll be sure to provide an update on taste comparison to the canned version once I actually use it in a recipe!


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