When you can simply reach for a vegetable stock cube, gel or powder, why would you make your own vegetable stock? Good question! Sometimes, when time is short, using commercially made vegetable stock is the right thing to do—but if you take a look at the ingredients list you might be surprised to find lots of salt and sugar. These 2 are typical of what you will find in most of the commercially made stock cubes/powders or gels.
Knorr Vegetable Stock Pots—4 different kinds of sugar.
Concentrated vegetable stock (water, carrots, leek, red bell pepper, celeriac) (43%), glucose syrup, salt, yeast extract, palm fat, sugar, potassium chloride, parsley, vegetable juice concentrate (celery, carrots, leek, onions) (0.9%), spices (celery seeds, lovage root, nutmeg, pepper), gelling agents (xanthan gum, locust bean gum), flavourings, caramel syrup, maltodextrin
Kallo Organic Vegetable Stock Cubes—3 different kinds of sugar.
Sea salt, vegetables oils (palm oil, sunflower oil), glucose syrup, sugar, vegetables (6%) (onions, celery, carrots, parsnips, tomatoes), maize starch, yeast extract, concentrated vegetable juice (1%) (celery, carrots, onions), herbs (containing celery leaves), caramelised sugar, spices.
Making your own vegetable stock doesn’t take long and it adds a greater depth of flavour to soups, casseroles and other dishes. And, without all of the salt, sugar and gums!
Makes 1.5 litres
- 1 dessertspoon Olive Oil (not virgin)
- 2 large white onions – chopped
- 2 large carrots – thinly sliced
- 2 large sticks of celery – sliced
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 bushy stems of parsley
- 2 sprigs of thyme
- 2-4 sprays of sweet marjoram
- 1.5 litres of water
If you don’t have one or more of the fresh herbs available, you can add or substitute with individual dried herbs, mixed herbs or Herbs de Provence.
In a large saucepan, heat the oil. Add all of chopped vegetables. Keep the pan on a high and stirring continuously, cook the vegetables for 5 minutes. Stirring stops them from browning. Then add the water and the herbs. Bring to the boil. Cover with a lid and simmer slowly for approx 30 minutes. Twenty will suffice if you’re in a hurry and if you have time, forty minutes will give the stock even more flavour. Strain the stock using a large, fine-mesh sieve. Press the vegetables and herbs against the sieve with the back of a spoon: not hard enough to push the vegetables through it – but to gain every last drop of goodness out of the vegetables.
The vegetable stock is ready for immediate use, or allow it to cool and pop into the fridge or freezer to use later.