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I'm Crystal Vaughn

a classically trained chef taking holistic plant-based nutrition on a grand adventure through North America. When I’m not creating in our traveling kitchen, you can usually find me on my yoga mat or a hiking trail.

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Jul 23, 2014

If there is one lesson I would like to teach each and every one of you, it would be: read the ingredients!!  There are so many yucky things lurking in the food at the grocery store.  The best way to be aware is to simply read the back of the product.  People have no idea that anyone would ever think to add these things to their food and so they choose not to look.  I was grocery shopping with my dad about a year ago on vacation and, as usual, I was reading the labels and putting almost everything back.  I knew this wasn’t going to be my healthiest weekend ever but I still care about what is going into my body.  He kept asking “well, why did you put that back?”  And I would ask him how many ingredients should there be in orange juice?  The answer is definitely not twelve.  Or is sugar really necessary in beans?  He honestly (like most other people) had no idea about any of this. 

One product that always annoys me when I read the label is veggie stock.  It never fails that there is some ingredient in there I just don’t understand and is completely unnecessary.  Do I really need sugar in my stock?  Or three times the recommended daily amount of sodium?  Don’t get me started on the yucky preservatives and “natural flavor.”  No thank you! 

When the grocery store fails me (as it often does) it is time to get in the kitchen.  Especially when it is something as easy as stock and it’s practically free!

To start all you need is a bag or container that will go in the freezer.  I use (and reuse) a gallon size freezer bag.

I pull out the bag every time I am chopping vegetables and add all the scraps that are appropriate for a stock like onions, garlic, carrots, celery and fresh herbs (full list below) into the bag and then toss it back in the freezer. 

Once it gets about ½ to 3/4’s full you throw it in a large stockpot cover with water and bring to a boil.  Once it’s boiling, turn it down and let simmer for 45 minutes to an hour.  Let it cool and then you can strain and store it.  It will last for up to a week in the refrigerator or you can fill ice trays and once frozen, move them to a container and store in the freezer for up to 6 months. 

It is always nice to have homemade stock around.  It is great to add into recipes in place of water for extra flavor and you know it is all healthy since you know exactly what’s inside!

What to add: onions (peels and all), carrots and celery should make up the largest part of your veggies.  It is also great to include scraps from garlic (peels and ends), parsley, leeks, scallions, fennel, chard, lettuce, potato, parsnip, mushrooms, herbs and even beet greens.

What to leave out:  broccoli*, asparagus*, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower and artichokes.  These vegetables can be bitter and take over the taste of the stock.  Also, do not use any vegetables that are way past their prime.  Nothing spoiled or rotten.

*Note: You can use broccoli or asparagus if you don't mind the end result tasting distinctly like them.  It is best to add these vegetables when using the stock for an asparagus or broccoli soup.

Vegetable Stock
Makes 8 to 10 cups


6 to 8 cups of vegetable scraps (refer to blog post)

10 to 12 cups of filtered water


1. Throw vegetable scraps and water into a large stockpot (around 8 quarts size) and bring to a boil. 

2. Once boiling, turn the heat down and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour.  

3.  Turn heat off and strain the stock.  

4. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week or freeze in ice trays and once frozen, move them to a container and store in the freezer for up to 6 months.

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The information on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any health condition or disease. It does not replace medical advice from a licensed professional.