Kelly Stanze : How to Make Homemade Low Sodium, Low Fat Vegetable Stock
Kelly is a Go Red For Women Ambassador living in the Kansas City area. She is also a 27-year-old hypertension patient balancing a busy life with multiple blood pressure medications, a crazy career, a new marriage and a house full of rescue pets.
One of my greatest tools in my management of my high blood pressure is my own kitchen. It's not only one of the places I feel most at peace in the world, but it's also where I am able to pull together nutritious, delicious foods that nourish my body without harming my heart.
Since it's prime soup season here in the chilly Midwest, I wanted to share one of my easiest kitchen hacks for managing high blood pressure: homemade vegetable stock.
Step 1: Collect the Scraps
First, you'll need a large sealable bag or plastic container. I do a lot of meal prep on Sunday evenings to prepare myself for the week ahead, but if you just add to it throughout the week and store it in the fridge or freezer, that works too.
I collect just about anything that's edible and has nutrients and flavor. The pot featured in my pictures includes:
- Carrot tops and skins
- Radish tips
- Sweet potato skins
- Mini sweet pepper stems and cores
- Cabbage cores
- Celery trimming
- Red onion skins, tops, and tips
- Leftover fresh basil and savory that I needed to use from my indoor herb garden
A few notes: bear in mind that the scraps you use will inform the flavor of the stock. For instance, strong flavors like broccoli and asparagus might overpower things like carrots, cabbage, and celery.
If you want some heat, don't be afraid to use spicier trimmings like jalapeno! You can even use the seeds if you like -- I used the pepper seeds in this.
Step 2: Boil the vegetable scraps
I have a nice big stock pot for this, but you'll want to size your pot proportionate to the amount of scraps you have. The example shown was a pretty big batch (it ended up yielding about 6 cups of stock) but you don't need that many scraps to make a good batch of vegetable stock.
You'll want to put all your scraps in the pot and fill the pot with water so that everything can be completely submerged.
From there, turn it up to high and let it boil until everything appears to be soft, cooked through, and the stock has taken on a hearty amount of color.
Step 3: Simmer
Once you have sufficiently boiled your stock, turn the temperature down and allow it time to simmer. During this stage, I like to add seasonings like garlic, pepper, etc. as needed. Some batches I leave completely unseasoned so that I can use them in literally any recipe, but some that have milder flavors need a little extra oomph.
You'll lose some liquid the longer you simmer, but you'll want to flavor check now and then. If you've lost liquid and the flavor of the stock is too stocky, add more water.
This part is definitely more art than science, but it's an easy step to learn.
Step 4: Strain Out Scraps
Once you're happy with the flavor that's come out of your vegetable stock, it's time to strain out the veggies so you're just left with the stock! You can do this a few ways:
- Literally pour it through a strainer
- Dig out all the solids with a slotted spoon so that only liquid is left in the pot
I don't have a fine strainer at the moment, so I use the spoon method.
Step 5: Store and Use Your Low Sodium Vegetable Stock
Now that you've got some homemade no-salt-added vegetable stock, you're ready to use it however you please! The batch pictured went into homemade low sodium chicken noodle soup, homemade low sodium beef vegetable stew, homemade lentil and rice pilaf, and a delicious slow cooker pot roast. All of those recipes were easy, nutritious, low in salt, and required minimum work...because I'd had my handy, dandy vegetable stock on-hand.
Do you have any kitchen hacks to help you stay on top of your heart health? I'd love to hear about them in the comments, or you can connect with me on Twitter and Instagram as @kellystanze.
I hope this homemade stock how-to helps you stay cozy and warm during this strange winter we're having!