Turn Scraps into Soup

On Friday, I wrote about nostalgiancholy being the predominant emotion of the season for me. And that holds true. But as the mornings grow misty and frost etches the windowpanes, I also feel the desire to find abundance in frugality, joy in what we already have. One way to do both, I’ve discovered, is to create a variety of economical stocks from scraps I’ve accumulated that then become the base for soups (and whole grain risottos and sauces and . . . ) all winter long.

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Great ideas to snip and save in the freezer for food-scraps stocks are:

  • Leek trimmings
  • Rinds of hard cheeses
  • Heels of prosciutto, pancetta or salami
  • Shrimp or lobster shells
  • Chicken carcasses and wings
  • Beef or pork bones
  • Mushroom stems

And while you can feel free to raid the produce drawer for anything a bit beyond its prime, the golden rule is not to use anything slimy, moldy or smelly.

Formula for a Scraps Stock

  • Char a halved onion, cut side down, with 1/8 cup of unpeeled aromatics (like garlic, ginger, shallots, lemongrass and the like, depending upon the flavor profile you’re shooting for) in a large stock pot over medium heat until well colored, about 5 minutes.
  • Add a total of 4 cups additional coarsely chopped vegetable scraps (leek tops, celery, carrots, mushrooms stems, etc. in any combination) and shells or carcasses, and cook for 3 minutes, stirring often.
  • Add 10 cups water, herbs (like bay leaves, thyme and rosemary) and 1 tablespoon miso, and bring to a boil. Skim off any foam that rises to the surface.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low and add in any cheese, cured meat scraps or dried mushrooms.
  • Simmer for anywhere from 40 minutes (for vegetable stocks) to overnight (for chicken or beef stocks)

Note that while stocks should be full-flavored, they are intentionally underseasoned (unlike broths) in order to make them super versatile. This gives you freedom later to reduce the stock or use it in a highly seasoned dish without it imparting too much saltiness.

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Hey there ... I'm Lia Huber

Hey there ... I'm Lia Huber

My mission is to inspire and equip you to live a richer life through real food by becoming a more competent, confident home cook.


I’m the author of Nourished: A Memoir of Food, Faith, and Enduring Love, founder and CEO of Nourish Evolution, and the creator of Cook the Seasons, Home Cooking School, and the Real Food Reset, and I empower intentional women to cook in a way that brings them (and their families) joy, health, and ease.

Making the shift from processed food to real food doesn’t happen overnight. It’s an evolution that occurs over time, with effort, intention, and belief. And it will change the course of your life. Are you ready to take the first step? I’m so glad you’re here … and I’m honored to be with you on the journey to becoming nourished!

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Watch the video and download the customized action plan to take the first step on your nourish evolution now.

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