Nutritious Homemade Veggie Stock (And How to Freeze it in Jars)

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Happy New Year!  It's soup stock time!  

This is a delicious, mineral-rich, and versatile soup stock that will add depth to any of your winter (or summer!) soups.  I added a handful of Chinese herbs that I had on hand to increase the healing power of this recipe, but feel free to leave them out. 

Thanks to my awesomely large pot, this batch yielded 13 jars' worth of stock which will last me a few months stored in the freezer.  This recipe is closely based on the fantastic veggie stock recipe featured in one of my favorite cookbooks, Vedge.  I've been making different versions of this recipe for several years now, and I'm sure I'll be making it for many years to come. Thanks, Vedge, for the inspiration! 

The straight-sided Ball jars pictured are perfect for freezing stock and don't leach toxins like plastic ziplock freezer bags.  I've been using this freezer method for years, and I'll explain how I do it so that you can avoid making the same mistakes I made early on. (Once I had to throw out an entire soup because of broken glass. It was very sad. You do NOT want that to be you.)

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Veggie Stock Recipe:

2 leeks
2 onions
4 celery stalks
6 carrots
1 turnip
1 jewel or garnet yam
A few broccoli stems
1 strip kombu 

Optional additions:
Reishi Mushroom -- boosts energy and immunity (2 Tbsp)
Huang Qi (astragalus) -- boosts immunity (2-3 tsp)
Dang Gui (angelica) -- great women's health herb and uterine tonic (1-2 tsp)
Shan Zha (hawthorne) -- supports heart health and aids digestion of protein (1 Tbsp)

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1) Roughly chop all veggies.  For example, carrots can be cut into thirds, yams can be cut into 3-6 chunks depending on size, and onions can be quartered (you can leave the outer onion skins on).

2) Saute onions, leeks, and celery in avocado oil for 10 minutes or so, stirring often.  

3) Add sauteed veggies and all other  ingredients to a soup stock with 6 quarts of water. Rinse kombu before adding.  (If you don't have a single pot that's big enough, you can split the veggies and water into two different pots or simply halve the recipe.)

4) Bring to a boil, and then simmer on low for 45 minutes. 

5) Strain the veggies (and herbs, if using) out of the stock liquid.

6) If possible, let the stock cool.

7) Ladle stock into freezer-safe, wide mouth mason jars, filling only to the freezer fill line.  

8) If the stock has cooled to room temperature, you can put the jars straight into the freezer.  If the stock is still very hot, place the jars in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight before transferring to the freezer.


Slow-Thaw Method: If you know you are going to need stock the next day, you can transfer a jar from the freezer to the refrigerator the night before, or you can let the jar sit on the counter for a few hours before you start cooking. 

Quick-Thaw Method: If you forget to take the jar out of the freezer in advance, submerge the jar in COLD water and let it sit until enough of the stock has melted that the remaining ice cube of stock slides effortlessly out of the jar. (Be patient! DO NOT jiggle the jar or otherwise try to help the ice cube come out if it is getting stuck!) Once your stock ice cube is liberated, you can melt it in a separate pot on the stove top before adding it to your soup, but I usually just drop it directly into the soup I'm making and let it finish melting there. 


Interested in Chinese Herbal Medicine or acupuncture? If you are near Denver, Colorado, I welcome you to visit my clinic, Seven Seeds Acupuncture. You can request a free 15-minute consultation here:

Julie Johnson is a licensed acupuncturist, board certified herbalist, and the owner of Seven Seeds Acupuncture. She is an NCCAOM Diplomate of Oriental Medicine and a Fellow of the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine. She is passionate about women’s health, self-care, using food as medicine, and eco-friendly living. She loves combining these passions in her practice of holistic healthcare, which is designed to provide a source of healing that empowers and uplifts her clients.