You crack open a box of vegetable stock expecting myriad flavors, and instead you’re met with…wait, is that water? We’ve all been there. Lackluster vegetable stock pervades grocery store aisles, feeling like a big fat afterthought next to chicken and beef stock, which – let’s be honest – can be just as disappointing when you settle for a mediocre prepackaged variety. What’s more? Store-bought stock isn’t always as straightforward as you think. Many contain sugar, thickeners and other additives you don’t need or want in your finished dish.

Break the cycle by making your own vegetable stock at home. It’s one of the simplest projects you can do in your kitchen, and it makes your house smell amazing. It’s also practical: There’s no better use for vegetable scraps and stray vegetables hanging out in your refrigerator.

What you’ll need:

  • Large soup/stock pot
  • Colander
  • Large mesh strainer
  • Slotted spoon or spider strainer

Shannon Weber is the creator, author and photographer behind the award-winning blogaperiodictableblog.com, and her work has appeared on websites such as Bon Appétit, Serious Eats and America’s Test Kitchen.