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When I dug through my crisper drawers last Saturday to make room for some summer farmers’ market purchases, what I found was not pretty. A handful of limp celery stalks. A couple of cabbage leaves that had come off the head I’d used to make coleslaw. Some green onions and leek tops I knew I’d never use before they went bad. And one lone tomato that was too squishy to put in a salad.
Instead of throwing them away (none of them had green fuzzy stuff growing on them), I threw them in a Dutch oven with the peels from some carrots and onions I’d just used, a potato that was starting to sprout, a couple of bay leaves, a handful of parsley and a few sprigs of thyme. I covered the whole mess with water, simmered it for 30 minutes, strained out the liquid and…Presto! 2 1/2 quarts of homemade sodium-free, more-flavorful-than-store-bought vegetable stock to store in the freezer (and free up the crisper drawers) for fall soups and winter stews.