Stone stock

Contributed by Preston Maring, MD

Stone stock

Anyone over the age of 40 years and maybe some under may know the story of Stone Soup. 

My memory without Googling it — an Eastern European soldier comes into a village at a time when food is scarce and offers to make stone soup.  He puts a stone in a big pot of boiling water and suggests to various villagers that a few parsnips (or whatever) and other vegetables would really enhance the soup. The villagers all contribute what little they had and a communal feast ensued. Below is my version of that. 

Recently I had the privilege to do a series of cooking demonstrations with a real chef at the Kaiser Permanente Fremont farmers' market as part of a Senior Nutrition fair.  One of his tips was to save all the scraps from whatever vegetable you were preparing for meals — the tops of scallions, onion skins, the woody stalks of parsley, carrot tops, etc. 

I really got into it and saved leftover basil, lettuce, spinach — everything.  I just put it in a 2 gallon and a 1-gallon freezer bag and froze it.  It morphed magically into the best vegetable stock which I used to make a spectacular Mexican vegetable soup with avocado, cilantro, and lime — a recipe to follow another time. 

Now it's just the time to take stock. The soup made from this stock was simply the best. Making stock like this over time will sort out those people who feel that the vegetable scraps used need to "go with" the ultimate soup to be made.  There will be others, like me, who just make the stock with whatever is at hand and do not worry about the details.  Let me know if you have an opinion.

Servings: 10 cups


  • Assortment of frozen vegetable scraps


  1. Fill up a big soup pot with frozen vegetable scraps.  Cover with water.  Add a couple of bay leaves.  Bring to a boil then simmer for about an hour. 
  2. Drain the veggies in a colander being sure to catch the nascent stock in another soup pot (I forgot this once and lost all of it down the drain). 
  3. Squeeze all the liquid out of the veggies.  Re-strain it through a finer mesh sieve. 

Use whatever you need for the soup of the day and freeze the rest.