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Making stock/broth, do you peel the aromatics?

When making stock/broth from the bones of a roasted poultry, beef, veal, venison, ham, etc. I usually add onions, celery and carrots along with whatever other root vegetables I might have in the house (like parsnips) and garlic. I'm old school and was taught to peel the carrots, onions, garlic, etc. I now see chefs on cooking shows and in recipes just quarter./rough cut the aromatics and crush the garlic without peeling. How do you do it? The broth or stock will be strained anyway. Is there any reason to peel them? Is there be an advantage to leaving the peels/skins on in terms of flavor and nutrients?

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  1. I only peel the onions & garlic because I think their peels have an unpleasant flavor.

    1 Reply
    1. re: JoeBabbitt

      Depends on the type of stock. For white stock yes, for dark stock no.

    2. I don't peel onions because their skin gives great color to stock and I get no off taste from them at all. I peel veggies to uncover more fresh surface area, don't know if it makes a diff or not in reality, though. I like them cleaner, too.

      1 Reply
      1. re: mcf

        I peel carrots because they are often dirty and still look dirty after washing.

      2. I always peeled....then I saw the same thing you noticed that TV Chef...primarily the fat guy with Orange Clogs....did not peel. I found that specifically with carrots, the outer skin was tough and did not appear to break down...so now I'm back to peeling...

        1. I just scrub them and cut out any bruised looking bits. I usually roast the veggies along with the bones before I add liquid and I read somewhere once that you always wanted to leave the onion skins on when you do that.

          1. I always leave my onion skins on, throw in the celery tops and middle, and just chunk up my carrots.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Goatjunky

              This is y metho too. I roughly quarter onions and leave skins on, celery tops and stems rough chop, carrots chopped in half then inch piece, garlic smashed and paper removed

            2. rarely roast and don't peel. also stopped using celery a long time ago since it's too often bitter.

              1. Nope, never peel for stock or broth.

                1. I peel carrots, personal preference. I don't peel onions.

                  1. Not necessary at all. In fact, I think leaving them unpeeled makes a difference in flavor & color.

                    I did an immersion-type all day training with a French trained chef at a beautiful restaurant in Providence, mucho moons ago. They had a ginormous stock pot on the back of the stove that they kept on low for days. And every time, some dish was prepped, all scraps, which included peels, skins, etc went into that pot of stock. They had wonderful food.

                    1. Since I don't use them, then no :)

                      But honestly, the outside of a carrot is no different than the inside of one. I wouldn't peel but I would cut in pieces.

                      1. When I use them they get washed, rough chopped and dumped in.

                        1. Never peel anything.

                          All the good stuff is on the outside, anyway.

                          Just snap the celery and carrots in pieces, after a quick rinse.

                          Onions are quartered and thrown in the simmer peels and all.

                          This describes chicken stock.

                          For beef stock, it's virtually the same treatment, except that the onion parchment comes off. The rest of the mirepois(sp?) supports the beef bones in the oven as they roast off for four or five hours, prior to their time in the Jacuzzi.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Monch

                            I agree, when making a beef stock from scratch I do roast the mirepoix with the beef bones. However, I started this thread with the thought about of using the bones left from making holiday roasts. In the past month, I have roasted a turkey, baked a bone-in ham, roasted a chicken and slow roasted a prime rib of beef, (which included a gravy made from some roasted short ribs, so I also had bones from the short ribs.)

                            While I was making the broth/stock from the leftover carcasses from the poultry or bones from the beef and ham I found myself wondering if there was an easier way. Am I spending too much time peeling these vegetables and is there an added value in keeping the skins and peels on.

                            That is different from setting out to make a perfect beef stock. I know the difference.

                            1. re: Springhaze2

                              I always roast the bones even when I'm using the leftovers .. not as long as I would if I were using raw bones, but long enough to really brown them. I find it improves the depth of flavor of the stock..and I roast the unpeeled veggies with those bones.

                          2. I pull off the parchment from onion, garlic, shallot, etc. mainly because the onion ends brown better peeled, but everything else is chunked up and tossed in. In another thread on vegetable stock I noted that I keep a baggy in the freezer of the vegetable trimmings. They all go into most stocks: onion and shallot ends, celery ends, lettuce bottoms and outside leaves, broccoli and asparagus ends, tomato navels, etc. It has been awhile since I made a classic bones, celery, onions, and carrots stock.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: tim irvine

                              I also have a freezer bag that certain trimmings get put into. Onion tops, raw carrot trimmings, etc. I dont put all veggies in my veg stock. Ie no bell pepper. But at least teice a month i can make great veg stock for what seems like free to me

                            2. I peel my onions since i don't use organic ones for stock, same with the garlic, i don't bother with the celery or carrots since those i always buy organic.
                              I often toss in fennel tops and the dark greens from leeks, whatever is in my big ziplock in the freezer where i keep bits.

                              19 Replies
                              1. re: Ttrockwood

                                I'm curious why the outside of a non-organic vegetable is different than the inside.

                                  1. re: c oliver

                                    Would it not be that the outside is more likely to have gotten hit by pesticide than the inside? Although I'm not sure how true this is with onions and garlic, since they are roots and grow below the ground. Makes more sense to me with something like an apple, that was in the direct line of fire.

                                      1. re: mcf

                                        Non-organic produce are rinsed with a solution containing mild pesticides to prevent them from getting gnats and bugs during transport.

                                        I learned this from one of my clients while touring their produce processing plants.

                                        1. re: JetLaggedChef

                                          I don't doubt it. But if they're roots, you cannot remove, by peeling or washing, what they've absorbed from their treated growing environments. Usually pesticides, fungicides and sundry.

                                          1. re: mcf

                                            and these days, most big ag farms use systemic as well as spray insecticides. rinsing or peeling does nothing about this.

                                      2. re: c oliver

                                        its based on the premise that some foods are more susceptible to "absorbing" the pesticides. I usually go by EWG's list of the dirty dozen in deciding whether buying organic is worth the additional cost. YMMV

                                        The Dirty Dozen

                                        Produce that should be purchased organically:

                                        1. apples
                                        2. celery
                                        3. cherry tomatoes
                                        4. cucumber
                                        5. grapes
                                        6. hot peppers
                                        7. nectarines (imported)
                                        8. peaches
                                        9. potatoes
                                        10. spinach
                                        11. strawberries
                                        12. sweet bell peppers
                                        …plus collards & kale
                                        …plus summer squash & zucchini

                                        The Clean Fifteen

                                        Produce that is safe to purchase conventionally:

                                        1. asparagus
                                        2. avocado
                                        3. cabbage
                                        4. cantaloupe
                                        5. corn
                                        6. eggplant
                                        7. grapefruit
                                        8. kiwi
                                        9. mangoes
                                        10. mushrooms
                                        11. onions
                                        12. papayas
                                        13. pineapples
                                        14. sweet peas (frozen)
                                        15. sweet potatoes

                                        1. re: foodieX2

                                          I'd not heard of EWG. Here's a link that includes a downloadable app. Lots of good info. Thanks.


                                          1. re: c oliver

                                            Your welcome! It can be a lot of info to take in but it has helped me prioritize my purchases (and budget!)

                                          2. re: foodieX2

                                            Interesting reading here, though a bit of a slog: http://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/pubs/pnw_gtr...

                                            Rodale, whom I typically ignore, has a good argument against the EWG list of safe veggies, which still expose you to pesticides. If that's ok with you, your body, your science experiment:

                                            "Pesticide Alert: Don't Be Fooled by the Dirty Dozen" http://www.rodalenews.com/pesticides-...

                                            The "Clean 15" would be more aptly named "15 for those who think there's a healthy amount of pesticide to eat."

                                            1. re: mcf

                                              Of course you are still exposed to pesticides! Seriously do you really think that you aren't? Even veggies you grow yourself can be exposed to pesticides. It's a pretty sad state of affairs.

                                              To me its about trying to limit that amount I eat and more importantly, the amount I give my son. 9 times out of 10 I choose to buy organic but there are times when I am unable to do so.

                                              1. re: foodieX2

                                                I realize there are exposures I cannot avoid, but the purchase of foods grown with the application of pesticides is not one of them. The EWG has taken a pretty unscientific position on the acceptability of certain pesticides in numbers and levels.

                                                I also buy some non organic produce on some occasions, though that's very rare.

                                                My objection isn't to what accommodations you or anyone personally chooses to make, but to a group publishing an authoritative list calling them "clean."

                                                1. re: foodieX2

                                                  Thanks for the EWG link foodieX2. I agree it is a pretty sad state of affairs. I also buy organic whenever possible and grow my own vegetables using organic methods.

                                                  1. re: foodieX2

                                                    Here's hoping your son, when he is old enough to buy his own food will be able to afford to buy 'organic'.
                                                    In truth IMO in twenty years the US will so poor that virtually no one will even remember what 'organic' meant.
                                                    "Daddy, what was a credit card? What did 'Take-Out' mean?
                                                    Visit the rural areas of China today to see what rural America will look like in twenty years. No kidding.
                                                    'Agri-business will be selling you and I whatever they can make the most money on.......that will be whatever grows fastest with the least overhead.
                                                    If you are able to buy from a small producer he/she will have long since forgotten the dream of 'growing organic' and being able to sell it at twice the price. Dream dead.

                                                    1. re: Puffin3

                                                      What an absolutely depressing post. Go out and enjoy the day, it might be your last.

                                                      (And "in truth" and "IMO" seems pretty contradictory)

                                                      1. re: Puffin3

                                                        This is taking this thread off track, but the part you are missing is that in rural America, a lot of us are practicing sustainable living as much as possible. We raise dairy goats for milk and cheese and chickens for eggs and meat. While some of that gets sold, most of the production is for our own use. Our animals are free range on 128 acres and their diets are supplemented with organic grains we get from local farmers. We also hunt and have a garden with organic vegetables and herbs. The local farmers around us, while some of them are pretty large scale, also keep organic gardens for their own personal use and for bartering. We barter the organic ingredients among each other. There is a whole economic system in our rural society that you are not aware of.

                                                        Here is an example of a barter I recently made for the holidays. You give me 2 pounds of shelled organic pecans and I'll give you 2 one-pound- sticks of homemade smoked venison summer sausage.

                                                        1. re: Springhaze2

                                                          Yeah... My friend's dad, who smokes like a chimney and has no interest in city slickers and their fancy ways, lives this way too. Local products were always the way of life, eg. Vinegar is by definition the local apple cider variety, and many things are bartered (not just food but services such as horse boarding and old vehicle repair). He's just a couple of hours from Toronto but it's a very different lifestyle in that respect.

                                                          1. re: julesrules

                                                            julesrules...I think you missed the point of my post. It was in response to Puffn3's comments about the future of the US.

                                                            I lived in the NYC area for 50 years and chose to move into a rural area. I'm not putting down "city slickers", etc...and apple cider vinegar is used as a treatment for sick goats, not necessarily cooking. There is a difference.

                                            2. I scrub but I don't peel.

                                              1. Save yourself the decision.

                                                Don't use aromatics.

                                                5 Replies
                                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                                  ipse, I'm with you. My stock has NO "aromatics." That way I can "take it" any way I want.

                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                    Eat your veggies. They're good for you.

                                                    Chewing is also very therapeutic.

                                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                                      I add them later, depending.

                                                      I'm glad I still have teeth at my age.

                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                        When your teeth leave you, come see me.

                                                        I know a periodontist who owes me a favor. I taught her how to make stock.

                                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                                          At the tender age of 66, I'm in orthodontics. The braces come off soon and I have a list of foods to eat.

                                                2. No, they add flavor, body and color.

                                                  1. For most of the stocks I do, I don't even add aromatics -- no onions, carrots and garlic. For the rest, I usually peel the skins. I think either ways is fine.

                                                    1. I peel anything that isn't organic as the pesticide sits on the surface.

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: JetLaggedChef

                                                        You do know that there are organic pesticides, right?

                                                        1. re: JetLaggedChef

                                                          I suspect most of it is in the flesh of a root vegetable, as opposed to say, tree fruit.

                                                        2. Always always always peel carrots.

                                                          Take a carrot peel. Eat it. Once you're done spitting it out, don't add carrot skins to stock. Not ever. That taste you just had, that's what you're putting into your stock.

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: Zalbar

                                                            Interesting. So one of the best chefs in the world uses potato skins to make 'the perfect mashed potatoes' and you think the taste of carrot skins are not worthy of adding to a stock? Interesting. Does that go for all root veg.? IYO?http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2zsmH... The point with keeping the skins is that's where the actual 'carrot' flavor is.....like with any root veg.
                                                            Just for fun I'm going to make 'mashed carrots' the same way HB makes mashed potatoes. I get back.

                                                            1. re: Zalbar

                                                              I eat unpeeled carrots all the time, and they are delicious.

                                                              1. re: magiesmom

                                                                There's a huge range of quality and tastes in carrot skins, having to do with variety, soils, water, growing methods, age, and freshness.

                                                                Carrots fresh from local organic farmers I scrub and use without peeling, and use the ends in stock. California organics I peel, for stock or straight cooking.

                                                                Trimmings are compost here, so they're still handled frugally.

                                                                Years ago, I routinely would only trim the roots and semi-peel onions for stock. Then one batch turned a very unappetizing dark color due to some onion skins, and ever since I've kept them out.

                                                                Garlic for stock is peeled if it's easy to do so, otherwise just well-rubbed and with the root end trimmed.

                                                            2. I only peel carrots and parsnips. Not alliums or celery.

                                                              1. I peel carrots only because I put the peels, along with the trimmings from the top and bottom of carrot and celery, outside for the wildlife. I don't think they are interested in onion skins, which probably have little or no nutrition anyway,
                                                                but all cores and other uncooked peels go to the critters, since I do not compost.

                                                                1. I don't even chop most of it really. But I'm not a chef, I'm a frugal home cook trying to use up veggies and chicken parts. So I usually use floppy celery and carrots that are past their prime but not rotten. I just break them in half so they fit in the crock pot, if I used a stock pot I wouldn't even bother with that. The post that says they don't break down with the skins on, I'm not sure about that. Everything is pretty much mush by the time the chicken bones have given up all their gelatin. I think the final product tastes great, but that's why I mentioned that I'm not a chef. Maybe there are aubtle differences I'm not detecting.

                                                                  1. I peel it all. I don't know why.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: jpc8015

                                                                      That's what I do, and I am questioning why. Which is what lead me to start this thread.

                                                                    2. I save my carrot peelings, carrot tops, fennel fronds, ends of celery, onion "butts", etc to make my stock. I keep it in a bag in the veggie drawer. If I have tons of veggies and not enough bones to make stock I make a veggie stock adding a handful of dried mushrooms and a couple of old tomatoes.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: pagesinthesun

                                                                        Same here, except I throw out the carrot tops..... I just remember reading that the greens were poisonous?? I don't know where, but that is probably an old wives tale!

                                                                      2. I read thst most nutrients are in the skin, like carrots. So a good washing is all they need. Skin on onions for color. Just remove the "scum" on top and it should turn out fine

                                                                        1. No I don't peel veggies for stock. I use baby carrots because that is what we usually have in the house (so no nasty tasting peel going into the stock). I quarter the onions with skin intact, and chop celery in about three large pieces. I don't use garlic because I try to keep my stock flavorful but not too savory so that I can use it in other recipes. I add whole black peppercorns and bay leaf, salt, few carrots, celery, onion. Simple and delicious.
                                                                          I keep adding veggies to a freezer bag with chicken or turkey bones until I make the stock (end of celery here, half an onion there).

                                                                          As you said it will all be strained so I don't worry about it. I've recently started making my stock in the crockpot (low for 24 hours) and love that.