In the Midwest, we’ve had an unusually cold and snowy winter. Nothing warms the house like homemade vegetable broth! Let it simmer on the stove for 45 minutes…or a few hours…your house will smell amazing, as well.
What are the advantages to making your own broth?
- You will save loads of money! If you like to buy organic broth, it usually costs at least $2.00 for about four cups. If you make homemade broth, it will cost you virtually nothing because you are using scraps!
- You will “recycle” all of those lovely vegetable scraps that would otherwise be composted (or worse, thrown away).
- Homemade broth tastes much better than store-bought broth.
Great vegetables for broth
Making your own vegetable broth is easy. It does require a tiny bit of planning, though. For a few weeks, save your vegetable scraps. Put these scraps into separate bags in your freezer (i.e., one bag for onion scraps, one bag for carrot scraps, etc.).
Vegetables you need:
- onions (any bits that you cut off the onion, excluding the papery outer layer)
- carrots (save those ends and peelings!)
- celery (even the celery greens!)
Other great vegetables for broth:
- potato peelings
- leeks (those green parts that you never use)
- mushroom stalks
- herbs, especially thyme, parsley
Leave these vegetables OUT!
There are some vegetables that are not good in broth. These vegetables can overpower your broth and/or give it a funky taste:
- broccoli, kale, bok choy…vegetables in the Brassica family tend to have a very strong and bitter flavor, especially in vegetable broth.
- peppers (including bell peppers and hot peppers)
- lettuce—doesn’t add much flavor
- corn—doesn’t add much flavor
- sweet potatoes—I tried a few slices of sweet potato in broth once. Just once. They made the broth far too starchy and sweet.
Money-Saving Vegetable Broth
After you’ve saved a few cups of vegetable scraps, you are ready to make your broth!
1 TBL olive oil
1.5 cups of frozen onion scraps, chopped (or 2 onions)
2 cups of frozen carrot scraps, chopped (or 3 carrots)
2 cups of frozen celery scraps, chopped (or 3 celery ribs with leaves)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
8 cups of water
3 cups of other frozen vegetable scraps (e.g., potato peelings, leek greens)
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon of dried thyme (or a few fresh sprigs if you have them)
1 teaspoon of dried parsley (or about 3 teaspoons of fresh parsley)
1 teaspoon pepper
salt, to taste
- In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil on medium heat.
- Add the frozen onion, carrot, and celery scraps. Cook until the vegetables are heated through and softened (about 10 minutes).
- Add the garlic and cook for about a minute, or until fragrant.
- Add the 8 cups of water to the pot. Stir well, making sure to scrape any bits from the bottom of the pot.
- Add the remaining ingredients: 2-3 cups of frozen vegetable scraps, thyme, parsley, pepper, and salt. Let the water boil, then reduce to a simmer.
- Place the lid on the pot. Let the broth simmer for about an hour. If, after an hour, the broth isn’t strong enough for you, just let it simmer another 30 minutes or so.
- Remove the broth from heat and let it cool. Strain the solid scraps out of the broth—discard the scraps (these are great for your compost!).
- Store the liquid broth in small containers in batches of 1-2 cups. This way, when you need a cup or two of broth for a recipe, you don’t have to thaw all 8 cups!