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I made it a point a few months ago to lower my waste, especially in the kitchen. One thing I started doing was using the scraps from our veggies to make homemade vegetable broth. I save the scraps in the freezer until I have enough to make a large batch of broth and freeze it until future use. Vegetable broth is packed full of minerals and nutrients and acts as the base for soups, stews, and sauces. I even use it when making certain pasta or rice dishes.
When it comes to cooking I have a very rustic style and when picking the vegetables to add to your broth, I think really anything can be used. I’ve heard it suggested to leave out cruciferous veggies (broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, etc) because they can add a bitter taste to the broth, but I use them and haven’t had an issue with it. Besides, triggering bitter taste receptors is beneficial to the body. Just keep in mind that your goal is to create a nice balanced flavor, so if you have some of those bitter veggies in there, add in sweet vegetable scraps like carrots, sweet potatoes, or squash.
Because you are using your scraps your broth will be different every time you make it. Since we get an array of veggies delivered each week, I like to throw everything in and learn to work with what I get, but if you are looking for a specific flavor, use your intuition and omit anythin you think will keep you from getting your desired results.
What is in my broth:
- Carrot and celery tops and ends
- Squash peels and ends
- Onion, garlic, and shallot skins
- Tops and ends of leeks and green onions
- Beet peels, root end, and stem
- Pepper cores and stems
- Ginger shavings and any leftovers from meals
- Any veggies in the fridge that I think are about to go bad before I have time to use them
Extras for more flavor and nutritional value
- Fresh herbs (thyme, sage, marjoram, and rosemary are my
go-tos, but you can use whatever)
- Garlic and a whole onion cut in half
- Ginger (if I don’t have any scraps)
- Bay leaf
- Salt and pepper to taste
In this batch, I added in some Brussels sprouts I had plans for but never got to use because we all came down with the flu. I also tossed in a handful of shredded cabbage we had leftover in the fridge. Because I added a lot of squash and beet scraps my broth took on a deep red color and was a bit sweeter than usual, but I was really happy with the result.
How To Make Your Homemade Vegetable Broth:
- Before making your broth, make sure all ingredients are clean and void of any dirt. Add all ingredients to a large stockpot. Add enough water to cover and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for an hour.
- Turn off the heat and use tongs to remove any large solids, then strain through a mesh sieve.
- To store, either keep refrigerated in an airtight container and use within the week, or freeze for future use. To freeze, I fill a muffin tin with the broth and then transfer the cubs to a large bag once frozen.
What do you think? Does this broth sound like something you would try or would you rather stick to buying it at the grocery store? I’d love to hear your thoughts.