Skipping pre-packaged foods and making your own version at home is an important step to cutting out harmful additives, preservatives and GMOs. Because we’re big believers in homemade, we’ve taught you how to make your own almond or hemp milk, garlic or onion powder and hummus. Now, we’ll show you how to make homemade, organic vegetable broth from scraps! When you make your own broth, you can rest assured that there is no high fructose corn syrup, no MSG, and a manageable (or none at all) amount of salt. In fact, your broth will have zero preservatives and other yucky chemicals. Who wouldn’t feel great feeding their family easy, homemade food with no additives?
You’ll also know for certain that your broth’s storage containers are BPA free. BPA is a harmful chemical often used to line cans and plastics that we never use to package our products. You can also rest easy knowing that you aren’t contributing to landfills by purchasing pre-packaged broth from the market just to throw away the container.
Perhaps the best benefit though, is the great amount of money you can save by using scraps. You already paid for the vegetable… why not use the whole thing? Compared to pre-made organic vegetable broth, the cost of homemade broth out of scraps is incredibly affordable. Once you’re done with the broth, you can just compost the vegetable scraps and know you got the most bang for your buck.
Is it Really THAT Easy?
Ok, so we’ve covered all the wonderful reasons why making homemade vegetable broth is a great idea, but is it really that easy? YES! All it takes is a little bit of space in your freezer, a handful of fresh ingredients, and a large stockpot or slow cooker.
To begin, choose a bag where you’ll store vegetable scraps in your freezer. Some people prefer to use re-sealable plastic bags (be sure they’re BPA free!), but for a no-cost and plastic-free alternative, you can store your items in a paper bag. Just be sure to fold over the top so that nothing unwanted falls in.
Now, it’s time to save some scraps! You can save things like broccoli and mushroom stems, carrot peels, celery tops and the skins from garlic and onions. Save the green tops of leeks, the stems of parsley and the ribs of kale too! If you have large pieces (like the stem of broccoli), be sure to cut it into rough pieces before freezing. Make sure that everything is washed and then place it in your bag. Once you have about 3 cups of a good variety of vegetables, you’re ready to make broth! All you’ll need is a handful of fresh carrots, onions, and celery to perfectly round out the flavor and you’re good to go.
In order to achieve your perfect vegetable broth, it may take a little trial and error. There are a few key points to remember to get the best tasting broth:
- Cruciferous veggies (like kale, cauliflower, broccoli, etc.) may make your broth bitter and add notes of sulfur. Be sure not to overdo it with these scraps (½ of a broccoli stem is plenty for one batch).
- Make sure you’ve washed everything before freezing!
- Ensure there are no unwanted chemicals going into your broth by removing all rubber bands and zip ties before freezing.
- Mushrooms will add a “meatier” flavor, as will prunes.
- Seasoning with herbs and spices is optional (an unseasoned broth is called stock), but will make a world of difference in flavor. Try herbs and spices like peppercorns, fresh thyme, fresh parsley (or parsley stems), bay leaves or fennel tops.
- Caramelizing your base (onions, carrots and celery) will greatly enhance the flavor of your broth.
- Keep the heat low. This will prevent the vegetables from breaking apart and clouding your broth and may also reduce the chances of a bitter tasting broth. Stirring will also cloud your broth, so hand’s off!
- Broth will keep for only about 3-5 days in the refrigerator, but up to 6 months (or longer) in the freezer.
Now that you’re equipped it’s time to get started!
Note: this recipe will give you a large amount of broth – about 12 cups – so you can freeze some for later. If you don’t think you will use this much broth in time, you can cut the recipe in half.
Organic, Homemade Vegetable Broth out of Scraps
- 4 carrots, roughly chopped
- 4 celery stalks, roughly chopped
- 2 large onions, unpeeled and quartered
- About 3 cups of frozen vegetable scraps
- 2 bay leaves (optional)
- 8 peppercorns (optional)
- 5-7 cloves of garlic (smashed for more flavor)
- 1 bunch of parsley (leftover ends or a fresh bunch)
- 2 Tbsp. fat of your choice (coconut oil, olive oil, etc.)
- Place the fat in a large stockpot and melt on medium-high heat. Add the fresh onions, carrots and celery and sauté until the onions begin to get translucent. Turn down the heat to low and let the veggies “sweat” for about 10 minutes more. This will add great flavor to your broth.
- Add the remaining veggies, herbs and spices and enough water to cover the veggies (about 13 cups – you may need to add more or use less depending on the amount of veggie scraps you use).
- Gently heat to a slow boil, and turn the heat down to low. Partially cover and let the broth cook for about 1 to 1 ½ hrs.
- Once your broth is perfect for your taste, turn off the heat and let it cool slightly. Remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon and compost. If there are still more vegetables, you may need to strain your broth through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth.
- Store in containers and let cool completely. Refrigerate overnight and then freeze the next day.
- IMPORTANT: If you are using glass, be sure to leave about an inch of headroom for the liquid to expand in the freezer. Also be sure not to seal the lid tight, as this could cause so much pressure that the glass will break in the freezer.
Have you made homemade broth with scraps? What are you favorite tips and tricks? Let us know in the comments so we can all learn!