Every year, we grow a huge garden. It’s what we do. I have a dear friend who came to stay with me a few weeks ago. She taught me a trick she learned in culinary school: How to Make Vegetable Broth. Not only is it ridiculously easy, it’s also healthy, affordable, and resourceful. And let’s be honest. It makes me sound terribly domestic to say I make my own broth. 🙂
What’s that? You don’t grow a garden? No problem. Do you buy vegetables? Carrots, peas, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions? Any of that sound familiar? Great. Let’s get started.
How to Make Vegetable Broth
A lot of vegetable broth recipes require you to buy large quantities of vegetables, boil them down, then throw them away. What a waste! With this recipe, you can use anything that you would normally throw away and turn it into broth.
Don’t believe me?
I’ll show you.
Let me give you a list of things from the garden that usually go to waste (either down the disposal, in the garbage, or back into the garden for mulch).
- Onion peels and tops
- Garlic and garlic peel
- Carrot tops and peels (Even the leafy green part!)
- Tomatoes (tops, bottoms, seeds)
- Bell peppers (tops, bottoms, seeds)
- Cabbage (including core)
- Pea pods
- Celery hearts
- Green beans
- Fresh herbs
Almost anything from your garden or buy from the store can go in your broth! There are two exceptions: beets and starch. Beets will turn your broth purple, which will turn anything you cook purple. Starch will make your broth a milky color, which isn’t exactly appetizing. So NO corn or potatoes/potato peels.
How do you collect all these vegetables for the broth? Keep a large plastic bag in the fridge. As you accumulate vegetable remnants through every day food preparation, put them in the bag rather than in the garbage. When you have a full bag, put all the vegetables in a big pot. For a richer taste, make sure you have onions and/or garlic in the pot! They will add a delicious flavor that will infuse in the broth and the dishes you use it in. Try tossing in some basil, oregano, maybe a little salt or pepper.
Cover everything with water, and turn on medium high heat. Bring it to a boil and let it simmer for about 45 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when the vegetables take on a bleached look with muted, bland colors.
Pull the vegetables out (throw them back in the garden to till in!). Strain the broth through a cheesecloth if you don’t want floaties in your stock. Otherwise, ladle straight into clean jars – pint or quart. The broth should be a clear, rich yellow. The exact color will vary depending on the vegetables you used.
Now, you have two choices. First, you can keep the jars in the fridge and use them within a week. If you don’t think you’ll use them fast enough, process your jars in a pressure canner at 10 lbs, 30 minutes for pints, 35 for quarts. If you have questions about that, contact your local Extension Office.
If you don’t know how to process foods and you don’t think you’ll use three quarts of vegetable broth, just boil smaller quantities of vegetables and you’ll get less stock.
For me, one full bag will make about three quarts, 6 -7 pints of broth.
I Made Vegetable Broth, Now What?
So, you’ve made vegetable broth. What are you going to do with it? Well, do you ever make pasta? Boil potatoes? Make soup or stew? Water down a sauce? Make crock pot dishes that require liquid? Make recipes that call for beef/chicken broth?
Any savory recipe that calls for water, you can substitute this broth for a tastier, healthy option. The possibilities are endless!
What is your favorite thing to grow in the garden? What’s your favorite recipe that you can use this broth in?