The base to many great recipes is a savory broth. Yes, you can use store-bought broth, but you’ll also be buying broth that is generally chalk full of salt and preservatives. You can make your own homemade broth, using kitchen scraps that might otherwise go to waste. It’s an easy and cheap way to get broth and to get the most out of your produce. Just collect scraps in a container and store in your freezer until it’s full of scrappy goodness!
So let’s get started…
If all you have is carrots, celery, onion, garlic you have the base to a great broth. Our broths can involve all sorts of variations depending on what we used throughout the week. Other additions can include bay leaves, thyme, parsley, and peppercorns. Sweet potato peels are a great way to get additional vitamins in your broth, they also make it tasty! You can add mushrooms, peppers, dark greens, leeks…guys the list goes on. It’s really about what you have on hand and what your tastes are, be sure to make it your own and experiment!
Things to go easy on:
- Cruciferous veggies tend to produce a bitter broth so we don’t tend to use a lot of them in our broths, a piece of cabbage or a few stalks of broccoli or cauliflower is fine but make sure these just make up a small portion of the veggies.
- Potatoes cause broth to be starchy so are not recommended
- Onion and garlic skins are rich in nutrients, but adding too many can turn your broth bitter
- Herbs add wonderful flavor but can be overpowering, be mindful of the flavor you are going for with the broth.
- Beets add a delicious sweetness but also turn the broth a vibrant red, so consider what you will be using the broth for (ie white rice will turn pink if cooked in beet broth).
- Lettuce is not a good idea, it’s way too watery
All that said, we really aren’t too picky about what goes in the scrap bag.
Here’s what went into this batch:
- Carrot peels and chunks
- The ends of zucchini
- Onion pieces (skins included)
- Stems of rainbow chard
We added peppercorns, salt, and a bay leaf, as well as a small amount of basil and dill
Optional step: quickly sauté onion and garlic before adding. This can help bring out extra flavor. Another optional step is to chop the vegetables into smaller chunks, thereby increasing surface area for maximum brothy goodness!
Dump your scrap bag into your crock or large pot, we like using our crockpot for minimum hassle. Add water, add at least enough water to cover all the vegetables. More water = thinner broth so it’s your call on how much you want to use. A one gallon freezer bag full of veggies will mostly fill a 4.5 quart crockpot. This tends to be a good ratio once covered with water.
If using a crockpot, you can start this process before going to work or before bed. Let it simmer on low slow for 5-8 hours. Low and slow is the best way to bring out flavor! If you’re doing this over the stove, you’ll need to be present for the duration of the broth simmering. You can also decrease cook time by a couple of hours. The best way to determine when it’s done is by tasting. Warning: your house is going to smell delicious once that broth gets going!
After the broth is cooked for the appropriate amount of time, be sure to let it cool. That pot is hot! Strain the broth using a mesh strainer or colander with small holes. We like to store ours in mason jars, you can also pour the COOL broth into gallon Ziploc bags and lay flat to stack. This is a great way to save space in the freezer. Another trick is to pour broth into ice cube trays and pop them out when just a small amount is needed.