Why waste a thing in the kitchen? Vegetable broth from scraps in the kitchen of someone who eats massive amounts of vegetables is a cinch, and can be considered free. Flavor your beans, grains, dry-sautés, and sauces with it, or drink it as an elixir for the minerals and additional nutrition.
Keep a 1-gallon zippered freezer bag in the freezer and throw in the clean veggie scraps as you prepare food throughout the week. When the bag is chock full, get out your 8-quart pan, shake out the frozen scraps, add water to about 2 inches above the pressed-down vegetables, bring to a boil, turn down to simmer, and let it simmer for 1-2 hours.
Strain through a large sieve over a 5-6-quart pot or bowl, lightly pressing the veggies to release more broth. Check for seasoning. Add salt at this point if you are going to use it.
Discard the veggies in the compost bin. Cool the broth and store in the refrigerator in a jar, 1 qt. bottle, or a 5 cup freezer container, filled with 4 cups; use it within a week. The rest, store in the freezer in 4 cup freezer containers to refill your broth bottle (I bought a couple of glass milk bottles for this and my plant milks, on Amazon). I usually get 4-5 quarts from a full 1-gallon bag of veggie scraps.
- Use any vegetables that are wilted and become dehydrated. Even a bit of tomato. If there are rotten spots, cut them off and use the rest.
- Peels of vegetables like sweet and white potatoes, carrots, turnups, (possibly not beets unless you want a red broth).
- Mushroom stems, especially shiitake which have a rich smoky flavor.
- Small amounts cruciferous vegs like broccoli, kale, and cauliflower leaves and stems. Too much and the broth will taste a bit like cabbage.
- Wilted greens.
- Ends and tips of vegetables like zucchini, asparagus, celery, rutabagas, carrots, fennel, etc. I always like to have some carrot or celery, even if it means that I use these whole.
Things to avoid: The dry papery skins of onion and garlic can make the broth bitter. Also, the peels of eggplant, and the stems and leaves of artichokes.
For additional flavor and nutrition, add seasonings plants:
- 2 bay leaf
- turmeric, fresh or powder (this will add a yellow color to the broth)
- a few juniper berries and 7-10 peppercorns
- star anise for a bit of a licorice flavor, great in some Italian dishes like pasta sauce
- peeled garlic cloves
- fresh herbs like parsley, cilantro, thyme, a bit of rosemary
- 1” piece of ginger
Watch me make my homemade vegetable broth: