It’s the never-ending plight of the foodie cook to have a ton of vegetable scraps lying around. If you don’t want to just throw them away, you can reduce to food waste and make them into a nutrient-rich vegetable broth!
I’ve been saved many times by this noble ingredient. It is more or less free to make, because the veggie scraps would otherwise be composted. Vegetable stock is so yummy when put in soups, rice, stir-fries or any other number of dishes. It’s also super flexible, so why not experiment and see what produces your favourite broth? I’ve included a simple recipe below for you to begin with, and some tips after to take your broth to the next level!
Homemade veggie broth from scraps
Basic vegetable stock recipe
Makes about 6 cups vegetable broth
6 cups vegetable scraps such as pepper cores, broccoli stems and carrot peels
8 cups (2 litres) water
Place all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for 30 minutes. Let cool some so that you don’t burn yourself and strain the solids from the broth. If desired, add salt and pepper to taste. (I leave mine unsalted and just add seasoning as I use it in recipes.) The broth will keep well in the fridge for about one week, or frozen for a few months.
How to take your homemade (totally vegan) vegetable stock to the next level
You can definitely survive on a basic vegetable stock like the one above, but why not kick it up a notch? Here are some tips to make the best homemade vegetable broth from scratch, and using only the scraps from your veggies and plant-based foods!
Add great aromas
Much as the leaves of herbs are flavourful and delicious in many recipes, so are the stems when it comes to making veggie broth! Once you’ve cut the parsley, basil or sage leaves off the stems for another recipe, put the leftover stems into your broth for a deeper, more delicious taste!
Keep starches away
The best vegetable broth is a clear liquid with a deep colour. If you find that your stock has a cloudiness to it, it may mean you’ve included some starchy vegetables like potatoes, corn and grains. For the best-tasting broth, try to keep the starches out of your broth and use them for other purposes!
Tick a few boxes
While most veggie scraps will make a beautiful vegetable stock, there are some that are especially important for a full-bodied taste like you find in the broths you’d buy at the grocery. Onion is simply a must, as well as celery and garlic. If you don’t wish to use the main part of these veggies, you can use: onion greens or the papery, outside skins; garlic greens, scapes or skins from the cloves; and celery leaves and the centre stalks that are too small for some other uses. Bay leaves also add a really nice taste as well, so you can add one to a batch of broth for a deeper flavour.
Cook slowly and steadily
The best broth comes from cooking the stock for a long period of time at a low simmer. Over-heating it can give it a bitter flavour, especially if you cook it for a long period of time. For best results, try putting your broth in a slow cooker on low heat, or cook it in a lidded pot on the stove on the lowest heat you can in order to maintain a simmer.
Now that you’ve got these tips and tricks up your sleeve, do you feel like a pro? What’s the secret ingredient in the best vegetable broth you’ve ever had? Let us know in the comments!