Soup in general, is my favorite. Winter, summer, I don’t care, bring me the soup.
And FYI people, you can’t make really good soup without good broth.
And homemade broth is the best broth...
When you make homemade vegetable broth using your kitchen scraps you:
practically eliminate food waste
create a gourmet ingredient
You can't go wrong!
Here are 7 reasons you should be making homemade broth on the regular:
1. IT’S USEFUL
Homemade veggie broth is both nutrient dense and flavor enhancing and can be a delicious addition to so many meals. Different kinds of broths (veggie, bone, seaweed, mushroom, etc) can all be used in place of water when cooking rice, legumes or noodles, and broth is an essential ingredient in many sauces, soups and stews.
2. IT’S DELICIOUS
Once you’ve tried homemade you will never want to go back to using water or store-bought. You can even consume veggie broth alone for a low calorie, low glycemic, nutrient dense, easily digestible snack anytime. Try adding hot sauce, toasted sesame oil, chopped green onions, wakame seaweed, etc and don’t forget to season with salt and pepper!
3. IT’S CHEAP
You can make delicious, nutritious, vegetable broth using the kitchen scraps that would normally go into your compost or garbage. It is literally free to make this absolutely delicious ingredient. If you are currently paying $ to buy store-bought veggie broth, you’ll be saving that money and getting a better product for free.
4. IT’S EASY
Homemade veggie broth is super easy to make. (simply throw veg/scraps in water & boil) It’ll stay good for a week in the fridge, or you can freeze for convenient use later.
5. IT’S GOOD FOR YOU
In many cases the skins and stems of vegetables are actually the most nutrient dense part of the food. When we peel and discard these, all those vitamins and minerals (and flavor!) goes to waste… make broth! Broth contains water-soluble vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients (These may be lost when we steam/boil vegetables without also consuming the cooking water) and these nutrients in liquid form are easiest for the digestive system to access and absorb.
6. IT’S ALSO NOT BAD FOR YOU
Homemade veggie broth is free from the added salt, sugar, artificial flavors, colors and preservatives that you’ll often find in commercially made versions. Anytime you swap commercially processed food to homemade food is a bonus.
7. IT’S CATHARTIC
Do you love cleaning out your fridge and also not wasting fresh food and using the old stuff up so you can get on with the new, fresh stuff...? SO. DO. I.
Making veggie scrap broth is a super opportunity to rid your ‘fridge of old fugly limp vegetables that you don’t really want to eat… add garden herbs, spices, limp greens, even certain leftovers can all go right into the stock pot to turn into delicious broth…
Coming soon I'll be sharing some recipes for my favorite homemade vegetarian/vegan soups...
But first... before you can make the most delicious homemade vegetarian soups, you need to know how to make the most fundamentally important ingredient... The Vegetable Broth!
HOW-TO MAKE VEGETABLE SCRAP BROTH
1. Clean vegetables, skins and scraps and put all items into pot.
2. Cover with water.
3. Boil or simmer (can be made fast or slow)
4. Strain out solids
Need broth, like today? Bring to a boil and keep a strong simmer for 1-2 hours.
You can use a slow cooker (or stove) if you prefer simmer low n slow. I often do my veggie broth overnight.
YOU CAN USE
Whole vegetables, fugly vegetables, limp vegetables, skins, stems, scrappy bits, etc. Try: Carrot, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, fennel, cabbage (outer leaves and the heart!), onion and garlic (and the skins) tomato, peas, beans, asparagus, mushrooms, corn (the cob) zucchini, peppers (stems and seeds) apple, leek, spinach, kale, swiss chard, any leafy greens, parsley, cilantro (stems) etc
SOME NOTES ON SPECIFIC INGREDIENTS
Oven roasting or sautéing ingredients - before adding them to the stockpot will add richness and flavor. (delicious but not necessary)
Leftovers - Things like roasted veggies, leftover ends and bits from meal prep and more can go right into the stock pot.
Color - Remember to consider the aesthetic of what you are making. For example, I don’t usually add purple cabbage or beet or dark purple carrots, because the final product would be dark purple or brown. [Not an issue if we are making borscht, definitely an issue if the final goal is creamy white cauliflower soup]
Starchy – I don’t usually include the skins of potato, squash, yam, turnip or other starchy root vegetables but the choice is yours! If you do, remember your broth will be thicker as a result. This could be ideal for a chowder, potato soup or to thicken gravy however.
Apple – I always dig in my fridge for any old wrinkly apples when I’m making broth, you can put those right into your stock-pot! I learned this great trick from a Jamie Oliver book years ago. Apples add a lovely sweet dimension to veggie or bone broth and FYI chicken bone broth with lots of apple skins and cores tastes amazing.
Onion and garlic skins - Onion skins have been found to contain more quercetin than the onion itself and garlic skins are also a rich source of antioxidant nutrients. Throw those skins into your broth! If you happen to have roasted garlic (yum) throw those roasted garlic skins into your broth (double yum). People often miss out on consuming these nutrients as we usually toss the skins.
Herbs & Spices - Try: hot chili peppers, bay leaves, thyme, dill, oregano, marjoram, star anise, allspice, peppercorns, fennel, cumin, coriander but err on the side of subtlety to start and don't forget to consider the ultimate effect these will have on flavor.
Stems – Don’t forget about herb stems from parsley and cilantro, and the thick woody stalks from kale, the ‘heart’ of cauliflower and broccoli, etc. These parts are hugely nutritious and are often left out of recipes (or, gasp, even thrown away) Don’t lose out on consuming these nutrients! Make broth!
Parmesan Cheese Rinds – That hard piece you throw away? Put it into your stock pot to add an incredible flavor and rich element to your broth. [Tip: When freezing parm rind broths I always add a note “not DF” to remind myself in case I’m feeding a dairy free friend or client]
In General– There are many very simple recipes for homemade vegetable broth available online. These recipes usually include some combination of carrot, celery, onion, maybe a leek, and some herbs and spices and done. Wonderful, tastes wonderful. Go ahead and make any version you feel comfortable with.
In my own experience, I have made hundreds of batches of veggie scrap broth, always using an ever-changing combination of skins and scraps and bits and pieces and I’ve never had a ‘bad’ batch.
Don't be afraid to experiment!
SOME EXECUTION TIPS
After a big grocery shop, I like to clean all my produce at the same time. That way, everything is clean and ready for fast and easy meals.
I usually take this as an opportunity to make a big veggie broth; everything goes into the stock pot instead of into the compost bin.
If you don’t cook that often, or you aren’t into cleaning all your veggies at once like I am? You can also collect scraps in the freezer, just keep a bag going until you have enough to make a batch.
You can freeze your homemade veggie broth in anything from ice cube trays, to glass containers, to giant zip lock freezer bags.
Consider how you may want to use it in the future and what size would be most convenient for you to have.
Happy broth making!
Soup recipes to come!