Homemade Vegetable Broth From Scraps
Save those veggie scraps! Make the best homemade vegetable broth from veggie scraps you would have normally just thrown away.
If you’ve ever wondered how you could use up vegetable scraps instead of throwing them away, you can use them to make a delicious vegetable broth. You can use the vegetables that you already have on hand or veggie scraps that you gather from cooking, and the broth will be delicious. Making vegetable broth is also a great way to get more nutrients into your diet, it’s basically free since you’re just using scraps you would have normally thrown away, and using it in other foods makes your other food taste better. Another benefit is that store-bought broths or bouillon can be quite high in sodium, but by making your own broth, you can control the amount of salt that is used and adjust it to your taste.
What Is Vegetable Broth Made Of?
Vegetable broth is made of water, vegetables, and seasonings which are simmered until flavors and nutrients are extracted into the water. It’s a flavorful and nutritious base for soups, stews, and other dishes. And, since it’s packed with vitamins and minerals, it’s a great ingredient to use for those looking to add a healthy boost to their cooking.
What Is The Difference Between Broth Or Bouillon?
Vegetable broth is made with vegetables and water, and is usually in the form of a liquid; whereas bouillon is made with dehydrated vegetables, flavorings, and salt and is usually in more concentrated forms like a cube, powder, or paste. Homemade vegetable broth is always the healthier option because it doesn’t have the added salt and preservatives that bouillon typically has. Also, sometimes the bouillon that you buy in a store isn’t even made from real vegetables and is just made from autolyzed yeast extract and other artificial flavorings.
Is Vegetable Broth Healthy?
Vegetable broth is packed with essential vitamins and minerals that can help you stay healthy and energized. Vitamins and minerals are essential for your body to function properly, and vegetable broth is an excellent source of many of them. Vitamin A from carrots helps your eyesight; Vitamin C from peppers, tomatoes, or broccoli can help your immune system; and Vitamin K from green leafy veggies helps your bones stay strong.
Minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium are also found in vegetable broth, which can help your muscles and nerves function properly. Vegetable broth also contains antioxidants, which help to protect your cells from damage. All of these vitamins and minerals come from the vegetables used to make broth such as carrots, celery, onions, and garlic.
Is Vegetable Broth Vegetarian?
Vegetable broth is typically vegetarian, this is especially true if you make the broth yourself. However, there are products in stores marketed as vegetable bouillon that contain dairy ingredients like whey powder, so vegetable broth may not always be vegan.
Vegetables That Make A Great Broth
A good base for vegetable broth includes carrots, celery, onions, and garlic, as well as herbs like parsley and thyme. You can also use mushrooms to add a nice savory umami flavor, kale, spinach, chard, beet greens, bok choy, cabbage, broccoli, or cauliflower. You could also add tomatoes, green beans, zucchini, eggplant, green bell peppers, red bell peppers and so much more. Herbs like rosemary, sage, marjoram, oregano, and bay leaves are also great things to add for more flavor.
Vegetables You Shouldn’t Use For Broth
- Anything spicy or super bitter like the pith and seeds from peppers.
- Anything really starchy like potato skins, these can make your broth cloudy.
- Anything with a slimy texture to it like cucumber, okra, or aloe.
- You also shouldn’t use anything moldy or rotten.
How To Add Additional Flavor Vegetable Broth
The best way to add flavor while making vegetable broth is to use dried herbs like parsley, rosemary, or thyme. Simply add about half a tablespoon of your favorite dried herbs or spices for each gallon of broth that you’re making, then simmer this with the vegetables.
Some Ideas For Adding Flavor:
- Add dried thyme and rosemary.
- Add mushroom powder and Asian five spice.
- Add ginger and turmeric powders.
What To Use Vegetable Broth For
After you make vegetable broth, you can use it as a base for any soups, stews, sauces, and other dishes to add a nice depth of flavor. Or you can just drink it like tea for the health benefits.
I like to use it in this recipe for homemade black beans, or for homemade ramen.
How To Save And Store Veggie Scraps
Whenever you’re peeling or chopping vegetables for your meals, save all of the leftover scraps in something like a gallon freezer bag. Keep any of the bits you normally wouldn’t put in your food — like celery stalk leaves, onion and garlic skins, carrot peels, the stringy stem of green beans that you might pluck off, or the fibrous base of the asparagus stalk that’s impossible to chew. Once the bag is full, you can make delicious vegetable broth with it!
You’re probably not going to fill up a whole gallon bag with veggie scraps in a single day, but over the course of a few weeks or a month of cooking, you can amass quite a lot.
How To Store Veggie Scraps
- Keep a gallon bag in the freezer.
- Add vegetable scraps to it whenever you cook.
- Once you fill the bag, roast and boil the scraps for vegetable broth!
What Is Needed To Make Vegetable Broth
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- Lined sheet pans or cookie trays for roasting veggies.
- A pot with a lid that can hold a gallon or two of liquid.
- A colander, sieve, or mesh strainer for separating the vegetables from the liquid.
You can use a pressure cooker like the Ninja Foodi or Instant Pot instead of a pot.
How To Make Vegetable Broth
Once you have a bag full of veggie scraps, you can thaw it to room temperature overnight in the fridge, or by leaving it out on a plate on the counter in a warm spot in your kitchen for an hour or two before roasting.
Thawing frozen vegetables prior to roasting helps them cook evenly and helps to prevent them from sticking to the baking sheet, though this may still occur particularly with onion and garlic skins. I recommend using a liner for the sheet pan, like parchment paper or a silicone sheet pan liner.
Scatter the contents across two sheet pans and lightly drizzle some oil over the vegetable scraps. Try not to pile them too high, then roast the scraps in a preheated oven at 425°F (205°C) for fifteen to twenty minutes or until the edges are lightly roasted and the veggies are soft.
Roasting vegetables caramelizes their natural sugars and brings out their flavors, making them taste sweeter and more complex.
For The Stovetop:
Add the roasted vegetables to a large pot along with any herbs you would like to add. Add enough water to cover the roasted vegetable scraps and any herbs or spices you’d like, then bring the pot to a boil and let it simmer for about an hour. After an hour, strain the broth to remove the veggie scraps, then just add salt to taste.
In the photo above, I added about a teaspoon each of dried rosemary and thyme.
For The Instant Pot, Ninja Foodi, Or Other Pressure Cooker:
To make this vegetable broth in a pressure cooker like the Instant Pot or Ninja Foodi, add the roasted vegetables with any herbs and spices to the pot, then fill it with water up to the max fill line. Pressure cook on low for 40 minutes, manually releasing the pressure when the time is up by turning the pressure release valve. Allow the pressure to fully escape before opening.
After simmering the vegetable scraps and herbs, filter the vegetable broth using a sieve or colander to remove the scraps. Then add salt to taste. If the broth tastes slightly bitter, add a sprinkle of sugar. If it’s strongly flavored, add water to dilute it.
Once the vegetable broth is filtered and seasoned, you can use it for anything you like.
Vegetable Broth From Scraps Recipe
- 1-gallon baggie filled with vegetable scraps
- 2 Tbsp olive or vegetable oil
- 1/2 Tbsp of dried herbs (optional)
- salt and sugar to taste
Preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C). Scatter the vegetable scraps across two lined sheet pans and lightly drizzle with oil. When the oven is preheated, bake for 15-20 minutes or until the veggie scraps are lightly roasted.
Transfer the roasted vegetable scraps as well as any herbs you wish to add to a large pot and add water, enough to cover the veggie scraps. Bring it to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour.
FOR PRESSURE COOKER, INSTANT POT, OR NINJA FOODI:
Transfer the roasted vegetable scraps as well as any herbs you wish to add to the pot of your pressure cooker and add water to the max fill line. Pressure cook on low for 40 minutes, manually releasing the pressure when the time is up by turning the pressure release valve. Allow the pressure to fully escape before opening.
Filter the broth with a strainer or colander to remove the scraps and herbs.
Season to taste with salt and sugar, then use for your favorite recipes.
Note: If the flavor of your broth tastes strong like an over-steeped tea, adding more water to dilute the broth will help to counter this.
Note: If your broth tastes slightly bitter, a light sprinkle of sugar will help to counter any bitterness.
Note: To add salt to taste, start by adding half a teaspoon of salt, stir, then taste. If it needs more, add another half teaspoon, then taste again. Repeat as necessary.
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