Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Kitchen DIY: Veggie Broth From Scraps

This is another great kitchen DIY that you can tackle whenever you have some spare time.  It only requires a few minutes of actual hands-on prep time and it's basically free.99!

I love knowing where my food is coming from.  I'm always trying to whittle down my kitchen rituals and recipes to the bare minimum and most simple, fresh ingredients.  This is good for the health and the wallet.

It can be a bit pricier to buy all organic, but I get what I can manage and use the "Dirty Dozen" and "Clean 15" lists as a guide.  These helpful lists let you know when you should try to buy organic and when it's unnecessary.

With this DIY I am getting more for my money.  By making your own veggie stock you'll be reducing your household's food waste by using the produce scraps that you might normally throw in the trash and getting a quality product out of that waste - FOR FREE.

So why not?!  This process is so simple and I really hope you'll give it a try!

I start off with a decent sized tupperware bowl that has a fitted lid.  Every time I find myself cutting up veggies for dinner, I just have my bowl out next to my cutting board and throw the scraps in that instead of in the trash can.

Throw everything in there.  Just make sure that you rinse your produce well beforehand.  I end up with mainly carrot, celery, and onion because they are such a great base in so many recipes.  I use them A LOT and always have some in my fridge.

In this batch I have celery ends and leaves, green onion ends, carrot tops and peels, onion and garlic pieces and peels (yes even the 'papery' outside,) and the tops and seeds from bell peppers.  Seriously, you can use everything!  Maybe not jalapenos, but that's up to you.  ;)

Chances are you're not going to fill up your bowl right away.  After I add my scraps to it, I keep it in the freezer, taking it out to add more any time I have more veggies to cut up.  When the bowl is filled it's time to make stock!

You'll need a big pot to boil it all in.  Anything that will hold at least a gallon of water will work.  I use this stock pot with the hole-y insert for easy straining.

Just dump all your veggies right in!  You can adjust your flavors depending on what you've got in your veggie collection.  I usually decide to add more garlic so I smashed 5 extra cloves and tossed them in, paper and all.

Then I added some simple spices that I have on hand: bay leaf, salt, and pepper.  Adjust these to your preferences.  I used about 2 teaspoons of each.

Next, fill your pot up with about a gallon of water.

Bring your veggies to a boil and then turn the heat down a bit and let them simmer.  I let mine go for about 3 hours.

And that's all it takes to get your homemade veggie stock started!  It takes awhile to boil, but throw it together in a few minutes and then forget about it while you get other things done around the house.  It's that simple.  Great for a lazy Sunday or day off ritual.

After 3 hours of simmering, I have this:

Turn the heat off and forget about it once again until your stock is cool enough to safely handle.

Strain it into another bowl using a colander.  This will take care of all the big chunks of vegetables.  I use a spoon to squeeze as much liquid from the leftover veggies as possible.  Don't want to leave any flavor behind!

Once I have all the bigger pieces out, I use my glass measuring cup to carefully pour the stock through a fine mesh strainer and into my plastic containers.  (You can use a cup, ladle, or just try pouring straight from your pot!  Work with whatever you have on hand.)  This takes care of any remaining little bits that are in your stock.  If you don't mind them, you can always skip this step.

Here's an example of what I had leftover in my strainer after pouring the whole batch through it.  This just takes care of the bay leaf bits and any seeds or small debris leaving a pure and smooth broth.

And that's it!  With what I would've tossed in the garbage, I now have 4 quarts of simple, healthy veggie broth on hand for practically NO COST and little effort.  There's no beating that.

I keep them in the freezer unless I know I'll be using some right away.  That way I always have some on hand.  It's great to have a stash when I need it and can be a lifesaver when I want a quick dinner fix.


I'll be trying out this delicious sounding sauce from Pinch of Yum for tonight's dinner, using my homemade veggie broth as the base!  I can't wait to try it.

Is this something that you'll start doing?  What would you make with your homemade veggie broth??  If you have a great recipe, feel free to share!

Thanks for reading!

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