July 30, 2012

Homemade Vegetable Broth

You know what is easy? Making your own broth. Seriously, easy.

In the past I've made chicken stock when I have chicken bones, but let's be honest, I almost never buy chicken with bones in it. And also, chicken stock has a lot of grease in it and so I always want to chill it first, and then scrape the layer of cold fat (yum!) off the top before I freeze it. So, you know, I just make it without the chicken instead. And I never notice a difference when I use it in a recipe (except that homemade broth is WAY less salty than commercial broth, so you'll probably need to add more salt to your final recipe than you would otherwise).

You can also use pretty much whatever vegetable bits you have laying around (I keep them in a yogurt container in my fridge for a week or two until I've gathered a reasonable supply). Broccoli, bell peppers, the stems of greens, zucchini are all fair game - the only thing I've ever used that I didn't like was bok choy because I don't really like bok choy to begin with and I felt like it overpowered the whole pot. Don't use potatoes, either, because it'll give you a weird texture.

Homemade Vegetable Broth or Stock

Makes about 3 quarts

Outer layer and tops/bottoms of 2-3 onions
Tops of 4-5 celery ribs
Peelings from 5-6 carrots (or 3-4 carrots, roughly chopped)
Other vegetables as desired
1-2 garlic cloves (minced or sliced or smashed)
A handful of cilantro or parsley
1-2 bay leaves
1 t whole peppercorns
1 T Salt

Put all the ingredients in a large pot (I use one that's about 5 quarts), fill about 2/3rds of the way with water, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let cook for about 1-2 hours. Turn off the stove and let it sit for another couple of hours while it cools.

Strain the liquid into containers (bags, jars, cans, etc) and freeze. Lasts for pretty much ever, except that you keep using it up in cooking.

(If you looked in my fridge and freezer, you'd think I was sponsored by Brown Cow because we have a bazillion empty containers of their yogurt and I use them to store everything, but sadly, it's more like our family sponsors them, what with our insane consumption of yogurt).


  1. Janssen, how did you learn this? Just from reading around? I'm really liking the concept but still feel a bit intimidated to know what peelings to put in here without somehow poisoning my family.

  2. I think I will give this a try. I hate spending so much on cans of broth at the store, and I find that chicken bullion cubes dissolved in water is an okay substitution sometimes, but not always. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Awesome! I'm going to try this!

  4. This is one of those things that I never understand why people don't do it. It's easy and so much better than the store bought kind.

  5. I've read that you should always chill the broth before freezing it anyway, to reduce the work your freezer has to do. So I make chicken broth and skim off the fat. But I usually leave the skin out because I feel like that is where most of the fat comes from.

    I've been successfully making broth in my crockpot for years. I almost never have 2 straight hours at home and I can't leave a pot on my stove without my cat checking it out.

  6. Another thing that doesn't work so well in veggie stock? Leeks. Unless you only use one or two leeks, in which case they're ok. But they have an incredibly strong flavor, and can ruin an otherwise delightful veggie stock.

  7. I've made veggie stock as well and thought "This is so easy-I should be doing it all the time!" I haven't made it since but your post reminds me that I should. I like your idea of saving odds and ends from veggies and storing them until you get enough. I will save them from the compost bin. Thanks for this reminder.

  8. And here I've been feeding my compost pile instead of US... SHAME on me! I need to be your crockpot yogurt missionary. It might cut down on your brown cow containers, and you'd be AMAZED at how good it turns out!

  9. Thank you so much for this! I saved our zucchini ends from dinner tonight. I mean business.

  10. I've never made veggie stock before but I should. I've started keeping a bag in the freezer for chicken bones to make stock and sometimes do the same with odd ends of veggies that I would otherwise toss. Although I need to be better for it. But I'd love to hear more about what you would use veggie stock for other than making soups. Do you use anytime you would otherwise be using water?

  11. I just now started doing this today, but I have good reason for not having done it before, and that was the compost pile. That extra step of having to boil and chill this stuff seems like so much more work than telling Eric to periodically bury the compost.


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