Friday, September 28, 2012

Homemade Vegetable Broth

If you haven't tried homemade veggie broth, you are in for a treat!  We use this stuff for a ton of things.  It's perfect in mashed potatoes, to mix with stuffing, to use as a base for a marinade and as a great soup base.  There are a ton of recipes that use broth; why not make your own?

You first start with your vegetables.  Start saving all those pieces you cut off from the veggies you prepare for your meals.  Throw them into a zip lock bag and freeze them until you are ready to go.  Celery tops and leaves, carrot peels, onion tops and bottoms, vegetables that you won't finish before they go bad, leftovers from meals and over ripe vegetables are all great!  When you get a bag full, it's time to make broth.

You need a HUGE pot filled with water, some salt and your vegetables.

Salt the water to what you like.  We like it salty enough to taste but not as salty as commercial broths.

Keep dumping in your vegetables. . .
. . . and simmer them for a few hours.  We are trying to get every ounce of nutrients out of the vegetables and into the water. 

When the vegetables are the consistency of mush you need to turn the heat off and let the broth cool.  When the broth is cool enough to handle, strain the vegetables out.

You can either freeze the broth or can it in a pressure canner.  (DO NOT WATER BATH THIS. . . there is not enough acid and it won't be shelf stable.)  This batch I froze.

If you put a few cups of broth into a freezer bag and let most of the air out, you can lay it flat to freeze.

Thawing these are very easy.  Put the bag in the sink and run cool water over it.  The broth will thaw in a few minutes, depending on how much broth you put in the bag.

I also put broth into ice cube trays.  When they are frozen, I pop out and put into a bag in the freezer.  These are great for when you just need a little broth (mashed potatoes are our favorite way to use these). 

You can freeze these in jars or freezer containers.  Make sure to allow enough space at the top because it will expand and you don't want your jars cracking.

The great thing about this broth is that you know exactly what went into it.  You know it's good for you and you know it tastes great! 

Don't forget to compost the vegetables or, if you have a weird dog like mine, feed them to your pup!

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