How to Make Vegetable Broth (With Kitchen Scraps!)

How To Make Vegetable Broth with Kitchen Scraps
Making vegetable broth is one of those things that’s really easy to do, but I bet most of us don’t do it. Or, at least, don’t do it often. I use vegetable broth in a lot of my recipes, but I’ll be honest, I often use store-bought broth. But I shouldn’t because making your own vegetable broth is so, so easy. And you know what else? It tastes so much better too.

Unlike meat-based broths, there’s no skimming off fat or any of that ickiness. You don’t need to keep the pot on the stove for hours either. But it does require a little bit of advance planning. It also requires these three things:

Onions + Celery + Carrots Onions (or a member of the onion family–leeks or shallots work too), celery, and carrots. That’s your starting point, but from there, you can tailor your broth to what you’re going to be using it for. Add sprigs of thyme and parsley to make a cooking liquid for rice and other grains. If you’re going to be using the broth as a base for an Asian-inspired soup (like this Thai Red Curry Soup), try adding fresh ginger and lemongrass.

Bag of Vegetable Scraps
Now, back to that thing I said about advance planning! You can buy whatever you want for your broth, chop it all up, and put it in your stockpot, but I’m cheap and it kills my soul a little to think about throwing away all those perfectly good veggies. It’s bad enough I have to throw away the onions, celery, and carrots! So instead of buying what I need, I collect scraps in a freezer bag and when I have a few cups worth, I use them to make broth. Here’s what I used in this particular batch:

Frozen Scraps for Vegetable Broth
But really, you can use so many different things. You do want to stay away from cruciferous veggies–no cabbage, no broccoli, no cauliflower, and for the love of all things holy, no brussels sprouts–because they can leave bitter flavors in your broth. Make sure everything you use is clean too–you don’t want to make dirt soup! And remember, there’s a difference between things you don’t want to eat vs. things you shouldn’t eat. Clean carrot peel is fine in a broth or stock; a moldy carrot is not.

Vegetable Broth Made with Kitchen Scraps
Oh, and speaking of stock! Have you ever wondered the difference between vegetable broth and stock? Broth is seasoned, while stock is not. So this recipe can be used for both vegetable broth or stock. To make stock, skip adding salt and pepper at the end.

Basic Vegetable Broth

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Yield: about 6 cups of broth

Basic Vegetable Broth

Don't throw away those vegetable scraps! Use them to make your own delicious vegetable broth instead. It's easy and it's so much cheaper than buying broth at the grocery store.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 8 cups water
  • Frozen vegetable scraps (2-3 cups is a good amount)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • A few sprigs of parsley and thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste (omit these if you're making stock)

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat. Add the garlic, onions, celery, and carrots. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the water, frozen vegetable scraps, bay leaves, parsley, and thyme. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for 45 minutes. Pour the broth through a fine mesh strainer into a large heat-proof bowl or pot; discard solids. One the broth has cooled, transfer it to airtight plastic containers or freezer bags and store it in the freezer. (I usually freeze it in 2-cup portions so I don't have to thaw all the broth every time I use it.)
http://ohmyveggies.com/how-to-make-vegetable-broth-with-kitchen-scraps/

This post was originally published on January 8, 2013.

Kiersten Frase

About Kiersten

Kiersten is the founder and editor of Oh My Veggies. She loves cooking, trashy reality shows, and Hello Kitty. Kiersten also blogs about blogging at kierstenfrase.com.   Read more from Kiersten →

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Comments

  1. MYL says

    What are you referring to specifically when you reference Frozen vegetable scraps (2-3 cups is a good amount) what type of frozen vegetable?

  2. Karyn says

    Thank you for this! I love being able to use my scraps and have home made stock/broth :)

    One question – I don’t have a fine enough strainer (yet), so I’ve been using cheese cloth, but it take a lot of muscle to squeeze all the broth through and it ends up getting very messy. Do you (or any readers) have a suggestion of how to ‘press’ out the broth?

    If you use the strainer, do you get enough broth by just letting gravity strain it through? I am just trying to waste as little as possible.

    Thanks again.

    • Kiersten Frase says

      I think a cheese cloth is a great solution! Instead of squeezing it like you’re doing, I’d probably use it to line a colander. With the strainer, I use a wooden spoon to press all the veggie remains against the mesh to extract all the liquid I can get out. You can do the exact same thing with a cheese cloth-lined colander. :)

  3. Sarah says

    You said carrots are a must. But my son can’t have carrots. Is there another root veggie that I could use instead of carrots?

  4. M says

    Hi! Thanks for the “recipe”. I’m really looking forward to start doing my own broth! I would just like to know how much time does it keep.
    Thanks!

  5. janine says

    Can I make this in a crock pot? Saute the onion, carrot and celery and then transfer it to a crock pot?

  6. Mithun says

    For how many days can we store the prepared broth in refrigerator? Can I prepared the broth in weekend’s and drink it over week days? Thank you Kiersten

    • says

      Hi there, the broth should keep in the fridge about 3-4 days—-although you can freeze it in small portions and keep thawing new ones in the fridge as you need them!

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