Minestrone, white bean and vegetable, or even tomato soup with a grilled cheese on the side — it’s never a bad day for soup. And where there’s soup, there’s broth. The murky, salt flavored liquid purchased in a carton or can it’s often just “good enough.” But vegetable broth is one of the easiest things to make at home is a great way to recycle vegetable scraps. You can use the less desirable parts of your vegetables instead of throwing them in the compost bin. And you’ll elevate your home-cooked soup in the process!
Recycling Vegetable Scraps
As you’re prepping vegetables for a typical meal, pile the scraps into a strainer. Use the tops and bottoms of onions, the ends of carrots and celery, or any part of a vegetable that doesn’t seem that appetizing to chew on. Just avoid cabbage, or anything cabbage-like, unless you’re looking for broth that smells like sulfur and, well, cabbage.
Once you’re finished prepping, give the scraps an extra-thorough rinse. Toss them into a gallon freezer bag with a good seal and store them in the freezer. Repeat this process every time vegetables are prepared until the bag is full.
Make Your Broth
Now that your gallon freezer bag is full of vegetable scraps, it’s time to make broth! Start by dumping all your frozen scraps into a stock pot. Then add 3 or 4 bay leaves, some full peppercorns, dried herbs of your choosing, and a ton of salt. Cover with water and boil for 30 minutes to an hour. Add water if needed, and don’t forget to taste!
When your broth is done, pour it through a strainer into a different liquid receptacle, and bam! You have amazing homemade vegetable broth for free. Your broth should be good for about a week in the fridge, and if it’s not gone by then, you can water your houseplants with it to give them a little nutrient boost. Everyone wins!
Making broth is by no means an exact science, especially considering the contents of the bag will differ almost every time. So don’t be afraid to experiment as you recycle vegetable scraps!
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