Of course you can buy vegetable, chicken or beef broth in the grocery store, but why spend the money when making your own is so easy? The benefit of making your own broth is that you can use up all the vegetable scraps you would normally throw away, reducing your food waste and making the most of your food budget.
Vegetable broth is a very forgiving recipe. Collect all your veggie scraps – celery leaves, onion skins, carrot tops, mushroom stems, green onion ends, and herb stems – in a zip-top freezer bag. Add those last few stalks of celery that went limp before you used them and the extra 1/2 cup of onion you chopped for last night’s dinner recipe. Just stay away from broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, which will give your broth a strong flavor, rather than the rich but subtle flavor of a good broth. Combine the vegetable scraps in a slow cooker with fresh herbs and water, and you’ve got homemade practically free broth in just a few hours.
Freeze this broth in ice cube trays or in 2- or 4-cup portions for future recipes. The prepared broth will keep in the refrigerator up to 5 days or freeze up to 3 months.
This is a basic vegetable broth recipe, but remember that you can easily use whatever vegetable scraps you have on hand. If desired, roast the vegetables at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes before adding to the slow cooker for an even richer flavor.
- 2 large onions, coarsely chopped
- 6 large carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 6 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
- 1 lb white mushrooms, halved
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled
- 10 fresh parsley sprigs
- 6 fresh thyme sprigs
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 8 whole black peppercorns
- 4 quarts (16 cups) water
- Combine all ingredients (except water) in a 6- or 7-quart slow cooker.
- Add water.
- Cover and cook on Low 6 hours.
- Strain through a colander set over a large pot.
- Strain again through a fine sieve or colander lined with cheesecloth.
- Cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.