Over the course of the last year, I have been working to minimize the waste in our kitchen and be as efficient with uses as possible. One thing that now seems obvious to me, but is super cool is making your own vegetable broth. I feel like I’m getting free food every time!
The first step is the easiest. Save your scraps! I save them in a gallon sized zip lock bag in the freezer and when it’s full, it’s time to make broth! Save onion skins, broccoli stalks, cilantro stems, garlic skin, zucchini tops, carrot tops, pepper insides… All those things you used to compost, throw out, or throw down the garbage disposal? Save them! (One exception…do not save your cucumber. It doesn’t really cook well)
The second step is optional. Put all those scraps on a pan and bake them! 20 minutes or so (I’ve never set a timer) at about 350 F is great. My pan looked like this:
The next step is to put it all in your slow cooker. You can do this while the veggies are frozen if you’d like to skip step 1. Stick all those scraps in that slow cooker and then cover it with water. In my slow cooker it takes about 8-12 cups of water depending on the scraps. They do float, so don’t worry if they aren’t submerged. It will look like this:
You can see the steam rising off mine! These have already been cooking for a bit. Some batches have been larger and some have been smaller for me. Let it stew in there on low for about 8 hours. You can cook it longer if you’d like, but it’s unnecessary. At this time, you can also add in a bit of black pepper and salt if you’d like.
You’ll want to keep your veggie broth in the fridge. To be super safe, use it in a week or so. I’ve used some that has been a couple weeks old and it’s been fine, too. You may see some sediment on the bottom of your jars after they sit for a while.
Tip: I’ve noticed that when I use my own veggie broth, I often have to increase the amount of salt I add to my recipe. It’s great because you can really control your sodium intake if you need to! If you’re feeling like it’s tasting funny (keeping in mind that every batch may taste slightly different depending on your scraps), I’d try adding salt first.