Times have changed rather quickly, and while I’m not happy with the state of everything, it has certainly put me in my element. Many people are reaching out online and sharing knowledge about how to make things for themselves and become more self-sufficient. One thing I was recently surprised to learn was that many people aren’t aware they can easily make vegetable broth at home. Even if you have no cooking knowledge, you can do this. I promise!
Vegetable broth makes meals more flavorful and nutritious than cooking things in water. I frequently have a pot of this going in my crock-pot and as such I’ve gotten into a habit of saving the bits and pieces of other vegetables and placing them in a freezer bag and freezing them until I am ready to use them. You can save the otherwise discarded vegetable pieces like onions and garlic including the skins, celery ends, mushroom stems, certain leftovers from juicing, really anything that you would normally put into a broth. Be sure to skip leafy greens as well as anything you wouldn’t want to impart flavor on broth. I recommend starting the habit of saving things so the broth you make is essentially free. But for the sake of those who may not have a freezer stash yet, below is how to easily make veggie broth using whole vegetables.
- Slow Cooker (You can also do this stovetop but it requires more monitoring)
- Cutting board
- Mesh Strainer
- Optional coffee filter
- Slotted spoon
- 1-2 Yellow onion with skin
- 2-4 garlic cloves with skin
- 4-6 pieces of celery
- (optional) 4-6 small mushrooms or mushroom stems
Prepare all of your ingredients. Roughly chop the onion with the skin on as well as the garlic cloves. This will impart more flavor as it allows more of the surface area to come in contact with the water. Wash and chop your celery to a size that will fit in your slow cooker. My slow cooker is small so i cut mine up into 3″ pieces.
Place all of your ingredients into the crock pot and cover with filtered water. The timing from here will depend on your slow cooker and how long you want to wait. When I do this before heading to work for the day I set the temperature on low. When I’m home or in a rush I set it on high to cut cooking time. Place the lid onto the slow cooker and leave for a minimum of 4 hours. Your broth can stay in much longer than this and I find it gets better the longer its left to cook. I prefer 6-8 hours on high and 12 hours if left on low.
Remove all the large pieces of vegetables with your slatted spoon and discard or set aside for composting. Filter the broth using your mesh strainer or place a coffee filter inside of the strainer. Depending on what I’m going to use the broth for depends on the method I choose. If I need the broth to be really clear for certain soups or rice, I use the coffee filter, but if it’s going to be used as a base for something like vegetarian chili I normally skip it.
If you’re not planning on using your broth right away, just store it in an air tight container in the fridge. It should last you close to a week stored this way, but you’ll probably find you use it much more quickly once you discover how much better it is to cook with homemade broth. Making your own broth may not only save you during Covid-19 when shelves are bare at the store, but it also helps save the planet by reducing your food and packaging waste. Try this for your self and add some extra nutrients to your diet.