Make Your Own Vegetable Broth

One of the biggest things I am trying to be better at is stretching my produce to last as long as it can. Unfortunately, I do not have the space to compost and my building isn't included in those brown compost bin pick ups that the city does. However, I still wanted to find a way to do something with some of my vegetable scraps. So while I saw many folks making beautiful broths with their chicken bones, I decided to do the same for my vegetables! A box of veggie broth can go for $4-5 here but if I can make it for free with what I already have, it seemed like an obvious small and easy project to do. 

My biggest pro-tip is just putting all your scraps into a one-gallon Ziploc bag and have it hang out in the freezer until it's full. This will yield you at least 2 liters of broth, which you can store in the fridge for up to one week, or in the freezer for a month. My freezer broth has date labels so I know when to use it by! 

Here are some vegetable scraps you can throw in:
  • Garlic
  • Onion (all layers!)
  • Shallots
  • Carrot
  • Mushroom stems
  • Herbs (this one has thyme, scallion nubs, cilantro stems, and parsley stems)
  • Celery 
  • Bell peppers
  • Tomato (without seeds)
  • etc. etc. 
Here are some vegetable scraps you shouldn't throw in (because it'll cloud the flavor/get bitter/etc):
  • Hot peppers
  • Squash
  • Potato (skins in small quantities are OK though)
  • Some greens like broccoli, cabbage or bok choy
  • Radish
Use your best judgement for anything I don't list here (because most of it will be pretty good, in small quantities--which, if you are dealing with scraps, is usually the case anyway!). 

Once your Ziploc bag is full, dump it into a Dutch oven (or other pot) and fill it up with water until it just immerses your vegetable scraps. At this point, I also throw in a few peppercorns (8-10) just to give it another depth! Simmer on medium for 30-40 minutes and strain. If you're not using immediately, refrigerate it! Wash out your Ziploc bag and start again! 

Vegetable broth gives your meals (that call for chicken broth or water) that extra flavorful boost. I'm excited to use it in my kimchi jjigae this week! 


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