Homemade Vegetable Broth
Productivity has been at an all-time low in this house for the past week. Thanks to this nasty and stubborn cold, my work assignments have taken me triple the amount of time they normally take due to lack of focus + obligatory cat naps. On the plus side, I feel pretty human today — which is why I can finally bring you this post.
I brewed this veg broth just in time. My husband (who is also sick) and I have been living off of soup and hot toddies for the past week.
Despite the fact that I’m a self-proclaimed engineer on the homemade soup train, it wasn’t until recently that I made my own broth from scratch. (Whut.) I know…
I’ve often felt a wee bit of guilt for not making my own broths or stocks. Growing up, this was something that my Mum did on the regular. Once the chilly weather rolled around, Mum would be boiling chicken carcasses on the stove every few days in order to nourish the fam with her homemade soup. The second my father or I even slightly groaned about feeling under the weather, Mum would have bones boiling over the stove.
Finally, last month, I forced myself into the habit of storing vegetable ends and scraps into a freezer bag and tossing them in the freezer since haste makes waste and, collecting veg scraps in a mostly plant-based home is pretty easy. I *hate* wasting food, so this entire process is a win/win for me. You can definitely use whole vegetables in a veg stock, though.
What vegetables to use
There are no strict measurement rules when it comes to making a veg broth, but you want a fair ratio. Carrots, celery and onions are, hands-down, the holy trinity for any soup base. For fresh herbs, I used basil and parsley simply due to the fact that my plants are growing faster than I can use them. Thyme and bay leaves are also great; they offer a deep herbaceous flavor.
In this particular broth, I used the following:
- 3 carrots
- 1/2 red onion
- 1/2 white onion
- 6 scallions
- 4 celery ribs
- 4 cloves of smashed garlic
- Handful of fresh parsley
- Handful of fresh basil
- 1 tablespoon of full peppercorns
Salt your broth in the end to your own preference. I used 1 tablespoon of salt in mine.
How to make the broth
Scrub + chop your vegetables. Scrub off any visible dirt and roughly chop your veggies if needed. You can keep the peels on your vegetables (even onions) depending on your preference. Once cleaned up, throw your veggies into a stock pot along with your fresh herbs + peppercorns.
Fill your stock pot with water + simmer. The less water you use, the more concentrated the flavor will be. I like to fill my 8 qt stockpot with just enough water to cover the vegetables. This resulted in five nice servings of broth. Once you’ve added your water, set the stockpot over medium heat and bring the pot to a light boil. Once you’ve reached a light boil, bring the water down to a simmer and allow to simmer for at least an hour, stirring occasionally. When not stirring, simply enjoy the aroma filling your kitchen. It will smell amazing.
Strain it. When your hour (+) is up, it’s straining time. Remove the stockpot from the stove and set a strainer over a large heatproof bowl or a large pot. Line the strainer with cheese cloth or coffee filters (optional — this just ensures no little bits are transferred but it’s no biggie if they do) and carefully pour the stock through the strainer, allowing it to catch all of those veggies. Set the veggies aside and let the stock cool. Once cooled, divide the stock into storage containers and store in the refrigerator. If you don’t plan on using them soon, you can store them in the freezer in appropriate containers. Because I’m a soup fiend, I stored all of mine in the fridge right away.