Despite our best efforts to reduce our food waste, it can sometimes be impossible to make it through a recipe without throwing away a carrot top or two. While it doesn't feel like much at the time, you’d be surprised by how quickly the waste piles up. But fear not! You can easily transform those leftover vegetable scraps into delicious, homemade vegetable broth in just over an hour.
Vegetable broth can be made with practically any raw vegetable scraps you have, even ones that have gotten slightly soft (as long as they aren’t rotten or moldy). Certain scraps like bell pepper seeds, asparagus, and cabbage leaves could affect the flavor of your broth, and you may find you’d prefer to leave those out. Keep track of what types of vegetables you used and see if you notice a difference in flavor!
To make your vegetable broth you need at least four cups of chopped, raw vegetables, a large pot, water, and some vinegar. Place the vegetable scraps in the pot, add water to cover, and a splash of vinegar. Bring to a low boil and simmer for about an hour, or until you notice a change in color, and that’s it! It really is that easy!
Making vegetable broth at home gives you total control over the flavor and sodium content of your broth. You can use whatever vinegar you have on hand, and might find that you prefer the flavor of a particular kind of vinegar. Vinegar is the key ingredient that helps pull nutrients out of the vegetables and into the broth, so don’t forget it! The peels and ends of garlic and onions are a great way to add flavor. If you want to build the body of your broth, try adding chopped potatoes or yams (leave the skins on for added nutrients).
Leftover vegetable broth can be stored in the refrigerator for 7-10 days, or frozen and saved for later. Vegetable broth can be used in a variety of soups, stews, and gravies, and can be a tasty substitution for water when boiling rice or potatoes. Still looking for ideas? Try it with our Moroccan Lentil Chickpea Stew, Vegetable Ramen, or Veggie Lentil Curry in place of water.
Interested in learning more tips for cutting back on food waste at home? Register for one of our free Waste Reduction Classes HERE!
Author: Emily Menshew, Nutrition Education Associate