Kitchen scraps aren’t just meant to be tossed in the compost. In fact, one of the best cooking staples is made from shards and leftovers of random food-stuffs. Easy and big on flavour, making your own broth is one of the best thing you can do in your kitchen creating.
Broth is one of those ingredients that can be added to anything. Used instead of water, it adds flavour to cooking grains, such as rice, quinoa, or barley. It can lighten the fat in a dish when a few dashes are added to saute your favourite vegetables. It’s a great base in homemade stir-fry sauces, and adds flavour to your soups and stews.
Homemade broth takes it a step further. First, it contains no additives, and because you’re making it from scratch, you can control the sodium content, usually the main contender in what makes most store-bought brands not up to par. It also much more cost efficient, because you’re not spending any money on pre-made varieties, and you’re using every last bit of your grocery store purchases.
Tips and Techniques
- Use cold water when starting to make your broth
- Feel free to use additional seasonings, depending on the tastes you like best. Lemon peel, sage, and turmeric add a nice touch.
- Don’t use starchy vegetables like potatoes
- Always make sure that the ingredients are covered with water while they simmer. If it reduces too much, top with enough hot water just to cover it.
- Large chunks of vegetables with cut with large surface areas are best to use.
- Don’t use celery leaves – they are extremely bitter in broth making (along with cabbage, broccoli, and greens)
- If you want an Asian flavoured broth, add a small knob of fresh garlic, cut into 1” pieces.
- Cheesecloth is the easiest way to strain the broth; otherwise, use a fine mesh strainer.
- For a richer broth (without using scraps), first roast the vegetables until caramelized
The easiest and cheapest way to make your own broth is saving kitchen scraps in the freezer. And if you live in an apartment without a compost, or an area without an organic waste program, then this is a great way to reduce waste in your home, too. Adopt the idea of a Broth Bag, and you’ll find the convenience of having broth on hand adds a nutritious (and free) form of flavour that you’ll never want to be without again.
Basic Vegetable Broth (using kitchen scraps)
1 Broth Bag (see below)
8 cloves garlic
6 sprigs fresh parsley
6 sprigs fresh thyme
a few bay leaves
10 peppercorns (optional)
1 teaspoon salt (to taste)
2 quarts water
Whenever you peel any vegetables or chop off the ends, put the parts you’d discard in the Broth Bag. Include flavourful vegetables, like onions, celery, carrots, mushrooms, corn cobs, leeks, asparagus ends… Keep going until it’s full. Onions, carrots, celery and garlic are key.
Once it’s full, empty the contents of the bag into a large stock pot, and bring to a boil. Reduce and let simmer for about an hour. Strain, and freeze in portions.