Are you a homemade soup lover? If the answer is “yes,” I bet you’d agree that there’s no such thing as too much broth. So today I made homemade vegetable broth—from leftovers! In the week following Earth Day, I am trying to be especially careful to not waste food.
I used to make most of my soups using chicken broth. This, alas, resulted in a perennial broth crisis. I’d sometimes have to buy organic at the store, but this was pricey—and usually not as good. Finally, I decided to use more vegetable broth.
One result of this decision was a surprising discovery. Homemade vegetable broth can be even better than meat broth! Especially for vegetable soups like Cheesy Cauliflower Confetti or Southwest Pumpkin Black Bean Soup.
And as a bonus, you may be able to make it using ingredients you have on hand—especially if you are a CSA member. Every spring, I am sure to have a drawer full of old carrots, a tub of sprouting onions and some limp celery or celery root. They are just calling out to be used up!
While staple ingredients for homemade vegetable broth are onion, carrot, celery (plus some herbs), there are no rules. Feel free to throw in parsnips or asparagus ends or other veggies that you have on hand. Just avoid cruciferous vegetables like cabbage and broccoli which can dominate the flavor.
After our recent Earth Day celebration, I am especially conscious of food waste. Did you know that:
- In the USA, 30-40% of the food supply is wasted, equaling more than 20 pounds of food per person per month…
- and organic waste is the second highest component of landfills, which are the largest source of methane emissions (source: World Food Day USA)
- Food production and transport uses 10 percent of the total U.S. energy budget, uses 50 percent of U.S. land, and swallows 80 percent of all freshwater consumed in the United States…
- and reducing food losses by just 15 percent would be enough food to feed more than 25 million Americans every year (source: NRDC)
So I feel good to have made homemade vegetable broth with leftover local veggies.
And I’ll feel even better when I turn it into soup! A belated Happy Earth Day to all!
- • 1 cup coarsely chopped onion (about 2 onions)
- • 2 cups coarsely chopped carrots
- • 1 cups coarsely chopped celery (or celery root)
- • 1 teaspoon dried parsley (or a few sprigs of fresh)
- • 1 bay leaf
- • 6 peppercorns
- • ½ teaspoon salt
- • 6 cups water
- Combine chopped vegetables, seasonings and water in a large saucepan or stockpot. Bring to a boil, then simmer until flavorful, about 1 hour. Adjust salt and pepper as needed.
- Strain broth and discard (or compost) the vegetables. Use broth within a couple days or freeze.
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