Scrap vegetable broth should be a staple recipe for every family.
I love scrap vegetable broth for a few reasons.
First off, it’s a great way to use the bits and pieces of vegetables that you’d usually toss.
Including things like garlic skins and carrot-tops!
(Although I’ve recently discovered how wonderful carrot-tops can be in recipes, but that’s a story for another day.)
Scrap vegetable broth also a great way to snag extra nutrients out of veggies.
And once you have scrap vegetable broth on hand, you can then use it to infuse whole grains, some sauces, and other dishes with more flavor and nutrients.
Basically, the idea of scrap vegetable broth is to save up all of your veggie scraps in the freezer until you’ve got enough to fill a pot.
Then you have the option of adding in extras like carrots, onion, potato, herbs, etc. to round out the flavor and texture.
The next step is just to cover the whole thing with water in a large pot, bring it to a boil, turn it down to a simmer, and wait about 20-80 minutes.
Then strain the liquid out and you’re all set to go!
But what should you include in your scrap vegetable broth, and what should you leave out?
I used to just throw every single scrap I had into my broth.
But after a couple of unfortunate batches, I learned that there are some vegetables that do very well in scrap vegetable broth, and others that can ruin it.
Here are the base ingredients you should always have in your vegetable broth:
An entire sweet or yellow onion, chopped into chunks
A few of carrots, chopped into chunks
Celery, including the leafy bits, again, chopped into chunks
Fresh parsley and/or thyme (about 1 part herb for 8 parts other veggies)
And if you’d like a thicker broth, add a potato too.
Some additional ingredients you can play with for different flavor profiles include:
Fresh turmeric, chopped
Fresh garlic, chopped
No more than an inch/teaspoon of chopped fresh ginger
(Be careful with ginger though, as the flavor can be overwhelming.
But it’s an excellent addition if you’re having any digestive trouble, nausea, or know that you’ll be making something like carrot ginger soup with your broth).
As for your scraps, here are some more ingredients you can put in your freezer bag without hesitation:
Any part of a carrot
Any part of sweet, yellow, or green onions
Any part of a shallot
Any part of garlic
Tomatoes (but avoid using too many seeds)
And here are some ingredients you can choose to include, but with a caveat (generally don’t fill more than 1/6 of your stock with any one of these ingredients):
Asparagus (the flavor is strong, so if you don’t want asparagus broth don’t use too much)
Herbs like basil, chives, cilantro, dill, marjoram, oregano, rosemary (again, the flavor can be overpowering, so don’t use too much)
Winter squash flesh (it will make your stock starchy)
Beets (these are actually fine to include, just be aware that they will turn your broth a dark color. Also, make sure you balance out the sweet flavor with some more pungent ingredients like celery, fennel, and garlic)
Brassicas like bok choy, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, kohlrabi can make your broth bitter if you use too much, so either use them sparingly or avoid them all together.
Cucumber (don’t use too much)
Eggplant (don’t use too much)
Fennel (don’t use too much, unless you want to make fennel broth, in which case it stands on its own and adds an excellent flavor profile to dishes you make with it!)
Green beans (don’t use too many)
Hearty dark leafy greens (especially the stems are great, but don’t use too much or it’ll make your broth bitter)
Peas and their pods
Softer leafy greens like spinach, chard, beet greens, and turnip greens (best if added at end of cooking
Leftover sweet potato chunks or peels
Turnips (don’t use too much because the flavor is very strong)
Winter squash peels and flesh (too much flesh will make your broth starchy, but still delicious)
Zucchini (flavor can be overpowering when you use a lot, but it’s great if you want a zucchini broth!(
Finally, here’s what you should leave out of your scrap vegetable broth:
Bell peppers (they make broth taste funny)
Lettuce (generally too watery and just gets mushy without adding a lot of flavor to the broth)
Red onion skins (in my experience they make broth taste like soap)
And that’s it!
Your broth will stay good in the fridge for about a week, and about 6 weeks in the freezer.
You can use it, of course, to make soups.
But you can (and should) also use scrap vegetable broth any and every time you cook grains, because it’ll add extra nutrients and flavor to your grains.
And in the interest of giving credit where it’s deserved, I altered the recommendations based on my own experience, I have to say thank you to Jennifer of Jennifer’s Kitchen for making a comprehensive (and gorgeous) list of broth ingredients that I used as a jumping-off point for this article.
Now I’d love to hear from you.
Do you use unusual parts of vegetables (like carrot-tops) in any other creative ways? Leave a comment, I’d love to know!
I can’t wait to hear from you.