Ways To Make Your Own Vegetable Broth

As anyone who has made vegetable broth from scratch can attest, homemade is best. Sure, those cartons of vegetable broth are convenient, but they lack the simmered-in umami and depth that homemade versions offer. Making your own vegetable broth doesn’t have to be complicated or cost a lot of money. In fact, you need little more than kitchen scraps and an hour to make a full-flavored vegetable broth.

Which Vegetables & Herbs to Use

All good broth bases begin with three key vegetables: onion, carrot and celery. From there the possible vegetable combinations are nearly endless, but there are some vegetables that work better than others. Choose vegetables such as leeks, scallions, shallots, scallions, fennel, parsnips, turnips, pea pods, asparagus, green beans or bell peppers. Mushrooms are a great choice. They’re little powerhouses of flavor enhancing  that can impart a lovely umami flavor to broths. Watch out for starchy vegetables like potatoes. Potatoes are very starchy, and when they cook, the starch leeches into the stock turning it cloudy.

Herbs and spices are also key ingredients in any flavorful broth. Use fresh herbs like thyme, parsley, cilantro, basil, ginger or garlic. Dried herbs like bay leaves and peppercorns are also good additions. For a broth with a bite, add jalapeño or Serrano chilies- but sparingly. Chilies can quickly overwhelm the entire stock with their heat. Keep in mind, too many herbs used at the same time may have undesired results. Try different combinations of herbs and adjust each batch of broth based on your preference.

Avoid using cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli or cauliflower as they tend to add an overwhelming bitter flavor to broths. Avoid turnips, rutabagas and artichokes as well. You may also wish to avoid beet roots because they will turn the broth red. Some people recommend avoiding onion skins because they turn the broth brown, but I disagree. Onion skins add a lot of flavor and I don’t mind the lovely, rich brown color of the resulting broth. But if you would prefer a more golden broth, just leave the onion skins out.

Homemade Vegetable Broth - Care2

Tips for Making Your Own Vegetable Broth

The simple beauty of homemade vegetable broth is that it embraces the “waste nothing” kitchen philosophy. Instead of buying vegetables for the broth, use ones that are slightly past their prime or scraps left over from the prep of other meals. Using stalks, leaves, ends, and peelings can be a great way to add flavor while also saving money. Avoid wasting food by storing scraps in a gallon-size Ziploc bag in the freezer- you’ll have enough scraps to make broth once it’s full. To make two quarts of stock, you’ll need roughly four to six cups of vegetable scraps.

Here are a few additional tips for making a broth that is savory and delicious:

1. Cut vegetables into smaller sized pieces before adding them to the pot. According to some, cutting vegetables into smaller size pieces helps to extract greater flavor from the vegetable.

2. Lightly brown the aromatics. Sweating your aromatic vegetables like onions, celery, and carrots helps them develop a deep, sweet flavor that adds more complexity than just adding them to the broth raw.

3. Start with cold water. The different components of the broth all have varying degrees of water solubility at different temperatures. Starting the water cold and slowly increasing the heat ensures that all of the flavors have a chance to be extracted at just the right temperatures.

4. Simmer, not boil. Speaking of temperature, it’s important. Too high a heat and the delicate flavors will boil off, too low a heat and the flavors won’t be fully extracted. Coax the maximum amount of flavor from the vegetables by gently simmering them. Simmer for about an hour, and then strain the vegetables with a cheese cloth, fine mesh strainer or colander.

Recipes to Try

Now that you know the basics of making your own vegetable broth, here are some recipes to try.

Do you make your own vegetable broth or have a favorite recipe for one? Share them in the comments!

85 comments

Jack Y
Jack Y2 months ago

thanks

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Jack Y
Jack Y2 months ago

thanks

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John J
John J2 months ago

thanks for sharing

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John J
John J2 months ago

thanks for sharing

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Ellie M
Ellie Mabout a year ago

ty

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Jim V
Jim Ven1 years ago

thanks for sharing.

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Melania P
Melania Padilla1 years ago

Great! I found one packaged vegetable broth in my grocery store, but it contains palm oil :(
So I don't buy it, I will try these!

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Jennifer F
Jennifer F2 years ago

Bookmarked this page because I plan on making some after grocery shopping this morning.

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Marie W
Marie W2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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heather g
heather g2 years ago

Winter is soup appreciation time .....

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