Great Vegetable Broth Discovery
by Jeanie Rose, aka “Mom
Bone broth was my introduction to good stock, then I discovered vegetable broth. The vegetable broth came into my kitchen by reading Adelle Davis’ Let’s Raise Healthy Kids and Let’s Cook it Right. At the time I had kids and a garden – a good combination. So when I read Adelle’s description of how to harvest the water soluble vitamins and minerals from vegetable scraps, I was all ears, so to speak. What a lovely discovery! What had gone into the compost pile had one more stop: the stock pot. I used this veggie stock in everything but ice cream. God bless Adelle Davis!
Vegetable Broth Method
- This process is very simple and produces great quantities of nutritious broth, especially if you have your own organic garden. Collect the trimmings from whatever veggies you are preparing: potato peelings, onion skins, garlic skins, trimmings from any salad or cooking greens, carrot tops, broccoli skin, outer leaves of cabbage, and on and on. This is a great use for wilted vegetables like celery, asparagus, or green onions, lettuce or any green past its picture-perfect state. Though Amanda tells me not to use vegetables high in oxalic acid (beets, brussel sprouts, carrots, collard greens, parsley, spinach, sweet potato, swiss chard, rhubarb). The oxalic acid will stay in the broth and reduce your body’s ability to absorb minerals.
Of course, you need to make certain that these vegetables are clean before you harvest the scraps or the wilted warriors. You don’t want a dirt taste from an un-scrubbed potato skin, for instance.
- If you have a small family and don’t collect much scrap in preparing one meal, not to worry! Store the trimmings in a bag in the refrigerator as you collect for three or four days. Don’t hold on to them too long, though. They will begin to break down and get slimy. Slimy is out.
- Now, what you want is enough fine scrap to fill your stock pot, good measure, pressed down. Once you have plenty of veggie matter to work with, place it in the stock pot and just cover with cold water. Add a tablespoon of salt. The salt helps to draw out the nutrients.
- Put the stock pot over a medium flame and bring the pot to a boil. Then, place a good fitting lid on your pot and keep it boiling for thirty minutes. This cooking time provides for maximum breakdown for nutrients’ sake. Further cooking can release some bitterness in vegetables like broccoli.
- At the end of thirty minutes, turn off the heat. Keep on the lid.
You’ll be amazed at the aroma coming out of your kitchen. We really have thrown away so much flavor with our vegetable scraps. But this is a new day!
Allow your broth project to sit until cooled, then drain.
My Vegetable Broth Routine
I usually did the veggie broth while I was cleaning the kitchen after dinner. Then I let the pot cool overnight, draining off the broth before breakfast. As the veggie broth cools, even more of the nutrients leach out of the scraps. The color is a bit shocking. Actually, the broth has quite a bit of color. And, the color changes some depending on the predominant vegetables in a given batch of broth. The intensity of the color should give you some idea of the intensity of the nutrients. Pretty amazing!
Toss the cooked scraps into the compost pile or give them to the chickens or pigs. They’ll love you for it.
So what do you do with the broth? Same as with bone broth: a base for gravies, sauces, soups; liquid in casseroles, in soup mixes; cooling liquid for grains, pastas, meats.
Anything you add this broth to will be enriched not just with nutrients, but also with great flavor. As you watch your family savoring their meals, you can be confident that you are not just satisfying their taste buds, but you are also building in them a foundation for great health.
A Note On Vegetable Broth Bitterness
Use this broth by itself or combine it with already prepared bone broth. BUT, if you are going to stew vegetables with bones for hours (or even days), be sure to choose vegetables that do not get bitter in broth such as broccoli, onion skins, and fresh herbs.
So, you can see that this procedure is simple and cost effective…costs you nothing but a little time. Once you get into the routine of saving scraps that you turn into broth, you’ll never be out of this magic potion. Keep a half gallon or so in the fridge, ready to be used. Freeze some for the winter months when the garden is gone for vegetable broth all year round.