Wild Gourd Farm

Organic Gardening in St. Louis City

Frugal Friday: Vegetable Broth

We eat a lot of vegetables. We try to use every last bit of a vegetable before sending it to one of four final destinations: the compost pile, the worm bin, the dogs, or the chickens. To really get the most out of our veggies, we use scraps and peels to make our own homemade vegetable broth.

All you have to do is fill a pot of vegetable scraps with enough water to cover everything, then simmer for a couple hours. We like to keep the water level about 2 inches above the top of the scraps, and add water if needed while simmering. We’ve tried simmering with and without a lid and both yield a decent stock- you will need to add water while simmering if you leave it uncovered.

The great thing is you can use virtually any vegetable scraps, even those you wouldn’t want to put in the compost bin (like onion skins). You’ll definitely want to make sure you use scraps that have been washed and scrubbed clean. We also highly recommend you use scraps from organic produce, as non-organic fruits and veggies can carry high amounts of pesticides and other chemicals in their skins.

We’ve used carrot tops and peels, the tops and bottoms of celery stalks, kale stems, onion skins, garlic peels, broccoli stalks, squash rinds, beet greens, tomatoes, and the like. Some people advise against adding potato peels because they’ll make the broth murky and earthy, but we like it. Dried or fresh herbs like thyme, basil, oregano, and parsley add great flavor, and of course we add salt and pepper toward the end. We’ve even added whole hot peppers or crushed red pepper for extra spice.

After a couple hours of simmering, the water should look darker. Results will vary depending on the amount of water used and the cooking time.  Once we’ve reached our preferred flavor-to-water ratio, we strain out the vegetables with a colander in the sink. Then the broth is poured in containers and frozen.

And here’s a super duper Frugal Friday bonus:

The ladies got to enjoy the warm, cooked veggie scraps on a cold day!

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