Making homemade vegetable broth is so easy. If you use it often or have room in your freezer to store it, you should try making it yourself. Homemade broth is less expensive and also has less salt in it. You can control the ingredients and the density of the broth, too.
The vegetables used to make vegetable broth are usually celery, onion and carrots. You can make substitutions, depending on what you have on hand. Add leeks instead of onions, and/or parsnips instead of carrots. You can also throw in clean veggie scraps or peels, and even corn cobs. Keep veggie scraps in the fridge after prepping vegetables to cook, then after a few days, make a broth. Some cooks like to add chunks of fresh tomatoes rather than tomato paste. For flavoring with herbs, you can add fresh parsley or rosemary. Just be sure not to use potatoes or turnips, because they make the water cloudy. And some vegetables like beets, zucchini or green beans get mushy, so avoid using them in broth, too.
Salt and garlic are optional in vegetable broth. You might want to keep the broth fairly neutral in flavor, since you might not know what recipes you’ll be using it in later. In this recipe, the amounts of sodium and garlic are low and won’t make too much difference in the flavor.
The veggies for broth don’t need to be cut up much at all, I leave mine in about 2-inch pieces. Try to use nearly equal amounts of the carrots, onion and celery. I peel my carrots to clean them. Some people just scrub the carrots and don’t peel them. I also throw in clean lettuce leaves.
Before simmering the broth for an hour, I use the method where the vegetables are allowed to warm or “sweat” over heat without any water. It only takes a couple of extra minutes and it makes the flavor a little bit deeper. I also sauté them in a drizzle of olive oil for 2 to 4 minutes after sweating them, to caramelize them slightly. You can also oven roast the veggies for a few minutes before boiling them.
The amount of the resulting broth will be roughly the same as the amount of water you added into the pot, minus any liquid lost in the boiling steam. For instance, I added 6 to 7 cups and got about that same amount of broth after cooking for an hour. You can add more or less water, to make the broth as dense as you like it. Less water equals a denser broth, of course.
If you don’t have peppercorns on hand, just season with 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.
When you move the vegetables from the pot to a bowl, you will take some broth with you, no matter how hard you try to strain them in the spoon. So, once you have poured all of the finished broth through the cheesecloth lined strainer, place your vegetables back into the pot. There will be some broth liquid at the bottom of the bowl the cooked veggies were in. Pour that broth from the bowl through the strainer, too. This way you won’t waste a drop!
For recipes in which to use your homemade broth, search “vegetable broth” in the blog search window. Or try a sampling of the recipes here, listed below: