Making Homemade Vegetable Broth

Knowing how to make homemade vegetable broth is a money saver. It also enables those with allergies to certain vegetables to change up the vegetables. Homemade broth can also be made with less salt for those who are looking to reduce the amount of sodium in their diet. Broth can be canned according to the United States Department of Agriculture guidelines, or kept in the freezer for longer term storage.

Vegetable Broth

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil or other preferred cooking fat for sauteing
1 large onion
2 leeks
6 carrots
6 ribs of celery
1 head of garlic
2 bay leaves
sprig of thyme
3 stalks of parsley
10 whole peppercorns
salt to taste
10 to 12 cups of water

Directions:

Wash the outside of all the vegetables thoroughly. Cut the bottom end of the onion off, and chop the onion with the skins on. Chop the carrots, celery, and leaks into similar sized pieces without peeling. Peel off the outer wrapper of the head of garlic and separate the cloves. Leaving the paper on the cloves, smash the garlic with the side of the knife or with your hand.

In a large, heavy bottomed stock pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the chopped vegetables, garlic and a pinch of salt. Cook until the vegetables start to soften, without browning. This should take 3 to 8 minutes.

Slowly pour 10 to 12 cups of water over the vegetables. Add the bay leaves, thyme, parsley and peppercorns. Bring to a boil and cook for five minutes at a full boil. Skim the broth if necessary. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 to 2 hours.

Remove the broth from the heat. Skim again if necessary. Taste and add salt to taste. Strain the mixture through a clean cheese cloth, flour sack towel, or fine mesh strainer into a large heatproof bowl or other receptacle.

At this point chill the broth in the refrigerator. The fat may be skimmed off the top if desired. For a more concentrated flavor the broth can be returned to the pot and simmered for another two hours over medium heat. After reducing the liquid, chill again.

After the broth has completely cooled, it should be ladled into appropriate storage containers. Glass jars for the fridge or to can for the pantry are ideal. Use the vegetable broth within a week if storing in the fridge. Freeze into cubes in an ice cube tray and store in a freezer bag for small, easy to access servings. Alternatively carefully pour the broth directly into a freezer bag, and lay flat on a tray in the freezer until frozen, and then stack. If storing the broth frozen, use within six months.

Alternatively, to be even more frugal, use parts of vegetables from everyday cooking that would otherwise be thrown away or composted. Save peelings of well washed vegetables such as onions, carrots, and potatoes to use. The innards as well as the seeds and center from squash or even the tops of the tomatoes. Save these items in a freezer bag in the freezer until there is enough to use. Substitute the scraps for some or all of the vegetables in the broth, and follow the same instructions.

Use the vegetable broth to make sauces, flavor soups, or to cook starches in for added flavor and nutrients.

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