Money Saver: Make Your Own Clean-Eating Veggie Broth for Free

This is a slightly random topic, but it could change your life. (At least a little bit.)

How often do you cook with broth? I'd estimate that over half of the recipes I cook regularly require some type of broth, whether it be chicken, beef, or vegetable. Since I was a vegetarian for a little over two years, I now default to using vegetable broth in any recipe. It doesn't make much of a difference in the taste, and there's no wondering about the quality of the beef or chicken that was used to make said broth.

But...we're on a tight budget, and we have high standards when it comes to ingredient lists. The average brands of veggie broth contain shady preservatives, or, at the very least, refined sugar in some form (dextrose, fructose, or just plain ol' "sugar"). To get rid of these things, you gotta go organic. And that, unfortunately, will cost you a few dollars more. So. You're looking at around $5 for 4 measly cups of decent vegetable broth. 

It's outrageous. 

What if I told you there was a better way?

It's just like anything else: make it yourself.

But don't run off just yet. It's crazy easy, ridiculously green, AND IT'S FREE. 

Here's what you do. 

You know how every time you chop a zucchini or peel a carrot, there are always leftover scraps that go in the trash? A hard stem? A peel? Or how about those questionable-looking tomatoes that aren't quite edible, but aren't quite moldy and toxic, either. Stop throwing these things away. Instead, put them in a large freezer-safe bag. 

This bag will stay in your freezer. Every time you have a questionable tomato or whenever you chop some veggies and have a little waste leftover, get out the bag and drop them inside. Do this until it's full. 

This could take anywhere from days to weeks to months, depending on how many veggies you and your family consume regularly. Matt and I burn through produce, so we usually have a couple of bags going at once that fill up in a week or two. 

When your bag is full, get out the biggest stock pot you have, dump the frozen veggie scraps into it, and cover with lots of water. I do at least 8 or 9 cups, but I don't usually measure. Throw in a little salt and pepper, a bay leaf, or any other spices you think might be nice. 

Bring the water to a boil. Cover, then simmer for at least two hours while you go do something else productive and money-saving. A couple of hours later, turn off the heat and let it cool. 

Get out a large container, a strainer, and a large spoon. 

Doing a little at a time, pour the veggies into the strainer and mash the dickens out of them with the spoon, squeezing out every drop of liquid that you can. 

When they're drained, then you can toss out your scraps. You're left with this:

TONS of homemade broth. Seriously, this batch made TEN CUPS. You'll need to pour the broth into some freezer-safe containers. Measure out however many cups you think you'll need at a time for future recipes, distribute, label the containers, and pop in the freezer.

We reuse Ziploc bags (there's gotta be a better option?!) and typically divide the broth into two cups per bag. Then we flatten the bags out on a large baking sheet (so they'll freeze evenly) and set them in the freezer.

And that's it. It's a lot easier than it probably looks here. There are no preservatives you can't pronounce, there's no sugar, and's made out of things you were already going to toss out. 

Doesn't get much better than that. 

1 comment

Jessica said...

So easy and cheap! Love it. Definitely need to start doing this! Iffin I ever cook again. :/ (Not kidding, so many tears)