Lately I’ve been trying to buy fewer “convenience items,” especially when they’re things I could easily make myself. In some instances, packaged items are incredibly helpful with cutting down on time & effort spent in the kitchen. But often, buying those convenience items can really drive up the grocery bill.
For a while I thought, “Wow, why am I buying all these things that I could be making myself?” After all, in many cases we’re paying quite a bit extra for that convenience.
What it comes down to is time. When we’re busy, those convenience items are really appealing, even when they do cost more. But in my case, my schedule isn’t so packed that I can’t devote a little more time to giving up the convenience and making some of these things myself.
So I’ve started trying to find the balance between time, skills, & money when it comes to packaged products.
Do I have the time/skills/resources to make my own coconut milk? Not quite. I’ll pick the convenience of buying those cans to keep in my pantry rather than worrying about making it and worrying about how long it will last. Maybe it costs more, but the exchange is worth it.
Do I have the time/skills/resources to make my own vegetable broth? Absolutely! Let’s talk about why it’s worth it to me.
The pros of making my own vegetable broth:
- I know exactly what’s in my broth. I’m a label-reader, and most boxes of broth have unnecessary additives in them. (Not to mention a whole bunch of sodium and traces of sugar!!)
- It’s sooooo much cheaper this way. The store-bought brand I found that had the best ingredient list by my standards is about $4 a quart. And even if I chose a lower-quality brand, it would still cost me about $2. I can make a batch of about 3 quarts of broth at home for less than a dollar!
- It’s easy to make, and it doesn’t require more than a few minutes of hands-on time.
- I’m reducing waste by using vegetable scraps that I previously would have thrown away. Plus this means that I’m not having to throw away boxes or cans every single time I buy vegetable broth.
Ready for the method? Here we go!
How to Make Vegetable Broth
Grab a gallon-sized resealable bag to keep in your freezer. Every time you chop vegetables, throw the scraps into this bag. Here are some ideas of things to save:
- carrot peels
- onion skin
- celery ends
- mushroom stems
- zucchini ends
- tough asparagus stalks
- wilted herbs (cilantro, parsley, green onions, etc.)
The only things I’ve heard you shouldn’t use for this are cruciferous vegetables, as they might make the broth bitter. I haven’t tried using them myself, but consider this before using things like cabbage, broccoli, kale, or cauliflower.
Once your bag is full of veggie scraps, add the frozen contents to a large pot. (I use a 6-quart pot for this.) I like to make sure some carrot peels, onion skin, and herbs always make it into my vegetable broth because I think they provide good flavor, but feel free to experiment!
Cover the vegetables in the pot with 3 to 4 quarts of water–whatever you have room for!
Add salt and whole peppercorns, plus some extras like tomato paste, nutritional yeast, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic cloves. Bring it all to a boil.
Once you’ve reached a boil, reduce the heat, cover the pot, and let the vegetable broth simmer for 1 to 2 hours.
Strain the broth, pour it into glass jars, and let it cool. I typically throw a jar or two in the fridge to use within the next few days, and I put the rest of the jars in the freezer to thaw whenever I need them.
As you can see, making this vegetable broth myself isn’t really requiring me to buy anything extra or spend much hands-on time. I’m just saving the things that I’d be throwing out anyway and putting them to good use!
If you try this Homemade Vegetable Broth yourself, I’d love to hear what you think! Share pictures with me on social media by tagging @thesavvyplate on Instagram or Twitter or by mentioning my page The Savvy Plate Blog on Facebook!
Homemade Vegetable Broth
I'm saving money and reducing food waste by making vegetable broth at home. It's easy to make, low in sodium, and uses ingredients I already have in my kitchen.
- 1 gallon-sized bag frozen vegetable scraps (carrot peels, onion skins, celery ends, wilted herbs, etc.)
- 3 to 4 quarts water
- 20 to 30 black peppercorns
- salt to taste (I use 1 to 2 teaspoons. Adjust to your liking.)
optional add-ins (choose a few to experiment with!)
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 2 tbsp worchestershire sauce
- a few garlic cloves
Save vegetable scraps in a gallon-sized bag in your freezer over the course of a few weeks. Once your bag is full, add the contents to a large pot. (I use a 6-quart pot.)
Pour water in the pot to cover the vegetables. Add salt and peppercorns. Add additional ingredients as desired. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 1 to 2 hours.
Remove from heat, strain the broth, and pour into glass jars. Allow to cool before moving jars to the fridge or freezer.
Use broth stored in the fridge within a week. Broth stored in the freezer will keep much longer. Just thaw it when you're ready to use it!