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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Vegetable Broth

I have wanted to start making my own broth for a pretty long time now. As in years. But I've never quite had the courage to try it. The thought was just too overwhelming.

Well, as it turns out, it's super easy.

I decided to start with vegetable broth, because vegetables are good for you and I try to eliminate meat where possible. After finally mustering some courage, I Googled around and found basically it is just water and vegetables.

I love this because it just uses the "extra" vegetable parts that you normally throw away. Good for the earth and good for you!

And it's super cheap. Instead of paying $1 for a can of broth, you can use something you would normally throw away, getting the broth at a very minimal cost.

And, the kicker for me: oodles less sodium. Due to some health issues I try not to eat too much sodium (plus excessive sodium is bad for everyone). Store-bought broth is packed full of sodium. In fact, over the past year I began buying only organic broth. And not just because it's organic. It has less sodium than even low-sodium non-organic broth. I love that I can control what I am putting into my food.

I think you can use any combination of vegetables that you like, but here's what I used:

Vegetable Broth:
16 c. water
1/2 head of cabbage
1 onion, cut in half
4 cloves garlic (I will probably increase that the next time)
3 carrots (don't even bother peeling them!)
1 potato, washed and cut in half
3-4 stalks celery, including leaves
1 broccoli stem
A few leftover mushrooms
Salt and pepper to taste
Dried basil and parsley

Here it all is ready to be made into broth:

Measure your water into a (very large) crock pot. Add the vegetables:

Add salt and pepper to taste. You will probably need quite a bit of salt (but not as much as what's in store bought!):

Then add your herbs. You can use any herbs that your heart desires. I chose parsley and basil because that's what I wanted. You can use fresh if you want, which would probably be better. But I didn't have any of that, so I just used some herbs I had dried earlier this summer:

Drizzle a bit of olive oil on top:

That's it! Cook on low for however long you want. The longer you cook the more the flavors will blend. I think 8-10 hours is a good amount of time.

Once it's cooked, remove all the large pieces then strain the broth. A lot of recipes say to use a sieve to remove all the small pieces, but I don't have one of those. I just strained through a colander, and that worked fine.

See? Wasn't that easy?

I measured mine into 16 oz (which is a little more than a store bought can) servings and froze for use into later recipes! This made about 6 16-oz servings.

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