When you’re dealing with lots of fresh produce every week (as we CSA members do), you’re also dealing with lots of leaves and roots and peels and stems and other parts that aren’t always ideal for consuming. One of the easiest things to do with those bits is to make broth. Here’s our fool-proof approach.
- Keep a gallon zip-top bag in your freezer. Every time you’re cleaning, peeling, or chopping, grab the bag and throw in your (clean) scraps. We avoid putting really strong flavors into the scrap bag (e.g., peppers or beets) and try to balance it somewhat (you don’t want an entire bag of kale stems), but otherwise pretty much anything goes.
- Keep it in the freezer until it’s packed full. Then one night after dinner, simply dump it in your slow cooker and fill it up with water.
- Sometimes I’ll add half an onion or a few carrots or a few stalks of celery at this time, because mirepoix is the base of standard stock (and we don’t want this to taste too wacky). Dump in a handful of fresh herbs (parsley and thyme work well) or a few pinches of dried herbs (bay leaf is also nice). Add salt and pepper if you want (or skip it and season when cooking with the broth later).
- Turn it on low and let it simmer overnight. Here’s what it’ll look like in the morning.
- Turn it off and let it cool for a couple hours. Then it’s time to strain. You can use cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer (or both if you want it really pure).
- Finally, use it or store it. We like to portion it into two-cup containers and also freeze in ice cube trays (and transfer to zip-top bags). That way, you have different portion sizes to choose from, depending on your application.
There you have it. Broth! Richer tasting, cheaper, and much better for you than that crap in a can/carton at the store. You can also use a similar approach for bone broths (adding in veggie scraps with the bones), but bone broth is a bit more involved. If you’ve never done homemade stock/broth, I’d definitely start with veggie. If only because it rates lower on the ick factor.