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One of my favorite ways to reduce my kitchen waste, while saving money, is to make this zero waste veggie broth from my food scraps. This veggie broth recipe is completely FREE because it repurposes your food scraps that would likely end up in the trash. The bonus is that you no longer have to purchase broth at the grocery store.
I keep a veggie scrap container in my fridge. As I cook throughout the week, I add to that container. Once I have enough scraps, I turn them into veggie broth for free. If I know I will not have time to make veggie broth before the scraps go bad, I will freeze the container as soon as it is full. When I get a chance, I make it into veggie broth.
What Can I Put in my Broth?
Good news! Almost ANY vegetable can be added to your broth. Here are a few of my favorite vegetables to add, but don’t be limited to just these. The possibilities are endless!
- Onions – ends and skins
- Garlic – ends and skins
- Carrots – ends and peels
- Summer Squash – zucchini and yellow squash stems and ends
- Celery – ends and leaves
- Mushrooms – stems
- Bell Peppers – stems and tops
Again any herbs will do! You could also skip the herbs if you want it to be more plain; however, I personally have not found that adding some herbs impacts the versatility of the broth. My go-to herbs are bay leaves and Italian seasoning, but I have used them all. Use either fresh or dry, it does not matter!
Salt and Peppercorns
These ingredients are optional, but I like to salt my broth to help bring out the flavors. I recommend using whole peppercorns, but you can also use ground pepper if that is all you have.
What Should I Avoid Adding?
There are a few vegetables that I avoid putting in my broth for various reasons. I do not put potatoes (or sweet potatoes) in my broth because of the starchiness. Additionally, I avoid asparagus because it gives the broth an off-putting smell. Be aware that some vegetables may give your broth a weird color. For example, beets will turn your broth bright red, which is perfectly safe to consume, but makes for some really strange looking rice. Ask me how I know (;
Making Broth: The Process
Making veggie broth is so simple, anyone can do it. Simply add your veggie scraps, herbs and salt to a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then let simmer for 1-2 hours. This is not an exact science, so it can be a little flexible with your schedule, which I appreciate.
I recommend turning off the heat and letting your veggie broth cool slightly before you attempt to strain it. Accidently spilling boiling hot liquid in your kitchen is definitely not fun. Once it has cooled, strain the broth through either a colander, a fine mesh strainer, or a cheesecloth. A fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth will create a more clear broth, without any tiny food scraps left in it.
What If I Make Too Much?
If you make more veggie broth than you can use before it goes bad, you can either freeze it or pressure can it. I prefer to pressure can because then I have shelf stable broth that I do not have to worry about defrosting. I love my Presto Pressure Canner, because it has a great capacity and is budget friendly.
- 6 cups vegetable scraps
- 1/2 tbsp salt
- 1 tsp peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp your favorite herbs (if using fresh herbs, use about one handful)
- 8-10 cups water Be sure the water covers the scraps
- Add vegetable scraps, herbs, peppercorns, and salt to a large pot.
- Add water, then bring to a boil. Once boiling reduce to a simmer and simmer for 1-2 hours.
- Turn off heat and let cool slightly. This step is not required, but makes working with the broth much easier.
- Strain broth through either a colander or a fine mesh strainer.
- Pour into jars. Allow to cool to room temperature before putting broth in the fridge.