Waste Not, Want Not: How to Make the Best Broth/Stock for Soups and Other Foods

Introduction: Waste Not, Want Not: How to Make the Best Broth/Stock for Soups and Other Foods

About: Howdy! I'm documenting my projects and sharing how I pulled them off on here. Some of my interests include welding, sewing, CNC/Manual machining, woodworking, camping, electronics tinkering, gardening and anyt…

The "Best" is a bold claim and depends on how you define best. To me the best broth, much like tool, is the one you have available to you. This Instructable will show you how to turn food waste into a treasured broth which will add richness to any meal that calls for stock or water. If you are making a soup and you make a broth from the scraps of the food that go into the soup you are in for a good time. It adds a bit of time to the process but really takes soups to the next level and rounds out the flavor giving it a full mouth feel, I have become known for my soups in my friend group after adopting this practice.

You will need:

  • Food scraps
  • A large Pot
  • Stove
  • Cutting Board
  • A Knife
  • Time
  • Container to hold the broth
  • Water
  • A way to strain the broth from the scraps

Step 1: Scrap Collection!

Save that food waste to extract extra nutrients and flavor! I use pretty much any vegetable scrap unless its moldy or a seed. You can plan ahead and prep food for later in the week in order to harvest enough scraps to make it worth while. This is a vegetable broth but you can throw bones, fat, and trimmings in from animal products. One of my favorites is to buy a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store and poor all of the juices from that into the stock pot.

Here is a overview of this particular broth but mix it up with whatever you got around.

  1. Onions: Chop off the skins and outer layers and throw em in the pot. I'll often shake off all the loose papery bits from my bag of onions if I'm making a broth.
  2. Peppers: Toss your pepper cores in just be sure to remove any seeds as they can make the broth bitter.
  3. Garlic: Toss the skin and garlic butts in.
  4. Carrots: Toss those ends in too.
  5. Celery: Cut off the woody end and toss it in. You can chop up larger sections to help with the flavor and with composting. I had a gross bit of celery that I tossed in to, it wont hurt since the whole thing will be pasteurized.
  6. Broccoli: I love steamed broccoli and figured I would prep it for later in the week to get the woody stem for my broth.
  7. Greens: This kale had some unappetizing bits so I tossed them in to.

These are the scraps I had on hand but feel free to get creative with it. I've never made a gross broth this way, some are better than others but it is always worth it. Once all of your scraps are collected in a large pot head to the stove.

Step 2: Simmer It

  1. Add your water to the pot and bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 20-30 minutes
  2. Stir occasionally to get those ingredients moving and partying with each other.
  3. Now is a good time to add a bay leaf into the mix if you are making a soup that calls for it, since we will be pouring off the broth we wont need to worry about finding the bay leaf later.
  4. Allow to cool if you will not be using it immediately.

Step 3: Separate and Enjoy

Find a way to separate the liquid from the scraps.

  • Since I recently lent out my colander I just poured the broth out of the pot and into the the jar using a plate to keep the scraps in the pot. I suspect this is why I had about 2 cups of liquid lost, it is usually much less if you use a tight fitting lid when simmering.
  • Normally I place my large colander in a mixing bowl and pour the contents of the pot into it the colander. The mixing bowl catches all the liquid which then goes into the jar.
  • Now that you have your broth you can store it in the fridge for a few days or freeze it for long term storage. I like to use mine right away while its still warm.

An extra step to turn the waste from this process into another treasure on the next page.

Step 4: Bonus Step to Extract More Nutrients for Future Plants!!!

While it is often easier to throw the food scraps away instead of composting they do not break down the same.

  • In a land fill the anaerobic (oxygen free) decomposition leads to the production of a lot of methane, a potent green house gas.
  • On the other hand composting with its aerobic (with oxygen) decomposition creates mainly CO2 and a valuable living soil amendment.
  • You can compost all of the separated solids from a veggie broth.
  • If you are making a broth with animal products in it you will need to remove any animal products from the mix and put them in the trash before composting the remainder.
  • While not everyone has a living situation that allows for composting I implore you to seek out a neighbor/service that can deal with it off site. Dealing with it onsite under the radar is very doable in a lot of circumstances if you manage your green to brown ratio (2:1) well and bury fruits and other attractive morsels deeper in the pile. Asking for forgiveness isn't that bad, if it even happens, and until then your secret is safe with me comrade ;)

I hope this instructable helped you make more delicious and nutritious meals all while combatting food waste.

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