None of us wants to see our precious locally grown veggies go to waste, but every once and awhile, they might get ahead of us. Carrot tops, the escaped garlic scape, onion skins, some wilted parsley, potato peels, the leek greens you couldn’t quite use up–none of them have to go in the garbage. Instead of tossing them, use them to make homemade broth.
Add several cups of vegetable scraps to a crock pot and cover with water and a sprinkle of salt. Set to low and let it go for 8-12 hours (while you sleep or work). Separate the broth from solids with a fine mesh strainer. Freeze broth in clearly labeled containers and store for up to 6 months.
HINTS FOR A GOOD BROTH
- Always keep a gallon-sized ziplock in your freezer, filling it with roots, stems, tops, peelings, and stragglers as you cook. When it's full, make broth.
- Wilted or dried-up bits are fair game, but don’t include anything that has already started to spoil or rot.
- Things from the carrot family and garlic/onion family make particularly tasty broths. Make sure to include at least one of each.
- Don't shy away from the salt. A liberal hand with the salt shaker will still result in a broth lower in sodium than the average store-bought stuff.
- Kick it up a notch with dried herbs and spices. I always include a few bay leaves, whole pepper corns, and celery seeds. Herbal infusion: add thyme, rosemary, and sage. Asian fusion: star anise, ginger, allspice.
- To make chicken broth, save the bones from a roasted chicken or two and add them to the vegetable scraps. Or make a beef broth to blow them away by slathering marrow bones with tomato paste and roasting them before adding them to the scraps.