WAIT…! DON’T THROW THOSE OUT!
Whoa there! You almost threw perfectly good ingredients into the trash! (So glad I got here in time!) Things like the celery greens and bell pepper tops you never use, the weird “rooty” ends of carrots, and any other ugly, sad, and/or questionable pieces of vegetable you would normally cast aside can still be of use. As long as they are clean and have not begun to decay (rot), all of your veggie scraps can be made into a healthy, delicious broth that not only saves you money, but also “stretches” the grocery dollars you’ve already spent!
And who doesn’t love that?!
Slow Cooker Vegetable Broth
- large freezer bag of frozen vegetable scraps
- 4 bay leaves
- 8-10 cups of water
- 1-2 tsp of sea or Himalayan salt
Dump all the ingredients out of the freezer bag into a large slow cooker. Spread the scraps out as evenly as possible. Pour water over top. Add bay leaves. Next, add salt and stir mixture.
Set your slow cooker on high for 5-6 hours (or on low for 7-8 hours) and cover with lid.
When the broth has finished simmering, unplug your slow cooker and let the mixture cool (with the lid off) for at least 30 minutes. Once the mixture is cool enough to handle without burning yourself, press the ingredients (in batches) through a large, fine mesh sieve into a clean pot or glass container. Throw out the chunky bits as you go, reserving only the liquid. You might also want to use the back of a soup spoon at this point to help encourage the last remaining drops out of the veggie fibre.
Once you have finished straining the broth and it has reached room temperature, portion it off in batches of 1-2 cups and freeze (in properly labelled freezer bags) for future use.
Yields will vary slightly each time — depending on the size of your slow cooker, how much water you’ve used, and which kinds of vegetable scraps you’ve included. That said, the last batch I made gave us 14 cups of broth. Not too shabby, eh?
- This is the time of year (late fall/winter) when I start using our balcony for cooling. It drastically speeds things up when you can set hot metal pots outside on the cold concrete. (Never do this with glass/ceramic containers unless they are shock-proof — and you use a wooden or cork trivet!) In fact, we have dubbed the balcony our “outdoor fridge.”
- Your veggie scraps can include: kale, spinach, carrots, potatoes, peas, onions, bell pepper, turnip, parsnip, mushrooms, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, tomatoes, zucchini, green beans, fresh herbs, ginger root or garlic — basically any vegetable ingredient you would normally include in a soup or stew.
- This recipe will work with any size slow cooker — but you will definitely need to adjust the amount of vegetable scraps and water you add.
- I would also half (or omit) the bay leaves if you’re using a smaller slow cooker. The simmering times should remain the same, however.
- If you happen to be home, give the mixture a quick stir while it’s simmering — about once every couple of hours. If not, no biggie.
- This could also be done on the stove top in a large soup pot if you don’t happen to own a slow cooker. Simmer on low for half the time — so about 3-4 hours.
Source: Inspired by Jen from How Jen Does It