It’s the first day of Spring – be still my heart. It’s my favorite season of the year and I’m just dreaming about my gardens.
The boys and I have started our seeds indoors, mapped out our new garden plans, and are starting to think about which new breed of chickens we’d like to add to our flock this year.
It’s the season of life and although the temperatures are still frigid outdoors, knowing its officially Spring brings feelings of rejuvenation, hope, and happiness.
Let me tell ya, these are seriously the feelings you get after being indoors for so many months.
Knowing that it’s Spring time, I wanted to share with you my rich and flavorful, homemade vegetable broth recipe. It’s during this season of growth and into the summer that I tend to make more vegetable broth than chicken.
My family works very hard to grow our vegetables during the growing season. So, with a motto of waste not; the ends, bits, peels, and scraps of my vegetables, and herbs are saved for broth or go to my chickens and compost pile.
I’ve learned that many people are under the assumption that vegetable broth isn’t as flavorful or complex as chicken or beef broth. As you can tell from the picture above, the vegetable broth I make is rich and flavorful and turns out to a beautiful golden color typical of a long, and slow simmered chicken broth.
In order to get these flavors, my stock is started by sauteing onions, celery, and carrots then sweating them to the point of caramelization.
I like to caramelize the onions until they turn golden brown which draws out every hint of sweetness.
I then add 3 quarts of water and any bits, pieces, and scraps of vegetables I saved over the week. I also make sure to add any hidden vegetables pieces, which parts of a whole have served me well.
The pot is then brought to a boil, covered, and simmered for about 1 1/2 hours.
To finish it off, once the broth has simmered and become everything good that it can be, I add aromatics to make it that much more. In this broth I’ve added the stems of parsley, which hold just as much flavor as its leaves, and fresh fennel sprigs.
Fennel, parts of its bulb and sprigs, create the best tasting vegetable broth. At this point, I turn off the heat and allow the herbs to give of themselves for about a half hour.
This broth tastes deep, rich, and flavorful. I store it in my refrigerator where I use it frequently in rice dishes and simple soups. A vegetable broth like this is sure to make you happy knowing that something good has come from something so easily discarded.
From scraps, bits, and ends to a rich and flavorful, homemade vegetable broth.
- 2 onions, sliced 1/4"
- 2 carrots, roughly chopped
- 2 sprigs celery, roughly chopped
- 2 tbls extra virgin olive oil
- 3 quarts water
- 3 large cups, extra vegetable pieces (bits, ends, and scraps)
- Stems of one bunch of parsley
- Fennel Sprigs (optional but encouraged)
- In a stockpot, bring 2 tbls of extra virgin olive oil to heat. Add the onions, carrots, and celery. Saute for 3-5 minutes or until the onions just begin to turn transparent.
- Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and sweat for 30 minutes or until the onions caramelize and turn a nice golden brown.
- Add 3 quarts of water, and vegetable pieces. Cover, lower the heat to low and simmer for 1 1/2 - 2 hours.
- Turn the heat off, then and add the parsley and fennel sprigs to the stock. Cover and allow to cool.
- Once cooled, strain the stock from the vegetables making sure to compress the vegetables to get every ounce of stock out of them.
- Store in the refrigerator or freeze for a later use.
What’s great about vegetable broth is that you can add any vegetables or herbs you currently have. Don’t be afraid to make it your own!
Thank you so much Diana! I really am so happy to make this today, on the first day of Spring! I have quite a bit of leftover Cilantro from last week. Would it good to add it or is it too potent?
Diana Bauman says
I don’t think I’d add the cilantro, Alisha. But… you know, with cilantro it’d make a mean broth to use in Mexi rice or beans… ohh… that would be good!
Yay, we are itching for Spring as well! I just got my seeds started yesterday, a little behind this year as we just had baby #3 but hoping they will still be ok! Looking forward to your garden updates, I have gleaned so much information from your site!
Diana Bauman says
Thanks Steph! Yeah… your seed will do fine 😀
Cookin Canuck says
This is something I MUST stock my freezer with! I often roast vegetables for stock, but I love your idea of caramelizing the onions first.
I agree, I would not add cilantro.
I just want you to know that I save the bottoms of my celery and the skins of onions (red also) and parsley stems and what ever in a large freezer bag and when it is full , I add a few things things and make my stock the same way.
Just do not save the root part of an carrot. It is very bitter
Charmi Lad says
That is a great idea. I always wondered what I could do with the stems and the skin. I just started making my own brot, so now I can save these parts and use them in my broth. Thank you for this great tip.
Better ways says
I always just throw my veggie scraps with a garlic clove or two in a pot and simmer. My cooking usually begins with carmalizing onions, so I don’t feel the need to do it then.
Be sure to include the onion skins for the nice color and for the quercetin.
Interesting about the onion skins. I would wash them with a spray of white vinegar and a spray of hydrogen peroxide and give them a good rinse first then.
I’ve never added cruciferous veggies to my stock before because I’ve been told that it makes the broth taste really strong – seeing how you added cauliflower and cabbage (and your recipes always look delicious) I might have to rethink that!
I made some vegetable broth this weekend and it smells better and richer then the beef broth I have been making for years. I am so glad I tried this after you posted. I have friends coming to visit that are vegetarians so the 3 quarts I ended up with will be put to good use and I don’t have to go buy the chemical laden stuff from the store. Thank you. I am impatiently waiting for Spring to get here to Wisconsin so I can try your lard rendering process. I am too scared to try it without being able to open my windows. We have a big old hundred year old house with poor air circulation so I don’t want everything smelling like lard. Wish me luck that Spring will eventually get here. 😉
Diana Bauman says
What great feedback, Shanna! I’m so glad it turned out well for you. Yeah, it’s amazing the fullness in flavor this vegetable broth creates. I love it!
Hello! My daughters and I noticed that you have included a blue rubber band in the broth (fourth or fifth picture down). We’d like to know if this helps the flavor.
🙂 Anne, Lily, and Julia 🙂 🙂
Diana Bauman says
Yes, lol!! It gives it tons of flavor 😉 Thanks for brightening my day 😀
Just wondering about the veg scraps…..don’t the root pieces of the onion, etc have a lot of dirt? I am finding it hard to find onions that don’t have the black areas between the outer skin layers. And do you freeze the scraps for a once a week broth? The stuff at the beginning of the week must get a bit old otherwise?? I have been wanting to dive into saving/using my scraps (rather than composting), so this may prompt me to! I just need to get in the rhythm like with beef and chicken broth……..\
Hi, I love being with Jesus in my garden also…although it is a flower garden 🙂 Could you please recommend to me what other vegetables to put in and the amounts since I don’t usually have scraps/leftover vegetables? Thanks! Just found your blog so I look forward to reading more!
Kathleen Westreicher says
Do you know the calorie count for this recipe? And it looks like it is sodium free, which is what i am looking for. I can’t wait to make this recipe!!