Homemade Veggie Scrap Broth

Three mason jars of brown broth

In Top 5 Things to Keep in the Freezer, I introduced the idea of keeping a veggie scrap bag in your freezer, which is how you make my sixth top frozen staple itemhomemade veggie broth. 


If you have a compost program in your community or a backyard compost, most of your food scraps probably end up there, but making homemade veggie broth is another fun and resourceful thing to do with scraps. Stems, ends, peels, and any veggie pieces that aren’t usable in your cooking but are still flavorful and nutrient-packed, are all great candidates for your scrap bag. I tend to freeze a lot of kale stems, leek greens, onion pieces, celeriac skins herb stems, and carrot peels. I don’t recommend using potatoes or potato peels because they are too starchy and, in general, don’t freeze well. If something has mold or has begun to decompose, it’s better to compost it.


Store your broth in the freezer for up to three months. Use your homemade broth in any recipe that calls for broth or to make soup. I often make a simple week-night soup by defrosting homemade broth and throwing in potatoes or pasta and whatever vegetables I have on hand. The flavors come together quickly when cooking with homemade broth, and every broth is a little different. 



veggie scraps to fill a 1-gallon freezer bag 

1 tsp peppercorns

2 bay leaves

2 cloves garlic or 1 shallot


Additional vegetables if not already in your bag

1 onion or leek

4-5 scallions

1-2 carrots

1-2 celery or 1 cup celeriac


Optional additions

1-2 sprigs fresh thyme or rosemary

1-2 bunches of fresh parsley

1 tsp coriander seeds

1 tsp tomato paste

mushrooms or mushroom stems

fennel pieces


frozen veggie scraps in a pot


This scrap bag was mostly kale stems, so I added frozen celeriac, fresh garlic, and rosemary.



Cooking veggie scraps in a pot with water


Wash and coarsely chop any optional fresh vegetables you’re adding. Place all ingredients in a large stockpot or dutch oven. Cover with enough water to submerge the vegetables and then top off with another couple of inches. You want to be able to stir the vegetables easily. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for about an hour. 



Metal strainer of cooked veggie scraps set on a large glass measuring cup in a sink


Turn off the heat and scoop out large veggie pieces with a slotted spoon and discard. Then place a fine mesh colander over a large pyrex or heat-proof bowl (do this in the sink in case it splatters). Carefully pour the broth through the strainer into the bowl. Discard or compost remaining veggie scraps.



Three mason jars of brown broth


Transfer broth to an airtight container (glass jars work well), leaving a little space for expansion as they cool.

What is this vegetable and what do I do with it?!


Sometimes at the farmer’s market or in a CSA box you may come across a vegetable you’ve never seen before. Or perhaps you know the name of a vegetable but you’ve never cooked with it and aren’t sure what to do with it. That’s where our Veggie Gallery comes in handy! CLICK HERE to visit the gallery.

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