As temperatures drop, your body is probably craving more warm, nourishing foods. I always like to have vegetable broth on hand as a quick pick-me-up or for cold weather recipes like Shepard’s pie, soups, stews, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, and gravies.
Unfortunately, store-bought options tend to have undesirable ingredients like canola oil, sugar, way too much salt, and preservatives. The goods news is that veggie broth is ridiculously easy to make and can be canned or frozen for your convenience.
Better yet, you can use the bits and pieces of vegetables that you would normally throw away, like the tops of carrots, ends of celery, or even juicer pulp.
There are a few ingredients I always use in this recipe.
Filtered water, I perpetually use a Berkey water filter to remove fluoride, bacteria, viruses, and other contaminants.
Kombu: I got into the habit of using kombu, a kind of kelp found in sea forests when I started learning about macrobiotics. Kombu is often placed in soaking and cooking water for grains and beans, as it is said to help “strengthen” meals. Consuming kombu can help with digestion as it contains glutamic acid.
This seaweed also supports the thyroid because it has the highest amount of iodine of all the seaweeds, making it one of the most iodine-rich foods globally.
On top of functionality, it adds a great flavor to your broth.
Organic onion, with the skin. Typically, when preparing to use onion in a recipe, we remove and throw away the skin, not today. In short, the onion skin is loaded with antioxidants and may even have the ability to protect human skin against lipid peroxidation following UV radiation.1 One of the primary compounds in onion skin is quercetin, which is anti-inflammatory and acts as an antioxidant. Studies show that quercetin has a benefit for preventing and treating different diseases, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and neurodegenerative disease.2
Bay leaf. Culinarily speaking, adding a bay leaf to your soups, stews, and broth adds a pleasant flavor and aroma. But this little leaf is also functional. It possesses antimicrobial and antioxidant qualities perfect for the time of year when our immunity might be taking a hit 3; these antimicrobial compounds may prevent candida overgrowth 4 and may help fight certain types of cancer.5
If you know me, you know I’m always looking to maximize digestion; adding bay leaves to your broth can do that by increasing nutrient absorption.
From those functional ingredients, the options are pretty limitless. Be sure to choose organic, in-season vegetables such as:
- Bell pepper
Remember, quality matters. My go-to for quality herbs is Mountain Rose Herbs. With over 30 years in business, they offer sustainable, organic items, including herbs, spices, teas, essential oils, and more to the US and Canada. They are a zero-waste and fair trade company dedicated to improving the world while supporting their local communities.
Regardless if you are making it from scraps or full veggies, here is what you’ll need.
- 1-gallon of filtered water
- 3-5 lbs of vegetables
- salt and pepper to taste
- herbs as desired
- 1-3 inch piece of kombu
- 3 Bay leaves
- Very loosely chop the vegetables.
- Place all ingredients into a large pot.
- Bring to a boil.
- Allow simmering for 1 hour.
- Strain the liquid from the herbs and veggies.
Try using this broth in these recipes: Kitchari, White Bean Alfredo Sauce, Perfect Mashed Potatoes, Ethiopian Stew, and Wild Mushroom Gravy. Whatever you end up using this for, don’t forget to chew each bite at least 30 times!
Do you make DIY broth? What are your favorite flavor combinations? Comment below.