Let’s continue in our “Waste Not” series with one of the simplest, most nutritious items you can possibly make in your kitchen…soup stock! Homemade soup broth is the ultimate in resourcefulness, nutrition and flavor, if you ask my opinion…and when you read how incredibly easy it is to make it at home, well, you’ll never buy that bland boxed stuff again, I promise you.
Here are the some of the benefits of making your own:
- It’s free. Consider the veggie peels, cores and tops that you throw away every time you cook. Consider those beautiful meaty bones and the flavorful fat you remove from cuts of meat and toss in the trash. That’s free nutrition, my friends. They may not seem like much, but trust me, it adds up quickly if you make an effort to save it.
- It’s nutritious. When you simmer those veggie peels, fats and bones for hours (or use an Instant Pot LUX60 V3 6 Qt 6-in-1 Muti-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Sauté, Steamer, and Warmer) you are leaching every possible bit of vitamins, minerals and beneficial fats that you can from what would be scrap. In previous generations, simple soup broth was a home remedy for every kind of tummy trouble and weakness following an illness or childbirth. And it’s an easy way to add a boost of nutrition to soups, stews, cooked grains.
- It’s delicious! There is a huge difference between homemade broth and the stuff you buy in the boxes at Walmart. In simple dishes like chicken soup, the taste difference is remarkable. It adds a layer of flavor, creating that “old-fashioned” flavor that we recall so fondly from our grandmother’s cooking, a flavor that you simply cannot achieve with boxed broth or bouillon cubes.
- It’s easy. While the simmering of the broth takes a good long while, the labor involved is pretty much nill. I keep gallon-sized ziplock bags in the freezer ready to receive scraps and when that bag is full, I make broth.
Here’s how you do it!
To make a simple veggie broth, all you need is a good quantity of veggie scraps. (Approximately 1-to-4 ratio is best; 1 cup of scraps to 4 cups of water.) Carrot peels and tops, onion peels, celery leaves and stems, garlic peels, bell pepper cores and stems, the green tops from leeks, lettuce leaves, kale stems and herbs like parsley, bay leaves and chives. Pretty much anything can go into broth, but you’ll want to avoid starchy veggies (potatoes) as they’ll make your broth cloudy and strong-flavored veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts) as they can be overpowering in the stock. Following the 1-to-4 ratio, simmer the scraps, herbs and water for about an hour or til the veggies are absolutely limp. Allow it to cool and then carefully pour the broth through a strainer into quart freezer bags and lay them in the freezer flat to freeze.
Quality meat/bone broth from scrap is just as simple, though it takes a bit longer. I use the carcasses from roasted chickens or turkeys, or the bones from steaks, ribs and roasts to make broth. (If you don’t use cuts of meat that result in a large quantity of bones, that’s okay! Simply drizzle several pounds of chicken wings, beef knuckles, ox tails, ribs or any other inexpensive boney meat with olive oil and roast at 400 degrees til very brown, approximately 1 hour.) Now, take those beautiful roasted bones and add them to your stock pot with onion peels and a couple “glugs” of apple cider and water to cover. Simmer the bones for several hours. You’ll notice that thinner bones like chicken wings will begin to be pliable and rubbery (that’s good!) and that much of the marrow will have cooked out of the beef bones (that’s good too!). Don’t rush this step; the longer the broth cooks, the better the flavor and more nutritious it will be. Alternately, you can pressure cook the broth in an Instant Pot for an hour or on a low setting in a crock pot for 12-18 hours. When the broth has simmered for the appropriate amount of time, allow it to cool, pour through a strainer and freeze flat in quart-sized freezer bags. You can also freeze the bits of meat that cook off the bones; they make great additions to soups!
When you’re ready to use your homemade stock, simply thaw it, season to taste with salt and pepper and use it as you would commercially prepared stock. Use it as a base for soups and stews, use it to replace water when cooking rice, barley or potatoes or simply season and enjoy it in a mug to sooth a head cold, queasy tummy or sore throat. It’s also a delicious tea or coffee replacement when you need a mug of something warm but don’t want the caffeine.
As a total bonus, homemade veggie and bone broth can also be pressure canned to be made shelf-stable and ready in your pantry in a moment’s notice! For the veggie broth, simply pour the finished broth into prepared Mason jars, leaving 1 inch of headspace and process at 10# of pressure for 20 minutes/pints or 25 minutes/quarts. For the bone broth, you need to allow the broth to cool completely so that the fat congeals on the top. Remove the congealed fat, heat the broth to a boil then pour into prepared Mason jars leaving 1 inch of head space. Process at 10# of pressure for 20 minutes/pints or 25 minutes/quarts. Gotta love those bonuses, my friends!
I hope you’ll try your hand at making homemade soup broth. As I’ve shown you, it’s simple, nutritious, delicious and FREE! Don’t throw those scraps away! Reap every bit of nutrition you can out of the food you paid good money for—-Ma Ingalls would approve!! Til next time, my friends!
Posted to the Simple Life Mom Homestead Blog Hop