Victoria is a stay-at-home mom, author, educator, and blogger at Healthy at Home. She currently lives in Colorado with her family.
With all of my onion dehydrating, carrot canning, and cooking, I've had a lot of vegetable scraps. So with the theme of using all of my food scraps for something useful lately, I've been saving all of my onion skins, carrot tops and greens, and any other veggie scraps (like zucchini ends and asparagus stems) in a storage bag in the freezer until I have enough to make vegetable broth.
I just recently filled that bag until I couldn't put any more in it and started on a second bag, so I felt like it was time to get a pot of vegetable broth going. I use broth in so many different meals, from soups and gravies to sauce mixes for my various casserole dishes. I love being able to create something delicious and usable, which saves me a great deal of money in the long run, from scraps I would have just thrown away.
What people don't realize is that the skins, greens and other scraps of veggies have tons of great vitamins in them. Yes, onions skins, carrot greens, and the stems of various vegetables like squash and zucchini, for instance, are all very nutritious. However, most people don't take advantage of the nutrition they offer, because who eats onion skins?
We typically leave skins on our potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, cucumbers, etc., when we cook them in order to get all of the great nutrition from them that we can. I don't however, use scraps that are bruised, infected, moldy, or rotten. At that point, I don't think the potential nutritional value is worth the risk.
I would highly recommend this vegetable scrap broth to anyone. It's satisfying to know that I am saving my family money making tons of great food for relatively free, that we are going to use. And it was strangely delicious. Let's see how you can make it for yourself.
|Prep time||Cook time||Ready in||Yields|
3 hours 35 min
18 pints of veggie broth
- 1 storage bag veggie scraps, frozen
- 1 tablespoon pink Himalayan salt
- lots of water
- I use my 16-quart water bath canner to cook this in because it's the biggest pot that I own.
- Dump the entire bag of veggie scraps into the bottom of the pot and fill the pot to the very top with water.
- Sprinkle with salt and cover.
- Heat to boiling. Then tip the lid to release steam and turn the heat down a couple notches.
- Let cook for a few hours. If the water goes down at all, just refill it.
- Turn off the heat and pull your pot off the stove. Set up your pressure canning station with jars, lids and rings, your canning kit, and a big ladle.
- Ladle your veggie broth into your jars using your canning funnel, filling to the bottom of the jar necks.
- When you get to the bottom of your pot, you'll want to strain all of the veggies out of your broth by pouring them into a strainer in the sink with a bowl beneath. I even press the cooked veggie scraps to get the most of my broth.
- Wipe the rims down with a damp washcloth, and add lids and rings to your jars. Only twist rings on until you feel the slightest resistance, to allow air to escape during the canning process.
- Make sure to fill your canner either to the bottom fill line inside your pot, or with 3 quarts of water.
- Carefully load your jars into your pressure canner. They shouldn't touch the pot or each other. I assume you have a jar rack in the bottom, that came with your canner, to keep the jars off the bottom of the pot. If not, a hand towel should work until you get one.
- Put the lid on your pot and lock it closed. There are directions on the side of the pot for you.
- Turn the heat to the setting just under the highest.
- When your lid starts spouting a steady stream of steam, set your timer for 10 minutes and allow it to vent. It's filling with pressure.
- At the end of 10 minutes put the weighted rocker on the top. I have a weighted pressure canner. If you have a dial pressure canner, this part will be a little different.
- When the rocker starts going, set your timer for 30 minutes and turn the heat down around medium very slowly in increments. You don't want the rocker to stop, but you want it to rock as slowly as possible at the lowest heat possible. If it stops, you'll have to get it rocking again, and then restart your time.
- After 30 minutes, turn the heat off on the stove and move your pot carefully to the next burner to cool. Don't touch anything else.
- When your pot has cooled sufficiently and the lid lock in the back drops, you can remove the rocker. Then set your timer for 10 minutes to allow the pot to further cool.
- At the end of 10 minutes you may gently remove the lid, opening it away from you so the steam doesn't burn you.
- Gently remove the jars with your jar lifter and set them on a towel to the side to cool for 24 hours.
- As they cool, they should pop and the lid should seal down. If you have 1 or 2 jars that don't seal, you should put them in the refrigerator and use them within a few days. If you have 3 or more that don't seal, you can remove the lids and rings, wipe everything down, and reprocess them again.
- Label your jars, remove the rings, and store in a cool, dry place for up to a year. Leaving the rings on could give bacteria a place to grow, compromising your food.
How Much Food Does the Average Household Waste a Year?
How much food, as a society, do we throw away every day, every week, and every year because we aren't using it? Americans throw away approximately $165 billion worth of food each year, and for the average American family, that can be up to $2,200 per household, according to a recent study by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). If only we could find a way to use the food we purchase in the best possible way, we could cut down that number, and each individual family's food budget with it.
We grow a good amount of our own food ourselves in our back yard. We are renting currently, so we can't exactly plow up the back yard and plant a huge garden, nor would it be a good investment to do so, as we don't plan on being here for more than another year or two.
So, for now, our plants are in pots in the rocks surrounding our yard. You could easily do the same thing on your back patio or porch. We are currently growing lots of tomatoes, carrots, sun berries (blueberries that grow in Colorado), beans, pumpkins, kale, spinach, strawberries, and a variety of herbs and other greens.
The vegetables that we purchase from the store are always organic and on sale from our local organic grocery store, Sprouts. I purchase in bulk to take the best advantage of the sales and save money. Food we don't eat or preserve right away goes in the freezer, and then I dry a good deal of it in my dehydrators, like onions, and can the rest of it in jars.
I've been trying to get better at using our food scraps now that we no longer have chickens. Banana peels and eggshells get ground up and used in our garden, fruit scraps get used to make flavored vinegars, jellies, candies and juices, whereas my veggie scraps are being used for vegetable broth. I even use my chicken, pork, and beef scraps and bones to make broth.
Having less waste is going to come down to rethinking how you eat, and rethinking what you throw away and how it can be used. Not everything is going to have a use in every household. I understand that. But anything you can do will lower your grocery bill, reduce the waste in your home, and make you feel better about doing your part for your family.
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© 2018 Victoria Van Ness