Best boxed broth?
- rworange Apr 14, 2007 08:43 AM
I noticed at the market that Swanson has organic chicken and beef broth. In fact, a lot of box broths are going natural.
Ok, first point. Yes, making your own is the best, so that’s conceded.
But it is nice to have few backup boxes for those times you run out. I’m likely to make chicken broth, but not so likely to make beef, seafood or veggie broth. I have just so much freezer space and time.
Swanson doesn’t list the ingredients on-line, but still has a lot of stuff in there that seems unnecessary. It is like the company would have a panic attack if the ingredients listed was less that 10.
Kitchen Basics seemed to be the most … well, basic. Just the essentials for the broth.
Wolfgang Puck has some out there, and ingredient-wise it was between Swanson and Kitchen Basics
I haven’t seen it, but searching around I found the Copper Stockpot site.
They trash other ‘natural and organic’ brands by listing the junk others put in their broths that Copper Stockpot does not.
What about …
What about "Better Than Bouillon" … concentrated pastes that can be used instead of boxed broth or bouillon cubes. The advantage being you can control the concentration of the broth. Not sure what is in there though, ingredient-wise.
So what would be the best broth to stash away … any others that are good besides those listed above?
Also, are the broths good across the product line? Maybe someone with a good chicken broth has a bad veggie broth.
I tried a few organic broths a few years ago and they didn’t taste like much. The non organic broths usually taste mainly of salt. The canned broths taste usually of metal.
We don't seem to have all of these brands available in Canada. I have tried Campbell's, Knorr, President's Choice, NoName, and Pacific boxed broths, Swanson (with Chinese labeling) from a can, and a variety of other cans, pastes, cubes, and powders..
I wish this wasn't the case, but I've settled on the boxed Campbell's reduced sodium chicken broth - the one with the various flavour enhancers. It isn't something I'd want to eat as plain broth, but it does work very well as a cooking stock. When I'm making a fancy sauce, I'll add a cube of frozen homemade reduced stock that I've cooked down to a gel, but I just use the straight boxed broth for everyday.
I was hoping to switch to an organic brand, but none that I tried tasted as good in a recipe. The particular combination of flavourings in the Campbell's low sodium just seems to work. The other boxed broths I've tried all taste too salty, weak, chemical, or outright artificial, or a combination of these flavours.
I've never tasted a beef broth that I found palatable without chicken broth also added in, though Pacific organic beef broth (which is not widely available here) seems best.
Some bouillon cubes (Hugli is one) taste OK in some flavours, but not in their plain broth versions. Most of the other alternatives have been awful. I tried one very expensive natural foodservice paste and mainly found it salty. Even Croydon or Osem completely fake kosher vegetarian "chicken" powder tastes better than many natural products when used in a recipe.
I've been using Pacific Organic -- it has a nice chickeny aroma and doesn't taste overly salty or of celery (my main pet peeve in chicken and veggie broths). I've been buying it at Costco for about $9 for a pack of six quarts -- at $1.50 a quart it's a steal! For veggie broth I usually look at the ingredients and try to choose the one with the least celery -- Imagine is pretty good -- but that's just personal preferrence.
The caveat is that I don't make "brothy" soups -- I just use these in pureed soups or incorporated into a dish I'm making. And to splash on my dog's kibble. Yup, she gets organic kibble (Costco) with organic chicken broth. Spoiled? My dog? Just because I'm off to Costco for more free-range, grass-fed bully sticks?
I like Kitchen Basics -- it's the only commerical broth I'm willing to use in dishes that feature broth - like matzo ball soup.
For the rest (1/4 C chicken broth in a casserole, for example) I keep a jar of Gordon Food Services chicken base in the fridge -- 1 tsp +1 C water = 1 C of broth, and it keeps for ever and is way better then bouillon cubes and most canned/boxed stockes.
Better than Bouillon is a similiar product to the chicken base I use, but the ingredients aren't as good - I don't remember them off the top of my head, just that I had run out of chicken base one day, and saw the BtB at the grocery store, and we ended up making a special trip across town to GFS.
I was furious when I went to Trader Joe's a few months ago and they didn't have my beloved Kitchen Basics chicken stock. I still haven't recovered from that. Mainly because I can't even find it at Whole Foods and have to get it at Albertson's, where I don't even like to shop and it costs almost twice as much!
For in-the-carton and making a soup or stew, Imagine No-Chicken broth is my choice for vegetarian organic.
I have Better Than Bouillon chicken base in the fridge right now. Didn't like their beef -- it seemed gritty and nasty and I tossed it. I have a jar of BTB mushroom base that I'm anxious to try.
There's also More Than Gourmet concentrates which I think are marketed as demi glaces.
These come in small containers, about the size of a hockey puck, and can be used for stocks or sauces. I have a Fruits de Mer Gold calling to me to make a seafood bisque which says it will reconstitue to 4 cups. I think I used their lamb demi a while back to stretch gravy for a leg of lamb and then make soup and it worked deliciously.
Swanson Organic for me. Definitely No Chicken for vegetarian use -- way better than other vegetable broths.
I must confess that as a lazy cook with a small freezer, boxed/canned broth is a kitchen staple so I've tried quite a few of the ones you listed.
Swanson reduced salt is okay-tasting (and has no msg), but it's still on the salty side to my palatte. Their canned broth is good for cooking rice or doing small batches (and it's the only can I've found without msg.)
I like the Pacific Foods broth much better and if you buy it at Costco it comes down to a reasonable price per carton.
I've only tried Wolfgang Puck's beef broth and it was very salty - on the plus side it seemed to be the only beef broth in the grocery store without MSG in it. I don't know how their chicken broth tastes.
And the Kitchen Basics broth is just fine... I can't think of anything in particular to note about it (which is probably a good thing!)
I sometimes use the Pacific Foods organic but also like Knorr. When I travel overseas, especially to Italy, I always go into a grocery store and buy bullion. I've found a number of varieties they don't sell here in the US and that I've really enjoyed. The only problem is when I run out.
Imagine chicken broth is excellent. Very strong chicken scent and flavor.
Pacific brand chicken broth contains potato starch, or used to. If one is on a restricted diet, this brand wouldn't be a good choice.
I always keep a chicken, beef and vegetable broth on hand for cooking. I just checked my pantry and I have a combination of Trader Joe's and Pacific. I find the lower the sodium the better....especially since I have a heavy hand w/ the spices.....
Great to have on hand for Crockpot cooking!
I have been using Roasted Chicken Base, from Chef's Review, at Smart and Final, it's a 16oz. jar of the paste that is 1tsp-1cup boiling water, and it is a tad salty, but can be cut back a bit. The "Roasted" chicken is first ingredient, and it has better taste than the plain chicken I have tried. I have used all the Better-than products, and as with the Chef's Review, taste for the salt, or you will have a problem later.
I use Emeril's All Natural Stocks. No MSG and very basic, natural ingredient lists. All three, chicken, beef and vegetable taste great and do not come across as overly-salty to me.
I haven't tried all the brands you suggest. Mostly I use chicken or veggie broth. Perhaps they're not all in my market, but for rich flavor I prefer Kitchen Basics.
My next choice, and best value is TJ's broths, which you didn't mention.
Don't care for Pacific (thin flavor) or Swanson (too much salt).
Puck's isn't bad; I might use it if I can't get to TJs and it's available.
I do keep Better Than Boullion around in a pinch or if I need just a 1//4 cup of something and don't want to open a whole box.
I don't know anything about Savory Choice or Copper Stockpot.
I usually have Whole Food's 365 organic, low sodium brand in my pantry, although it is sometimes on the too-bland side for me, depending on what I'm making and what other ingredients are being used. So I mix it up sometimes with College Inn's Light, Fat-Free, Low-Sodium.
I really like Wolfgang Puck's boxed vegetable broth. I haven't tried the chicken or beef, though. But the vegetable broth is much richer than the Swanson's in the can. It makes a really nice base for a soup.
Aren't we confusing broth and stock here? There is a difference in taste and method of preperation. Some of the products that were brought up by rworange are broths and others are stocks. This seems to be confusing apples and oranges (excuse the pun). Below is a link with a short discussion on the difference and why some people (myself included) make their own stock or go out of our way to buy stock. And yes I know the link is from the foodnetwork, but it was a good, concise defininition.
I can speak to the quality of Savory Choice. I first read about their chicken broth on thenibble.com, and now I am hooked! It has a distinct flavor, and a little goes a long way. A box includes 12 stick pouches of broth concentrate - much easier to store than 12 cans of Swanson's! Savory's vegetable and beef broths are excellent as well. The vegetable broth has a rich tomato base. The product is not available in my area, but I found it on Amazon.com. You can also go to Savory's website for a free sample.
I like the Swanson Natural Goodness (low sodium, fat free) in the box. Whole foods store brand in the 8 ounce boxes is also fairly decent in my opinion.
I normally use the Swansons organic beef broth. I buy it in the 2 quart containers, and since I do not use alcohol in cooking, it's my standard deglazing liquid. The Pacific beef broth is comparable, and I'll often get it if it's on sale (which it often is.) If I actually do anything that emphasizes the broth (like a soup) I'll spring for the Kitchen Basics. Haven't tried a whole lot besides these ones.
Better than Boullion chicken has produced terrific results for me, and you're right that it is convenient that you can control concentration or mix up as much or as little as you like. I tried their lobster (or was it seafood?) base a few years ago and I remember not thinking it hit the mark as well as the chicken, which is now a staple.
I've been won over by the new President's Choice Organic stock available from Loblaw's here in Canada. It has a more pleasant chicken flesh flavour. It has less bone and skin flavour and more of that flavour of chicken meat that you get when making a stew.
I have previously tried:
Cambell's (OK but not the best aroma)
Pacific (good but too much carrot and vegetable)
Knorr (I found it a little too thin tasting)
You cannot buy Canadian PC products at Harris Teeter. I'm not sure whether Harris Teeter actually carried a small selection of our President's Choice products at one time, or whether they just licensed the use of the name.
While PC became (kind of ironically) one of Canada's leading brands, their US partners never really "got it" and were not terribly successful with the concept. PC offered better than brand name quality at lower than brand name prices. Most US stores carrying PC treated it as an ordinary private label, which blew away any marketing advantage.
Two possible suggestions of unknown value:
- Contact Harrris Teeter. They are very possibly selling some of the same products under a different label
I keep the Trader Joe's boxed chicken broth around all the time, and also their vegetable broth when one of the vegetarians in the family is expected. It's fine for what I want, since I rarely use it for something where the broth is the star. If I am making Tortellini in Broda, I will simmer the broth with a browned chicken wing or two and a bit of onion for awhile to give it some extra flavor.
Redi-base beef concentrate is good enough to drink straight and hot! Convenient shelf life and mail ordered. I love it...