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Apr 14, 2007 08:43 AM

Best boxed broth?

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 …

Pacific Foods?

Savory Choice?

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.

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  1. 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.

    1. 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?

      1. Best packaged chicken broth I've found is Knorr -- good enough to eat as a soup, as long as it's doctored with a little onion and celery and carrot. I just wish they had it in single-serving packages to use in sauces, etc.

        2 Replies
        1. re: MichaelB

          I have bought the Knorr broth in individual juice box size portions. They come in groups of 3. I can get it at the Superstore. I think they are about 250 g. each.

          1. re: MichaelB

            michaelB, I buy the knorr as well, and I freeze the leftovers in an ice-cube tray, then transfer to a ziploc. that way you can take out only what you need.

          2. 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.

            6 Replies
            1. re: AnnaEA

              I agree about Kitchen Basics, and I'm still mad at Trader Joe's for not carrying it anymore! They have their own brand of broth now, and it's good enough, but I still pay the extra $$ for KB when I feel a dish warrants it.

              1. re: maestra

                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!

                1. re: glazebrookgirl

                  Save your fury. Jewel has Kitchen Basics.

                  1. re: chicgail

                    Is Jewel a grocery store? I'm in CA, I don't think we have those.

                    1. re: glazebrookgirl

                      So sorry. It is a local grocery chain in Chicago. Don't know what I was thinking. But if our local ordinary run-of-the-mill groceries stores carry it, perhaps one of yours does as well.

                      1. re: chicgail

                        Jewel and Albertsons are owned by the same company.

            2. 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.

              1 Reply
              1. re: nemo

                I also use better than boullion. it keeps forever in the fridge and makes a great taste for meals. And I totally agree with you nemo, their beef is gross. Stay away!!!!