Making your own vegetable broth
I have been saving vegetable trimmings in my freezer for about a month in hopes of making a vegetable broth with them. I make chicken stock all of the time and I am assuming that the process is similar. Right now I am planning on sauteing some onions and garlic then adding the frozen vegetable trimmings with salt,pepper, and thyme. After the vegetables are cooked, add cold water and simmer. I am not sure how long to simmer them for or if I am missing a step. Looking for suggestions on how to make this a great broth and any ideas on what to do with it! Thank you all :)
I just made some tonight. I tend to make it two different ways. If I'm making as an ingredient for recipes....I keep it pretty simple. I just basically do onions, carrots, celery, parsley. But if I'm going to use it as a base for soup....and I know the seasonings....I'll add some of them while I'm making the stock. Maybe ginger....cilantro. Tonight I knew I was going to add orzo, escarole and kale....so I added some Italian herbs while I was making the stock.
good suggestions here. I personally like the color that onion skins give to the stock. I also like to add a piece of sea kelp and an old parmesan cheese rind to give it more flavor. Depending on the use, shitake mushroom stems as well, and maybe some lentil broth from cooking lentils. Without at least one of these additions it tends to taste like, well, green water, at least to me.
On his PBS show, Jacques Pepin says he washes out empty half-gallon milk jugs and whenever he has vegetable trimmings, stuffs them into the jug, keeping it in the freezer until he wants to make stock (not just vegetarian stock). Then he cuts through the jug and puts the frozen block into the pot. Clearly he meant this in addition to freshly-chopped vegetables. By the way, many chefs include the onion skins when making stock. They help give it some color, and are not a problem since the stock is strained after cooking.
I would not roast or sautee the vegetables used for making the broth. Save that for the vegetables going into the soup you later make with this broth. Long cooking will muddy the flavors. Simmer, season, and taste until the concentration and taste are to your liking.
There are lots of threads about this one, but I've made probably thousands of gallons of vegetable stock over the years, and I've never found the trimmings-in-the-freezer method is worth your time. Those are generally the parts of the plants with little to no flavor, not to mention waxes, oils and other coatings you want to get rid of.
Onions, garlic, celery and carrots are the backbone, but lots of others -- sweet potato, fennel and even tomatoes -- can really add to it. I almost always use a lot of parsley as well, but I don't care for any other herb.
I feel it's absolutely essential to PEEL EVERYTHING. If the skins, seeds and stems don't taste good on their own, they're either going to hurt or at least have no effect on your stock. Especially bad are onion bottoms, which I've seen tons of people put into their stock still dirty. If you question whether it should go in, taste it first. If it's nasty, it's going to impart that to your stock.
Roast the vegetables first in a minimum of fat for a deeper flavor, but there's nothing at all wrong with starting them from raw. If you do go the roasting method, TASTE the fond before deglazing and adding it to your stock. Sometimes it can be bitter.
If you do decide to saute first, do so in as little oil as possible. Stocks shouldn't be fatty. There are many recipes that tell you to start your vegetables in as much as a half cup of butter. That's a bad idea, in my opinion.
And as jayt90 says, 45 minutes to an hour is generally the max cooking time. If you do it for hours like a meat stock, you'll ruin it. There's zero gelatin in vegetables, so you'll never end up with an unctuous result, no matter how long it simmers.
Most important: No cruciferous vegetables of any kind. They make the whole thing taste like school-cafeteria cabbage. I don't like green peppers, cucumbers, or anything else with a particularly sharp or acrid flavor. Think Thanksgiving, not salad.
I just add my veg scraps to a large stockpot, fill with water and let it simmer until half reduced. I don't season my stock before it's finished because I want to be able to season it when I work it into a recipe and I also don't cook my veggies before simmering but thats just me.