Homemade broths are so much healthier and flavorful than the kind you can buy in the grocery store and they are so easy to make I often wonder why those of us that love to cook abandoned this simple task. With the economy being what it is, I decided to start making my own vegetable broth/stock again and canning or freezing it. The uses are endless…it’s wonderful for mashed potatoes, gravy, soup and just about any dish that needs a bit of added flavor.

The least expensive way is to save all vegetable scraps ( potato, carrot, parsnip peelings, etc) in a gallon size freezer bag until it’s full and then proceed. If you have time and want a more robust flavor, you can coat fresh veggies in olive oil and bake for about an hour, stirring along the way before adding to the pot.
being impatient, I do the following recipe. Let your taste buds be your guide and adjust ingredients to suit you and your family…you will be delightfully surprised!

Vegetable Stock

You will need:

Stock pot or extra large, heavy pot
Large colander or strainer
2 Large bowls ( one for broth, other for vegetables )
Freezer bags, or containers ( plastic or mason jars )
Soup ladle

1 bunch celery, including leaves…separate stalks, wash and cut in half
1 bag carrots…wash but don’t peel
4-5- potatoes, washed and cut in half
4 ( or more ) onions, peeled and halved
3 turnips or 1 medium rutabaga…washed and halved ( substitute parsnips )
3 medium zucchini or yellow squash, washed and halved
3 ripe medium tomatoes, washed and quartered
Pint mushrooms ..your choice, washed
Broccoli stalks, cauliflower, corn , peas ( optional )
Handful chopped fresh parsley
2-3 bay leaves
3 cloves garlic, peeled, minced
1 tsp seasoning salt
1 tsp pepper or 6-8 peppercorns
1 tsp basil
1 tsp rosemary, oregano or tarragon
1 gallon water give or take a cup or 2

Directions:

Place all ingredients in pot, mix and bring to medium boil for about 15 minutes. Lower heat to simmer, and cook for 1 & 1/2 to 2 hours. Stir occasionally, taste and add more spices if desired. When done, cool, then strain broth into large bowl and ladle it into freezer container. You may also freeze in an ice cube tray for those days when you need just a hint of flavor. Some folks actually discard the vegetables ( only a good idea if you’re using scraps ) but we grab a bowl and a fork and finish them off pretty fast.
Remember, almost any vegetable can be used in this broth so don’t be afraid to add eggplant, leeks, etc…experimenting can be delicious!