I Eat Plants: Make your own vegetable broth

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I love bulk cooking. One way I add variety to my weekly cooking sessions is to start with a homemade vegetable broth.  I love dipping into the 8 – 10 cups of hot, fresh stock on the counter as I make seitan, beans, grains, soup and chili.

I make broth two ways.  The first method, which is environmental friendly and a wee-bit lazy way, is simple.  Throughout the week I place all my vegetable scraps in a gallon zip lock back and store it in the freezer. Once the bag is stuff full I make broth. I sure feel good about not wasting one single bit of my veggies! The second way is also pretty simple, and I do use every bit of a vegetable, but I use fresh, whole vegetables and fruit. I use this method for very special recipes when the stock isn’t just for making a grain, it’s the star of the dish – soups, stews and chili, for example.  Here are my two favorite ways to make vegetable broth.

Basic Pressure Cooker Vegetable Broth

by JL goes Vegan @ JLgoesVegan.com
Makes 8 – 10 cups
Ingredients

• 8 cups of water

• 1 t olive or avocado oil (optional)

• 2 bay leaves

• 1/2 teaspoon each of 3 or 4 spices of choice (for example 1/2 teaspoon each rosemary, thyme, basil and oregano)

• 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)

• 1 gallon freezer bag of vegetable scraps (for example, red and yellow onion scraps and peel; garlic scraps and peel; asparagus stems; tomatoes; lettuce – romaine, endive, radicchio, etc.; carrot and celery ends; bell or sweet pepper ends and seeds; mushroom stems; spinach; zucchini) or freeze vegetables you don’t think you’ll use soon and are about to turn.

Instructions

• Thaw (or partially thaw) frozen veggie scraps.

• Add oil and water to the pressure cooker and heat on high (uncovered).

• Add all spices and salt.

• While the water is heating coarsely chop your vegetables and scraps (I toss in a full onion in quarter pieces, halved garlic cloves unpeeled, etc.).

• Add the vegetables to the pressure cooker, cover and bring to pressure.

• Cook at pressure for 10 minutes and allow for a natural release.  The veggies and scraps, post pressure-cooking

• Pour the stock through a cheesecloth in a large container. Use tongs to squeeze out every bit a veggie broth possible.

• Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or in a plastic bag in the freezer

If you want to use a crockpot, cook on low for 8 hours. For a stove top stock, bring to a light boil, reduce to medium-low heat and simmer for an hour or longer.

Homemade Fruit & Vegetable Stock

by JL Fields @JL goesVegan.com
Makes 8 – 10 cups
Ingredients

• 1 peach, quartered (with pit)

• 2 apples, quartered

• 1 onion, quartered

• 4 cloves garlic, chopped

• 8 carrots, cut in half

• 6 stalks of celery, cut in half

• 1 tomato, quartered

• 6 leaves of romaine lettuce, whole

• 1 teaspoon avocado oil (optional)

• 8 cups of water

• 1/2 teaspoon each (dry): oregano, sage, whole rosemary (crumbled with your fingers), sweet basil

• 1 teaspoon iodized sea salt (optional)

Instructions

For the pressure cooker

• Place all ingredients in the pressure cooker.

• Bring to pressure.

• Reduce heat and maintain enough pressure to keep that jiggly top rocking for 20 minutes.

• Remove from heat and allow for a natural release.

• Unlock the pressure cooker lid, opening away from you.

• Strain the broth into an airtight container.

For the stovetop

• Place all ingredients in a big soup pot and bring to a boil.

• Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for about an hour (you want the veggies to stay in tact, so check on them after 40 minutes or so).

• Strain the broth into an airtight container.

For the crockpot

• Place all ingredients in a slow cooker.

• Cook on low for 8 – 10 hours.

• Strain the broth into an airtight container.

I Eat Plants columnist JL Fields is a certified vegan lifestyle coach and educator. She shares plant-based education, recipes and cooking techniques, as well as animal rights information and resources, on the popular blog JL goes Vegan. Her original recipes have been featured on Foodbuzz, BlogHer and Meatless Monday. She is the editor of the community blog Stop Chasing Skinny. JL is the founder and lead consultant for JL Fields Consulting and serves on the board of directors of Our Hen House. Follow her on TwitterFacebookPinterest, and Google+.

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