Back to Basics: Vegetable Broth

Sunday, January 14, 2018

As we enter this year, and as I fully commit to being completely plant based in my life (it's honestly been great and I feel so much better!), I realized there are so many simple foods and ingredients that people overlook, or buy from the store (which makes a lot of them chock full of sodium), or maybe don't even realize they are missing.  Part of me becoming completely plant based is the desire to live a more natural and benevolent life.  I frequently have fantasies of living in a cabin somewhere remote and being completely self-sufficient. Of course, this kind of thing pretty much only happens in new Justin Timberlake promo videos these days (has anyone seen this nonsense?!), but its good to have a handle on the basics.  Americans have such a strange relationship with food, meaning we don't really have ANY relationship with our food.

I remember a time when I would grab dinner from a drive thru on my way home from class, eat stale french fries in my car, and chug a whole soda before I finished the 20 minute drive back to my apartment. An apartment that I lived in alone, and filled with every kind of junk food and carbonated, sugary beverage you could imagine.  I would frequently eat snacks as meals and rarely ever cooked.  Now? I would sooner die than eat that crap.  And honestly, you would see me eat a steak before you ever saw me eat some strange meat-esque substance from a drive thru (the meat replacements I eat are plant based and made from REAL ingredients).  My relationship with food has changed so much since I decided to give up meat, and even more so now that I don't consume any animal products at all.  I'm much more conscious of where my food comes from and I try to eat seasonally as much as possible.  Cooking has also enhanced my relationship to what I eat.  I care about quality ingredients and simple, attainable healthy meals that anyone can prepare and have access too.  Eating well doesn't have to mean buying the most expensive ingredients or living off what Gwyneth Paltrow tells you to buy.

Sometimes, the simplest ingredients are the most overlooked and we have lost the ability to make these things ourselves.  It wasn't until relatively recently that we humans lost the knowledge of where our food comes from.  Most families relied on each other to fill in the gaps of their crops and you knew literally which kitchen your food came from and who made it, and you had a relationship with them.  Even meat eaters had a better appreciation for the lives their livestock gave, and respected them for their sacrifice in order to survive a long winter.  Though we no longer need meat to survive, we do need other things.  And humans like to eat food that tastes good and that is fresh (believe it or not) and the modern home has store bought broths, butter, cheese, bread, etc. and most people don't even know how to make these things.

I'm beginning a new series of posts that explore making simple ingredients that I will then use in complete meals.  It's good to have a few recipes in your repertoire for vegetable broth and bread, so that your meals that require these things will be infinitely better than using store bough ingredients.

Here is my simple recipe for vegetable broth, which will be a staple in your home for sure.  You can can or jar this broth and I don't know about you, but I use broth constantly so it won't spoil.


First, you need a good base to your broth.
A good base consists of 3 carrots, 3 celery stalks, and an onion.
For this recipe I skipped the celery and it turned out great.  Alex isn't a huge fan of celery, and honestly, it doesn't really tickle me either.

Next you'll want to add in the flavorings. Good things to use are:
Bay leaves

For this recipe I used a handful of rosemary, a handful of sage, a handful of thyme, 4 garlic cloves, and about 8 oz. of sliced mushrooms.

Next, you'll need to add seasonings.  I use a tablespoon of black peppercorns, and black salt to taste.

Put all of this in a pot, and cover with water.  How much water you add will affect the potency of your flavors, but you don't want to add too little water, because then it will be overwhelming to anything you put it in. I'd say about 4 quarts is good.

Bring all of this to a boil, and then reduce your heat and simmer for about an hour.  Strain you vegetables out of the water and then transfer to containers for storage.  If you're going to use this within the week, mason jars in the fridge are fine, but if you aren't you can put them in tupperware or plastic baggies and freeze them.  I like to have some on hand all the time, so I use half and freeze the other half.

This broth is great for soups, sauces, gravy, and I even add it to my pot pies and Wellingtons. This will be a staple in your house for sure. And you'll save so much money, as well as feel better about your food and what you feed your family (and yourself).

Hope you enjoy this as much as I do.

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