Did you know that in the US 30-40% of the food supply is wasted? This is food that has taken valuable resources to produce, meaning unnecessary chemicals, energy, land, and freshwater have been wasted in the process. Furthermore, food that ends up rotting in landfills produces methane, a toxic greenhouse gas. In fact, food waste accounts for 16% of methane emission in the US. My husband and I do everything we can to reduce food waste in our house. Meal planning, utilizing leftovers, and re-purposing food scraps are just some of the ways we keep food from ending up in the trash.
This past summer, I was looking up recipes for chicken broth so we could use the bones from a chicken we had roasted. Most of the recipes called for carrot sticks, garlic cloves, celery stalks, and onion halves. I didn’t want to waste these vegetables by making a broth, so instead I started saving vegetable scraps until I had enough to make a broth. Whenever I chopped up onions, tomatoes, carrots, celery, or any other vegetable I would save the ends or other bits and pieces didn’t use. I would throw these scraps into a Ziplock bag in the freezer until I had enough. In this particular broth I had basil stems, cucumber, leeks, sweet potato skins, while potato skins, onion, red peppers, celery, scallions, tomato, and garlic, but you can use almost any vegetable. Stay away from cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts) however, because they can make the broth bitter. Beets should be avoided to if you don’t want your broth turning bright pink. Here’s what you do:
- Variety of vegetable scraps (I use enough to fill a 1 gallon Ziplock bag)
- 2 bay leaves
- Black pepper or peppercorns
- Salt to taste
- Pour vegetable scraps and bay leaves in a large pot.
- Fill pot with enough water to cover the vegetables. Add pepper and salt.
- Bring the water to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Let simmer for at least an hour.
- Use a strainer to transfer broth into a storage container. Broth can be refrigerated or frozen for use at a later date.
*Notes: You can also make this in a crock pot. Let cook on high for at least 4 hours or low for 8 hours.