One of the best parts about living in California is the weather. Sunny and warm is the forecast here more often than not- and this central New York native still hasn’t tired of it.
This fantastic climate means a year-round growing season. Over a third of the country’s vegetables and two-thirds of the country’s fruits and nuts are grown in California. There’s a reason we’re known as the salad bowl of America.
In Sacramento where I live, there is a year-round Sunday morning farmer’s market under a freeway overpass. It’s one of my favorite things about living here. I pick up amazing produce, see friends from all around town and know I’m getting great food and supporting local farmers.
Last year I started saving my vegetable scraps in the freezer to make my own vegetable stock or broth. What’s the difference? Broth is seasoned, stock is not.
When I realized I was out of store-bought chicken broth (as I was getting ready to make a soup for dinner) I knew it was time to clean out the freezer and make some soup from scraps.
I searched the web for recipes that use slow-cookers. I dumped my two big bags of scraps in, added about 12 cups of water, some salt, pepper, oregano and thyme. I hunted through my fridge and crisper to see if there were any other sad looking vegetables to add to the cause. Seriously, how much easier could things get?
I let the scraps sit for six hours on high. I stirred it couple of times. The red onions and beets gave the broth a beautiful purple red hue for a while, but alas that disappeared by the morning.
The flavor is deep, interesting and a little sour. My broth includes artichokes, asparagus, beets, bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, celery, jicama, lemons, limes, onions, parsnips, radish, turnips and more.
After doing more research, I realize that cruciferous and root vegetables don’t really do well in broth/stock. I’ll probably leave out the artichokes next time, too.
But basically, I’ve made my own soup from scraps with minimal effort and you can too!
Vegetable Scrap Broth
12 cups water
1+ gallon freezer bags filled with vegetable scraps
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon thyme
Add all ingredients to a large slow cooker. Set on high for 5 hours, stir occasionally.
Let cool. Place a mesh strainer over your desired container and ladle in the slow cooker contents to separate out the broth.
Discard the scraps and then enjoy or freeze your broth.