The terms broth, stock, meat broth, bone broth, are somewhat confusing. A broth can be meat or vegetable, stock is made from the meat bones or a combination of meat and vegetable with seasoning. Bone Broth is made with the bones, until the bones literally fall apart and can be pulverized for all the nutrients contained in the bone and the marrow. Chicken, Beef and Vegetable broth are all available pre-packaged, however they are loaded with sodium and preservatives, and artificial coloring. Which for those on restricted diets may not be the best option. It is easy to make your own broth or stock, using food right in your own garden or kitchen.
Growing up frugal was a necessity, so every part and parcel that could be used, was used. Very little food was ever tossed out, and if any it was the scraps, that supplemented feed for the pigs, bunnies and chickens.
One way I make Vegetable broth is while I'm preparing vegetables for cooking or canning, and removing parts like the core, peels or ends and tops, I toss those into a kettle or slow cooker and utilize the typical discards for making that broth. You can use your whole vegetables of course, but why not use what you would otherwise discard or toss to the chickens or into the compost? Of course you want to toss any bug eaten parts, or parts that are mushy, or scabs, but everything else can be used. Just wash as usual and toss into a kettle of water.
I do not typically season my broth and the reason I don't is that I want options of how I intend to use that broth. If I pre-season, then I limit those options. I may want to make an Italian dish using vegetable broth, but if I seasoned the broth for an Asian dish for example, it may not be the best flavor choice for the recipe I'm using it in. So I simplify by not seasoning until I'm actually making my recipe, then I can season according to what I'm making. It also saves me from having to label that broth with the seasoning I used, or hunting for that one specific container that is seasoned with the proper seasonings my recipe requires. But this said, if you prefer to season, and it doesn't matter in your recipes, then by all means season to your preferred taste.
I use very little salt or pepper in my cooking. No I'm not a food puritan, but I do believe in eating in moderation and eating well balanced meals. To me salt and pepper are a personal flavor option, and I believe the person eating the food is going to add salt and pepper to their own taste, whether I add it in or not. If I add either salt or pepper, it is simply to bring out flavor in my recipe, I do not add it to flavor my recipe. I use herbs, fresh or dried for flavor, and salt and/or pepper to bring out that flavor not to overwhelm or dominate the flavor.
Where I really see the overuse of salt and pepper is in restaurant food. One thing in particular always stands out to me and that is chicken fried steak. I love a good Chicken Fried Steak, but the gravy at many restaurants is heavily laden with salt and pepper to flavor the gravy. Gravy can be flavored in many ways without the overuse of either salt or pepper as the dominant flavor. I have to say that Biscuits and Gravy is often the same scenario at most restaurants. In short, I'm a minimalist when it comes to seasonings and especially salt and pepper. I want to taste my food, not just the seasoning.
Note: The Ingredient list below is merely suggestions: The list is entirely flexible, reliant on what you have in the kitchen, pantry or garden.
Celery (tops and ends)
Cabbage (core and ends)
Beet (tops and peels)
Carrots (Peels and ends and tops if they have any)
Potato (Sweet and White) (peels)
Turnip (peels and ends)
Rutabaga (peels and ends)
Onion (sliced or chopped)
Garlic (Crushed and peeled)
Thyme (2 sprigs)
Oregano (2 sprigs)
Basil (4 or 5 leaves and stems)
Parsley (good handful)
Rosemary (1 tender sprig--top)
Whole Pepper Corns (optional and to taste)
Bay Leaf (2-optional)
Pinch Salt (May omit)
Wash the vegetables and herbs. Discard bad parts or bug eaten parts.
Place the scraps in the slow cooker, cover with water by an extra inch or two. Cook on high one hour, low another hour. Strain off the vegetable scraps, reserving the broth. Either discard the vegetable scraps or use to make healthy chicken treats. Pour the broth into freezer containers and freeze until ready to use or use immediately for your favorite recipe calling for broth.
Tip: Vegetable broth can be substituted for meat broths in any recipe, they can all be interchangeable according to your own dietary choices.
Tip: If you only have a few vegetables at one time, freeze the cores, peels, ends and tops, then add to that freezer container as you are canning or cooking, then pull it out of the freezer when you're ready to use and proceed as directed above.
Note: Use what you have, the list is entirely flexible and reliant on what is in the garden, pantry or refrigerator.
Note: When using the broth, season according to your preferences or according to the recipe.
Suggestion: In lieu of making broth with the scraps, you can freeze or dehydrate those scraps and use them to make healthy chicken treats or dole out to the chickens throughout the year.
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